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Renewed Calls for Safety after Fan Hit by Foul Ball

September 21, 2017 06:14 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- A little girl is recovering after being hit by a 105 mile per hour foul ball during Wednesday night's Twins-Yankees game in New York.

Almost immediately after it happened, there were renewed calls for more safety netting in Major League Baseball stadiums, including from a Rochester man who was hit by a major league foul ball.

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"I knew getting the tickets that we were kind of in harm's way, so I made sure to tell everyone to really stay focused on the batter at all times," said Ryan Pendergast who was hit by a ball in August of 2016 at Target Field.

Pendergast was sitting along the third baseline.

"It definitely hurt," Pendergast said. "I tried to turn my head and it hit me like right in the temple on the right side."

"With the way the game is today there needs to be a higher level of safety," said Parker Hageman, co-founder of Twins Daily.

The MLB recommendation is netting from home plate, 70 feet in either direction.  Hageman says Minnesota is ahead of the curve.

"There are teams like Minnesota Twins who have taken the opportunity to extend that beyond what MLB has encouraged. They're beyond where the dugout is and that has a little bit higher and longer safety protection," Hageman said.

After the little girl got at a Yankees-Twins game, players have spoken up.

Brian Dozier from the Minnesota Twins responding to a tweet saying, "I could care less about a net obstructing a fans view if it means that a 2-year-old girl doesn't get hurt badly."

"Bloomberg News had posted in 2015 that it was around 1,700 injuries of various levels," Hageman said.

At the high school level--Lourdes High School Assistant Baseball Coach, Dave Jenson said safety is key for fans.

"Fortunately for the fields we play at you're not going to have the proximity to the field where there's necessarily a dangerous component to it," said Jenson.

As for regulations at the high school level, the Minnesota High School League does not mandate protection around high school ballparks.

"There's generally a chain link fence or a netting involved," Jenson said.

In the Majors, many people argue extending the netting obstructs the fans view, but from someone who's been hit, safety is more important.

"It’s not worth the consequences of not having it there, so to me it's a no-brainer," said Pendergast.


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