All around baseball, teams are making the decision to extend their safety netting to the end of the dugouts in order to better protect fans from foul balls or the occasional slippery bat.
For the Detroit Tigers, this decision was an easy one to make, especially after Tigers fan Carey Mason was hit in the head by a foul ball on August 21, 2015. Mason, who was seated in the first row behind the Tigers dugout, was distracted during the 8th inning of the game—she had received a souvenir helmet from Victor Martinez, which security guards tried to get back from her—and was hit by a Anthony Gose foul tip, right to the side of her head.
Mason’s whole life changed as a result. Nerve damage. Brain damage. Reduced eyesight. She told WXYZ Detroit afterwards, “I’m not able to go back to work. I may never be able go back to work because I work with children. That’s a big deal. There’s a lot to that. It’s life-altering so I don’t consider that OK.”
Carey Mason may not be the sole reason the Tigers were so quick to embrace extended netting, but her story is certainly one the team—and every other MLB team foe that matter—don’t want to see repeated ever again. A trip to the park should be fun, not dangerous or potentially deadly.
The netting in Comerica, according to general manager Al Avila, has already been extended to the end of the dugouts to test its efficiency, and this may be changed prior to the season. The team will continue to look into additional methods to keep fans safe.