Exit velocity in baseball, is the speed in which the ball leaves the bat. And yesterday it took on a whole new meaning. Because overshadowing a Bart Colon meltdown in the Bronx, and a Yankees win that all but clinched the top spot in the Wild Card—is the 105 mile-per-hour line drive foul ball that struck a two-year-old girl in the face in the bottom of the 5th inning.
If you’re traumatized seeing that, you should be. Now imagine seeing it. Now imagine being Todd Frazier and hitting it. Now imagine being the grandparents of the two-year-old girl who brought her to the game. It’s a moment no one deserves—especially not at a baseball game where it’s completely and totally preventable. And the fact this grisly moment happened at all is embarrassing and shameful. Because if we’re being really honest right now—no one is surprised this happened. The only surprising thing is it didn’t happen sooner. This is a hideous moment decades in the making.
Thankfully the little girl didn’t die. She was taken to a nearby hospital and her dad told WABC, “She’s doing all right. Just keep her in your thoughts.”
It’s not like this isn’t the first screaming line drive to hit someone in the seats. Hell, Aaron Judge sent someone to the hospital earlier this season. But it better be the last. Because Major League Baseball and the owners of these parks are dead flat out of excuses for not making their games safer for fans.
After the game, Twins second baseman Brian Dozier told the media he had seen enough and nets need to be put up.
That’s a major leaguer telling you he never looks into the stands when a ball is hit like that. Mark Teixeira told ESPN the exact same thing last night. Imagine that. Imagine a job where you can’t turn your head at times because someone might be have been seriously injured or killed.
There is no gray area here. A little girl could have died yesterday. And if someone dying is what it’s gonna take for baseball to put nets down all the way down the lines, then as Jeff Passan put it last night, that’s, “more than negligence. It is the witting abdication of moral responsibility.”
He’s right. Baseball and the owners of these parks have a moral obligation to put nets up. Because even though a lot of people are coming down on the grandparents for putting a two-year-old in those seats, it’s not their fault. It’s really not. And that’s a pretty disgusting take if you ask me. That 105 mile-per-hour line drive could have killed an adult, too.
And before you say that you would have jumped in front of the kid, just save it Backseat Hero Guy. You’ve never seen a ball like that in your life—hooking at that speed and coming in from over the dugout and everything in the foreground. Just stop. The Yankees sold them those tickets. And they failed to protect their customers. And worse even is they left their employee, Todd Frazier, on one knee visibly shaken by what just happened from him doing nothing other than his job. Frazier doesn’t deserve that guilt. No one does. He said after, “It was terrible. I was shaken up a bit. I hope she is all right. It is something that I wish never happened.”
Baseball and every park that doesn’t have netting down the lines right now are so lucky. So freaking lucky. No one died. Thankfully. So now you can go and do the right thing before someone does.