HOUSTON — It was a foul ball that caused Minute Maid Park to go silent.
During Wednesday night's game against the Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs batter Albert Almora Jr. ripped a line drive into the stands. The ball hit a young girl, who was then rushed to the hospital.
She was reportedly alert shortly after the incident, but her exact condition is not yet confirmed as of Thursday morning.
The Astros released a very brief statement about the incident: "A young fan that was struck by a foul ball during tonight's game was taken to the hospital. We are not able to disclose any further details at this time. The Astros send our thoughts and prayers to the entire family."
The incident has protective netting at ballparks under scrutiny once again, although fans have mixed feelings about it.
In a non-scientific KHOU 11 survey on Thursday morning, 51 percent of viewers said the MLB should require extra netting down the base lines.
In 2018 the league required teams to extend the netting to the end of the dugouts on both sides of the field of play, but some – including players - say it should be extended all the way to the foul pole, CBS New York reports.
ESPN’s Jeff Passon wrote an editorial Thursday morning headlined “MLB parks need full protective netting before it's too late.”
He described Wednesday night’s scene at Minute Maid Park, shocked fans gathering around a crying girl, writing, “Really look at her, no matter how difficult it may be.”
“Look at the entire scene, ugly and awful and entirely preventable, and then tell me Major League Baseball teams don't need to extend protective netting from foul pole to foul pole. It's time. It's well past time, actually. There is no argument against this, no humane argument at least, not when this keeps happening again and again and again and again and again -- and children wind up in the hospital, where the girl was taken following the incident, according to the Astros.”
“What will it take? Someone dying?” he goes on to ask.
But someone already has died, in 2018 at Dodgers Stadium, but in that case there was already protective netting in place. The ball went above it and struck a woman, who died four days later. The Washington Post reports it was the MLB’s first foul-ball death in nearly 50 years.
Some fans argue that parents with young children shouldn’t be sitting in areas that could get hit with a line drive.
“Prayers go out to the family, but this is baseball. It’s the only intimate sport left. There are disclaimers all over the ballpark. They’ll have just as much fun in the upper deck. As unfortunate as this is, the parents should have never had her down there to begin with,” wrote Casey on the KHOU 11 Facebook page.
Amy disagrees, however.
She writes: “Any person sitting in those areas along the foul lines, young or old, doesn’t always have a chance to react when a ball is traveling at that speed. Take into consideration varying abilities such as eyesight, depth perception, mental abilities, etc. Saying people especially with small kids should “pay attention” or “sit elsewhere” in the stadium is not an inclusive attitude and is not the way the Astros should be. Extending the net does not interfere with watching/enjoying the game and is just an additional layer of protection so why not?”
Major League Baseball released the following statement on Thursday morning: “The events at last night’s game were extremely upsetting. We send our best wishes to the child and family involved. Clubs have significantly expanded netting and their inventory of protected seats in recent years. With last night’s event in mind, we will continue our efforts on this important issue.”
So what do you think? Let us know on the KHOU 11 News Facebook page.