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A lazy ball, a hurt little girl and another cycle of fear without answers



"At some point it is up to the victims to speak out," said Geoffrey Jacobson, whose daughter had multiple facial fractures and was bleeding to the brain when she was hit by a tram at Yankee Stadium two years ago. "The players sometimes agreed, but you do not hear the owners, you do not hear the commissioner taking a stand and doing the right thing, and that's what you need."

M.L.B. has long been protected from litigation by a disclaimer on each ticket, stating that the viewer takes all risks for participating in a game.

In a brief statement from Thursday, M.L.B. described the incident in Houston as disturbing, wished the girls and their family well and noted that the clubs had increased the safety of the baseball stadiums by expanding the network before adding, "In light of yesterday's event, we will be making our efforts continue in this important area.

Some teams, including the Yankees, have refused to extend protective nets because some fans, often subscribers of expensive seats, have objected. But after Jacobson's daughter was injured, the team extended the net far down, as the Mets did in 2017.

As Jacobson noted, players often advocated more protective measures for fans after serious injury. After the game on Wednesday, Kris Bryant of the Cubs told ESPN in a television interview that there should be "absolute" protection for fans across the board.

"Any security measure we can take to make sure fans are safe, we should do it," he said.

Players experience the game in a way that intuitively alerts them to the heightened dangers of struck balls. Not only are players throwing and swinging harder, but as many as 14,000 more foulballs were struck in 2018 than in 1998 when baseball was expanded to 30 teams, according to the FiveThirtyEight website.


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