Salado: Resident hit by ball at MLB game says netting extension overdue
All 30 Major League Baseball stadiums will have extended netting for the upcoming season, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced last week, and Salado City Administrator Don Ferguson who was hit by a ball at a Texas Rangers game more than 15 years ago in Arlington, says the change is long overdue.
Ferguson was waiting in line for autographs before the game, while his son sat in the stands, when he was struck.
"The next thing I knew I saw the trajectory of the baseball heading straight for my head. The emergency room doctor said if it had been an inch over I probably would've been killed," Ferguson said.
He needed facial reconstruction surgery after the hit fractured nine bones and permanently damaged his eye.
Ferguson still has a love for the game, but has spent the last 16 years trying to force changes in netting at the games.
Manfred said eight major league ball parks already have netting that extends beyond the dugout, but 15 more will make that adjustment next season and seven will extend the net all the way to the foul pole.
The Texas Rangers' new ballpark, Globe Life Field, will have expanded netting beyond the dugouts.
The nets won't go quite to the foul pole, but the stands start to rise parallel to the foul poles, serving as a natural protection layer.
Ferguson says he thinks all MLB stadiums should extend the netting all the way to the foul pole.
"The nets are there for a purpose they're made in such a fashion today that they're really not an intrusion," Ferguson said.
"I think that you have an obligation when you're in that type of business to do everything you can to protect the fans," Ferguson said.