The Yankees said Sunday they’ll install more protective netting in its Bronx ballpark — and the dad of a toddler who was struck by a foul ball two weeks ago said the decision came not a moment too soon.
“It’s what they should have said from day one, but I’m happy to hear this,” the father, Geoffrey Jacobson, told The New York Times on Sunday. “I hope the remaining teams follow suit, because it’s not just about the Yankees.”
Jacobson’s young daughter was struck by a 105-mph shot from slugger Todd Frazier during a Sept. 20 game.
The girl, who is almost 2, suffered facial fractures, bleeding on her brain and an imprint from the baseball’s stiches on her forehead, according to her dad.
Her injury put heat on Yankees from fans, politicians and Major League Baseball to improve safety at the ballpark.
The team caved into pressure on Sunday, saying the expanded netting would go up for the start of the 2018 season. The team’s spring training ballpark would also get the extra netting.
Currently, protective netting ends at the home plate side of each dugout.
“The additional protective netting we are planning to install for the 2018 season will exceed the current guidelines established by the office of the commissioner of Major League Baseball,” the team said in a statement.
Jacobson’s daughter was sitting in the lower level on the third-base side during the game against the Twins on Sept. 20 when Frazier swatted the line drive.
The injury brought the game to a screeching halt, leaving fans and players horrified.
Frazier, the Yankees third baseman, was reduced to tears.
But the ballplayer greeted the Yankees announcement Sunday with relief.
“That’s awesome, what they’re doing,” he told the Daily News. “I’m very proud to say I’m playing for this team, and with these changes, it’s really nice.”
The toddler hit by Frazier’s line drive spent five days at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia, where doctors monitored her injuries out of fear they would cause seizures. Her dad, a real estate lawyer, said it was a miracle that she is already home.
“While there are numerous medical followups and some remaining medical questions to be answered, we can’t ignore how fortunate we are that our little girl is home,” he told The Times.
The dad said that she may need facial surgery, and doctors were not certain her vision would return to normal.
Jacobson’s daughter is not the first Yankees fan to suffer serious injuries from a foul ball.
In 2003, Shannon McGuinness, then 9, was struck by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium during batting practice. Her skull was fractured in eight places.
Her dad, Ed McGuinness, told the Daily News about plans for the extended netting: “That’s great news.
“I wish they would have done it before that little girl got hurt. But I’m glad they did it.”