Close call at Spring Training game leads to calls to extend netting

There was a scary scene at the Atlanta Braves game on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates that had the potential to end up much worse if not for the quick thinking of one fan.

A boy who was sitting behind the first base dugout was doing stuff on his phone when Pittsburgh outfielder Danny Ortiz swung and missed at a strike, and lost control of his bat. The bat went flying into the stands, and was seemingly on course to strike the boy.

That’s when a fan sitting next to him stuck his arm out, and deflected the bat away from the boy, possibly saving his life. The incident happened so quick that nobody realized at first what happened, and articles about the game didn’t mention it.

It wasn’t until after the game when a photographer from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweeted a photo of the incident that shows just how close it was.

Once pictures began circulating online, fans used the incident to emphasize why teams need to extend the netting down the baselines, to prevent this sort of thing from happening.

A similar situation occurred last May at a minor league baseball game, when a player from the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks lost his bat during a swing, sending it flying into the stands. That situation ended when a fan caught the bat with one hand, while managing to hold on to his drink in the other.

While it is important for teams to extend the netting, one of the things most cited by critics is the fact that extended netting reduces the chances of catching a foul ball as a souvenir, something that a lot of fans try to do when they attend a game.

What do you think, should Major League Baseball mandate that teams extend the netting down the baselines, or should it be left up to each individual team to make a decision?

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