America’s notorious horror novelist Stephen King attends opening day at Fenway park every year. Stephen King has been a Red Sox season ticket holder for a long time, with his seats directly at the Red Sox dugout section. However, there was something truly horrifying that he noticed at the game: expanded netting was placed all around the park.
Stephen King is an acclaimed horror novelist who wrote famous pieces such as The Shining, Misery, Christine, It, and many other gruesome tales. He received a call from Red Sox executive Sean Walsh, informing him that certain areas of Fenway Park would be covered by netting. Walsh told King that he would viewing the game through netting due to safety issues. King strongly disliked the idea of the new netting setup. He published an article to the opinion section of the Boston Globe, saying that the extended netting is, “one more step toward taking the taste & texture out of the game I care for above all others”.
The new netting setup was unveiled this year after getting its approval in 2015. This net stretches from the Red Sox dugout area to the visiting team’s dugout, extending at 9 feet 8 inches from the top of the wall in front of the first row of seats. Extended nets came from a series of horrific incidents involving foul balls and broken bats flying into the seats. A total of 1,750 fans were injured in the stands last year due to foul balls or broken bat pieces.
After reading through his article, I thought that Stephen King brought up some great points. Fans have gotten hurt in the stands before, yet we set up the extended netting this year. 74 million fans attended Major League Baseball games in 2015. If you were to do the math in terms of number of fans injured divided by the number fans who attended the game, you will find a VERY small percentage of people who were injured.
In terms of safety issues, when does protection become overprotection? When do we draw the line in terms of safety? Sure the extended netting was created in the name of “safety”, but at what cost? King points out in his article that we live in an increasingly cosseted society where forces larger than us take charge of our safety.
I stand by Stephen King’s idea that the extended netting idea is absolutely ridiculous. For someone who shocked the world with his horrific tales, King was truly horrified by what he saw when he got to his seat. What was once America’s greatest pastime has been swallowed up in the sue-happy, mollycoddled police state we currently live in. The whole experience of attending a baseball game has been over. Remember the days when you brought your baseball glove with hopes of catching that foul ball? Yup, that will be long gone with the “safety” net in place. My prediction for this PR nightmare is that ticket sales will decrease and publicity will go down the drain once the complaints role in.
Check out Stephen King’s article here: https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/04/10/protective-netting-fenway-thanks-but-thanks/HS3Yat4rLgRGYMk83a26zN/story.html