There was still no word from the Yankees on Thursday afternoon about whether they would extend the protective netting at Yankee Stadium after a young girl was hospitalized Wednesday after getting drilled in the face by a Todd Frazier line drive beyond the third-base dugout in a win over the Twins.
But a day after Yankee players like CC Sabathia and Chase Headley called for more netting, Councilman Rafael Espinal Jr. demanded action.
“It’s terrible and very disheartening,” Espinal told The Post. “This injury could have been avoided. Other teams have extended netting and Major League Baseball should reconsider its regulations for netting.”
Espinal, who represents the 37th Council District in Brooklyn and serves as chair of the Committee on Consumer Affairs, introduced a bill to the City Council in May that would require any stadium with 5,000 or more seats to have netting from home plate to the foul pole. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 25.
“Since I introduced the bill, the Mets extended their netting,” Espinal said. “I had positive conversations with the Yankees over the summer, and they said they were studying the issue.”
He’d like them to do more.
“I hope to hear from them soon, especially after what happened [Wednesday],” Espinal said. “Now it’s a no-brainer. … It’s time to make a decision for next season.”
And even though the Mets didn’t extend their netting all the way to the foul pole, Espinal said he was pleased with what they did.
“I’m very satisfied,” Espinal said. “They went further than any other team in MLB.”
Espinal became involved in the issue when fans approached him about being protected at city stadiums.
Asked whether it should be an issue for the government, Espinal said: “Since the organizations weren’t doing it on their own, we had to apply a little pressure to make sure New Yorkers are safe when they go to games.”
The netting at Yankee Stadium ends before both dugouts. Around the league, teams have opted to increase the netting at their own discretion.
The Mets extended the netting down the first- and third-base lines at Citi Field following the All-Star break this season. Atlanta, Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Texas and Washington also have extended netting.
MLB “recommends” that teams install up to 70 feet of netting from behind home plate to the beginning of the dugouts.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was not asked specifically about the incident at Yankee Stadium when he made a scheduled appearance at Safeco Park in Seattle, but he did offer thoughts on the subject of extended netting.
“It remains an ongoing discussion in the industry,’’ Manfred said. “We gave some guidelines two years ago, and what we have done since then is that we have encouraged the individual clubs to engage in a localized process, look at their own stadiums — every stadium is different — and to try to make a good decision about how far the netting should go in order to promote fan safety. If you look at what’s happened, there has been a continuous, forward movement in terms of increased netting in stadiums around the leagues, and I expect that process will continue this offseason.”
Extended netting, though, is not always a perfect solution. A female fan was drilled in the head last season at Tropicana Field when a line drive went through a small gap in the netting provided for photographers to shoot through.