Ron Costello

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

My brother and me behind the Phillies dugout at the
game looking through the netting. You can't see it in the
photo but trust me, it's there. Well, if you look hard
off Morandini's butt you can see it.
It's simple. I hate the protective netting they've placed at the dugouts.

A little tidbit in today's Inquirer in the business section about the Phillies hiring a chief technology director, who said, "The next generation of fans have expectations of connectivity."

Expectations of connectivity. That's a good one. Same as the manager who said, "We're playing team baseball." Really?

I hope Maikel finds that same connectivity.

Look, I get it. The netting is up at the dugouts to protect fans. Especially infants, the elderly, and those concerned with connectivity. Which is the same as 'I'm not watching the game I'm texting Susie.'

Same as keeping your eyes peeled on the Phanatic. Here comes a line shot right off the bat and, "Oh no, Harry looks like the fan behind the dugout got it in the face."

"Right you are Rich, ahh doesn't look good."

Well, Ashburn should talk. Didn't he once hit a lady in the face with one of his many annoying foul balls and as they took her up the aisle he hit her again on the hip? That's like the third story you tell when having a few with the boys at Chickie and Pete's and you run out of things to say. It always get's a, "Wow, no kidding, never heard that one."

Probably never heard it because I'm not sure it's true. But it sure sounds good.

It's all perfectly understandable: Fans don't watch the game like they use to and get hit and lawyer up and the club coughs it up. I get it, but that doesn't mean I like it.

Look, here's the thing. Fans want connectivity at the park. Babies need protection from flying projectiles. Even those fans who bring gloves: you could still lose one in the lights and get it between the eyes. I get it but I don't have to like it.

My brother and I sat in the first row — see above for proof — and I had to look through the netting the entire game. I did feel safe. Very safe. Well, not totally. A hitter could hit a tremendous popup and I'm Googling something and the ball comes down like a North Korean missile and hits me square on the top of my head. I wake up later at Methodist Hospital and lawyer up.

So have they thought about that? Do they have a plan to protect fans from tremendous popups? Maybe not, but give them time.

So, I wonder how many lives the netting behind the dugouts have saved thus far? Or teeth, or broken bones. Hard to tell, but protection of the fans is paramount.

I get it but I don't like it.

Excuse me but isn't "team baseball" an oxymoron? Will somebody please explain it to the Phillies skipper?

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