Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the need for Major League Baseball to require all of its 30 teams to extend safety netting from the backstop to each foul pole. All of these things are self-evident, the latter of them never more so than on Wednesday evening.

A ball went screaming into the stands. A major-league hitter put his hands on his head and dropped to his knees. Minutes later, he was weeping in the arms of a security guard, desperate to know the condition of the little girl who could not get out of the way.

It’s simple, isn’t it? The first time a child dies, the edict will come down before the ink on the death certificate is even dry. That’s how it happened in the NHL 17 years ago, when the death of a teenage girl who had been hit by a puck prompted immediate promises of action that culminated in league owners voting that offseason to mandate the installation of safety netting in all arenas. And that’s how it will happen in Major League Baseball whenever a day that feels increasingly inevitable eventually arrives.

At this point, our only choice is to hope that the moment did not arrive on Wednesday, when a ball exploded off the bat of Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. and whizzed into the lower seating bowl at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. The 4-year-old girl was sitting with her father just past the visitors’ dugout. The safety netting ended at the edge of the dugout.

The girl’s condition was unavailable Thursday, the only official word coming in the form of a brief statement released by the Astros following the game.

The young fan that was struck by a foul ball during tonight’s game was taken to the hospital. We are not able to disclose any further details at this time. The Astros send our thoughts and prayers to the entire family.

Sometimes, though, thoughts and prayers are not enough. Not when an actual real-life remedy exists. Not when it is this simple. This evidential. The nets already exist. The Phillies extended them from the backstop to the edges of each dugout in 2017, one year before MLB insisted the each team do so, prompted by the hospitalization of a young Yankees fan. The next year, the Phillies raised them even higher than the 8 feet that they’d already been.

“We just felt the game was changing a little bit,” Howard Smith, the Phillies’ vice president of business affairs, said Thursday. “Quite frankly, every year it’s changing. You see guys throwing harder, the batters are stronger and faster, the ball is coming off the bat faster, and we felt that it was in our best interest and in our fans best interest to raise the nets.”

It only makes sense to extend that protection to the rest of the fans in the lower seating bowl. Smith did not rule out the possibility of that happening at some point in the near future, saying that the Phillies are constantly evaluating their options for ensuring fan safety and acknowledging that huge swaths of fans have already acclimated themselves to their presence with minimal complaints. Compared to the other line items in a baseball team’s operating budget, the cost is so minimal that you can measure it in hot dogs fired from a hydraulic cannon. Thoughts and prayers are a viable response to things you cannot control. This is not one of those things.

None of this is meant to cast blame. Not at the Astros, or at Major League Baseball, or at the 29 other teams that have decided against protecting their entire lower seating bowls from missiles like the one off Almora’s bat. The logic might be simple, but the implementation of policy rarely is.

After the game, players in the Chicago clubhouse were quick to call on the sport to update its guidelines, which were revised two years ago, so that all MLB teams entered the 2018 season with netting that extended to at least the edge of each dugout. In a statement issued Thursday morning, MLB said: “Clubs have significantly expanded netting and their inventory of protected seats in recent years. With last night’s event in mind, we will continue our efforts on this important issue.”

Yet, the emotions of a minority faction can sometimes obscure the logistical and pragmatic realities of legislating change.

In this case, the fundamental truth is that the nets don’t extend the full length of the foul lines because a majority of fans either do not want them to or are ambivalent about the matter. There are many different ways to run a baseball organization, but you can bet that a sizable number of owners would agree it is bad business to launch hard objects at high speeds at patrons who would rather not be exposed to such a thing. If a majority of paying customers demanded that they be protected, there’s a pretty good chance that the business owner would acquiesce.

Yet, every time something like this happens, we hear from fans that they are OK with the odds as they stand, that the risk of a catastrophic encounter with a foul ball is well worth the potential reward of walking home with a souvenir, that the statistically small chance of ending up as The One is a fair price to pay for a seat close to the players with no barrier in between. As one Red Sox fan told the Fort Myers News-Press after an elderly woman was hospitalized after being hit by a batted ball at Fenway Park at the end of the 2005 season, “That’s the risk you take in going to a game."

And, to be clear, it is a small risk. When you divide the number of fans who attend games each year by the number of foul balls that enter the stands, and when you then consider that about 1,750 end up striking fans who require medical attention (per a 2014 report by Bloomberg), the odds are hardly mortal, especially when you consider the interactions between players and customers that often occur down the lines.

Before Thursday’s game against the Cardinals, Phillies infielder Sean Rodriguez acknowledged wincing whenever he sees a commotion in the stands after hitting a foul ball.

At the same time, “I feel like, as a kid, I always looked forward to maybe meeting a player, or getting someone’s autograph," Rodriguez added. “It’s tough.”

And it is.

Really, though, the most rational course of action is revealed by a simple bit of logic. The first time a child dies, the plans to extend the nets will be in the works the following day. So, why not extend them now and save that child’s life?