Freddy Galvis adamant Phillies should extend protective netting after ball strikes girl
Freddy Galvis watched on Saturday night as his foul ball struck the face of a young girl and that image was enough for him to become adamant that the Phillies should install protective nettings behind the entire dugouts.
Major League Baseball gave teams recommendations last winter to extend their protective netting to anywhere within 70 feet of home plate. The Phillies added about 10 feet to the netting they had behind home plate as the net now stretches to the the inner edge of the dugout.
"What year is this? 2016? It's 2016 and fans keep getting hit by foul balls when you're supposed to have a net to protect the fans," Galvis said. "The fans give you the money, so you should protect them, right? We're worried about speeding up the game. Why don't you put up a net and protect all the fans?"
Phillies executive vice president and chief operating officer Mike Stiles said last December that the team's fans "differ in their opinions about sitting behind protective netting and we will do our best to accommodate those different preferences."
"The Phillies expanded our netting this season to the sides of the dugout near home plate, as was suggested by Major League Baseball. We decided earlier this season to consider the possibility of further expansion next season," Stiles said in a statement on Sunday. " In making that determination at the conclusion of the 2016 season, we will take into account a number of factors including the opinion of our uniformed personnel and, most importantly, the wishes and safety of our fans."
The Phillies were one of 19 teams to extend their netting before the season. Galvis said the Phillies should have installed a net behind the dugout "two years ago and maybe even before that."
Only Kansas City, Minnesota, and Washington constructed netting that covers the entire length of the dugout. Galvis imagines a net that covers the field during play but goes down between innings.
"They're worried about stupid stuff," Galvis said. "They should worry about the real stuff. That's real stuff."
The girl who was hit by Galvis' line-drive on Saturday was taken to Children's Hospital for further evaluations, according to the Phillies. She was sitting behind the visiting dugout on the third-base line.
Galvis - who has a young daughter - said the incident hit home.
"What if I broke all her teeth. What if I broke her nose. If I hit her in one eye and she loses that. What are they going to do? They're going to forget in three days," Galvis said. "It's going to be a big deal for two, three days. Everybody in TV, media, whatever. But after three days what's going to happen? They're going to forget. But that family won't forget that. Do you think the little baby will forget that? It's true life. It's something you have to put before everything. Safety first. Safety."