World Series 2015: Mr. Commissioner, it's way past time to extend protective netting

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This shouldn’t be complicated. It’s beyond time for to extend the protective netting behind home plate at its 30 baseball parks. Way, way beyond time.  WORLD SERIES 2015: World Series photos | Fagan's World Series pick | World Series oddsThis is the type of change that should not need a catalyst. Because the catalyst, in this case, probably means a fan will die. And before anyone starts with the “Oh, that’s a worst-case hyperbolic scenario that will never happen” … that’s how it happened in the NHL.  In 2002, a 13-year-old fan at a Columbus Blue Jackets game was hit in the head with a puck and died two days later. In reaction, the NHL added more protective netting. Read this chilling story, at least as much as you can.Far too often, baseball fans are getting struck with foul balls, or bats that slip or splinter and head into the stands somewhere in the vicinity of home plate. At the Tigers-Rangers game on Aug. 21, a fan was hit by a foul ball off Anthony Gose’s bat and carried off on a stretcher. Two days later, Kyle Schwarber fouled off a pitch, and the baseball drilled a fan sitting near the camera well on the first-base line. This was the first sentence in the Chicago Tribune story about the incident: “A woman hit by a line drive foul ball during Sunday's Cubs game was conscious when she was taken to a hospital, according to the Chicago Cubs organization.”How is that a sentence that’s even remotely OK to baseball owners? Rob Manfred was asked about the issue Monday, at his first World Series press conference as commissioner. His response provided hope but lacked detail. “We are prepared to have a very detailed presentation and conversation with the owners at the November meeting,” Manfred said. “I'm not prepared prior to that meeting to make a pronouncement as to what the new rule is going to be, if any. I think that it's important that we have input and a full discussion among the clubs before we do that.”Here’s hoping those discussions and conclusions lead to the only acceptable solution — extending the protective netting to the end of the dugouts, at least. It’s hard to even fathom why this hasn’t happened yet, or what could reasonably be seen as a tolerable reason for delaying screen extensions. The “but it will interfere with the view” argument is, well, stupid. When was the last time you heard anyone sitting directly behind home plate complain that they couldn’t tell what was happening in the game? Never. And when was the last time you heard anyone at a minor-league game — where extended protective netting is relatively common — complain about obstructed views?That doesn’t happen, either.  Because it doesn

’t interfere. It doesn’t obstruct. Those aren’t real problems.Getting hit in the head with a foul ball? Getting taken out on a stretcher? Writing sentences about fans who are still conscious, and having that be a good thing? That’s a real problem.This shouldn’t be complicated.