Playing without a net
From the Sun-Sentinel
COOPER CITY · The young batters wear helmets, but at Brian Piccolo Park, spectators are clamoring for protection, too.Example 2,533,136 of government bureaucracy never being in rush to complete some task. Watch how fast the net goes up if someone gets seriously injured or killed.
Three women were struck by foul balls during the fall season, blindsided while watching games on adjacent fields at the county park. Hurricane Wilma destroyed the netting that protects the concession area behind home plate at the four fields, and the county has yet to re-install it.
Sharon Downey was hit on the head Sept. 21 while watching her son in a Cooper City Optimist league for boys 11-12. She went to the emergency room, and said had a "piercing" headache for a day.
Lynn Ritacco was beaned Oct. 7, although she partially deflected the ball when nearby spectators yelled "Heads up!"
Downey has collected about 150 signatures on a petition asking the county to fix the netting at the park, at 9501 Sheridan St.
"People could be seriously hurt," said Donna Randazzo, who suffered a bruised and swollen arm after being hit Oct. 14.
Although the fall season ended last week, softball teams plan to play a tournament there in January and the youth league resumes in spring.
The 550-player Optimist program is based at the Cooper City Sports Complex, but county officials let the organization use the fields at Piccolo Park, the only major county-operated park with youth baseball.
Some players pitch up to 60 mph, and about 10 foul balls a game land in the area the netting would cover, said Optimist assistant coach Gary Cromer.
Despite the liability risk, the county's only action was to place signs at each field warning spectators to beware of foul balls.
"You'd think if they put up a sign, they ought to be able to put up the nets," Downey said.
It's not that simple, said Ray Lopez, Southwest District parks superintendent.
"Believe me, we want them up, and soon," he said, adding the county has been working on the problem since the storm struck a year ago.
He wants it done in four to six weeks, because of the January tournament.
A little common sense from spectators would be helpful. When attending a game, pay attention, don't sit yourself or park your car on the first base line(The most common place foul balls hit by right handed hitters travel to) etc, etc. The Parks department should have taken care of this long ago but at the same time people need to use their brains. Is that too much to ask?
Linked to- Adam's Blog, Bright & Early,