Inattention creates need for baseball netting – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sez Me …

If Cole Porter wasn’t our greatest songwriter/lyricist, he was leaning at the treble clef. But being somewhat of an elitist snob and café society denizen, he probably didn’t have baseball in mind when he came up with “Don’t Fence Me In.”

If he were writing it today, it would be something like “Please Fence Me Out.”

I always have marveled how more fans sitting close to the field along the baselines haven’t been clobbered (or much worse) by balls or bats both broken and intact. Safety nets, for the most part, only protect those directly behind home plate.

But baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred obviously has taken notice. There have been more close calls than ever before and he’s strongly considering adopting measures that could save lives — and that is, extending the nets down the lines.

He says: “It’s a serious concern. We have a process ongoing here; we are examining all the relevant information. If we decided to make a change, it would be deployed in April.”

The problem really isn’t about more balls hit or bats thrown into the stands. It’s the people sitting in them. So many don’t pay attention.

Check it out in any game (any sport, really). Some of these people are there just to be there and aren’t watching, jabbering with their neighbor — or, even worse, looking down at their evil cell phones.

That’s the difference now. The cells.

Not long ago I watched fascinated during an Aztecs basketball game at Viejas Arena. Three young women sat courtside, in the expensive seats, and I think they only looked up from their cells twice — at halftime and when the game ended. Somebody probably had to bother them with the final score (Aztecs won).

Manfred obviously has many things on his desk, including what I mentioned Saturday, and that is getting his arrogant umpires on the same page. But he is looking into this — before it’s too late.

If the netting doesn’t ruin the baseball experience for those with seats behind the plate, it shouldn’t bother those who sit along the baselines.

Perhaps the nets wouldn’t add to new (and old) ballparks aesthetically, but it the price to pay would be small — in dollars and sense. …

How’s the Padres’ multimillion-dollar Dominican Republic talent expedition working out? The Donner party had better success …

Deflategate should have lasted an hour. It’s going on nine months. The NFL is in desperate need of checks and balances …

If Roger Goodell loses this stupid thing, frustrated NFL lords, tired of paying lawyers, may tell him to take his $40 million and run …

Marshawn Lynch should have had to pay the full $75,000 fine for violating the NFL’s no-talkie rule, Roger. Rules are rules and the guy broke this one more than once …

It seems Goodell only can penalize a player when he isn’t completely sure of the infraction …

Speaking of the Cone of Silence, UCLA’s Jim Mora has put starting quarterback Josh Rogen in one. He won’t speak to the media the remainder of the season. Jim has a less serious problem than crosstown rival Steve Sarkesian at USC, but it is a problem nonetheless …

If you think Sark is the only football coach in need of help, list your address as Dreamworld …

What affects a game more, deflated footballs or pumped-in crowd noise? I’ll go with the latter. By plenty. Hot air over plain air …

There isn’t much of a military presence in L.A., so the Chargers may have to return to Miramar for their August walk-throughs …

I don’t have to ask Cris Carter what qualifies one to be a fall guy (idiot), and what it pays (jail) …

A cameraman on a Segway took down Usain Bolt after the sprinter won the 200 meters in the world champions. Usain was unhurt. Credits Jamaican yams …

Incredible. The world’s greatest track meet might as well have been held on one of Saturn’s rings …

Ashton Eaton. Probably a better athlete than Ordell Beckham Jr., no, Michael Strahan? …

Jordan Spieth took the Only Human Test at Barclays. Aced it. Took Tiger much, much longer …

American Pharoah. Only human, too, but owner made a bad decision …

Vin Scully will return in 2016 for his 67th year as voice of the Dodgers. Nice to know that, in a crazy world, some things remain good. And great.

sezme.godfather@gmail.com Twitter: @sdutCanepa

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