NET GAINS

Ken Hoffman pitches solution for Major League Baseball safety concerns

Ken Hoffman pitches solution for Major League Baseball safety concerns
Photo courtesy of ABC13/David J. Phillip/AP

Scenes like this should be a thing of the past.

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

"Thoughts and prayers" are a nice, but what are you waiting for, Houston Astros? Extend Minute Maid Park's protective netting all the way to the foul poles now. Let's not have another child get smacked in the head with a 100-mph line drive.

I go to a lot of games. I've seen fans get hit by foul balls and carried out of the stands. I'm surprised that somebody hasn't been killed yet.

A few years ago, Major League Baseball instructed teams to extend the netting to at least the far end of each dugout. That's not nearly far enough. Not even close.

Why not now?

I hear the reasons why some fans don't want the netting extended any farther. They say the netting will interfere with their view of the game. What I think they're really saying is … we don't like authority telling us what's good or bad for us.

"I didn't wear a bike helmet when I was a kid, and I turned out fine."

"I don't need the government telling me I have to wear a seatbelt."

"Why shouldn't schools be allowed to serve soda and French fries in the cafeteria for lunch? Hey, I'll raise my dangerously obese, unhealthy child any way I want."

Well, children should wear bike helmets. It's a smart law. You need to buckle up. Click it or ticket. And our children are fat enough without eating cake and ice cream for lunch.

Get smart

That's not authority telling us what we can or can't do. That's the world growing smarter. It's just common safety sense for baseball to extend protective netting all the way to the foul pole. Do it now.

Netting doesn't affect your view of the game. Rich people, who sit behind home plate in the most expensive seats in the stadium, don't seem to mind being safe. I've sat in those seats a couple of times. You don't even notice the netting. It doesn't lessen your view or enjoyment of the game. And foul balls directed behind the plate typically aren't hit that hard, anyway, that's why they go backwards.

The most dangerous places to sit in a stadium are exactly where there is no netting now, down the foul lines. That's asking for trouble, and a couple of nights ago, trouble arrived.

Sure, a blooper video of a fan holding a baby in one arm, and spilling a beer trying to catch a foul ball with his other arm, is funny. It's also incredibly foolish and lucky.

Continue reading on CultureMap to learn about Ken Hoffman's final thoughts on a solution for MLB.

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How media hype around Texans, CJ Stroud already raising big questions about legacy

This week on First Take, Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe reacted to the Texans' big win over the Colts and were asked how many QBs they would take before CJ Stroud moving forward.

Smith and Sharpe both agreed that Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson should be ranked higher than Stroud, with Josh Allen also a possibility.

Later in the week, Jeff Saturday and MadDog Russo argued that Smith missed the mark, because Dak Prescott and Matthew Stafford should be ranked in front of Stroud as well.

Keep in mind, this is a discussion about projecting Stroud's potential, not about each QB's resume. Which makes sense, Stroud is only in his rookie year.

That's why the Stafford and Prescott arguments don't hold water. Stroud had a better season than Stafford this year as a rookie, and Stafford is 36 years old.

In Prescott's case, it's about consistency. He led the league in interceptions just last year, and only played in 12 games. For a matter of prospective, consider this, Prescott had more picks than Davis Mills in 2022 playing in LESS games!

Multiple MVPs coming?

Considering Mahomes has two MVPs already, and Jackson is likely to win his second this season, should we expect Stroud to win multiple MVPs in his career?

A lot depends on the team around him because players don't win awards when their team doesn't make the postseason. And if OC Bobby Slowik leaves, that could impact Stroud's production moving forward. But for now, we have to like the trajectory of the team.

Finally, we've all heard the theories about Stroud getting Panthers coach Frank Reich fired. But what about Mike Vrabel? Did Stroud and DeMeco Ryans' instant success play a role in Vrabel being let go?

The Texans did spank the Titans twice this season, a season in which the Titans were wearing Houston Oilers gear. That couldn't have made Titans ownership happy.

Be sure to watch the video above for the full discussion!

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