Chicago Cubs: Sportscaster wrongly blames fans for new Wrigley nets

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Kent Sterling recently wrote fans were stupid for getting hit by fouls balls at Wrigley. The Chicago Cubs and one toddler-victim with brain damage might disagree; if she could.

I was surprised how many people jumped on CBS Sports 1430 broadcaster Kent Sterling’s bandwagon this week via Twitter. When the local media expert came out to say that the reason Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs has to put up full netting around the park is that people are stupid. They don’t pay attention at games, can’t protect themselves, and put their kids in danger by sitting too close to the field.

Many agreed with Sterling, citing the prolific use of cell phones in this day and age. But a few dissenters saw through this absurd rationale to remember two words they learned since they were children, but obviously Sterling and his minions have seemed to forget, “Safety first.”

Perhaps Sterling would’ve been more conducive to rules that make people pay more attention during games? After all, that was the point of the story; fans are stupid and therefore need to be protected because of their inability to save themselves and because they don’t pay attention. So how about these rules, Mr. Sterling?

  • No children under age 10 allowed in the park as they can’t shield themselves from foul balls.
  • No senior citizens allowed in the park as they can’t shield themselves from foul balls.
  • No cell phones allowed in the park because they are a distraction to fans.
  • No food allowed because vendors, eating/drinking during a game are distracting.
  • No signs or colorful clothing that might distract fans.
  • No talking, cheering or singing during the game as it is very distracting to other fans.
  • No bathroom breaks during game time because fans need maximum concentration.

Or maybe Mr. Sterling, we can just put up some nets to protect fans and forget about these other far-out rules?

That’s just what MLB decided in December and announced to the world:

"…all 30 teams will have extended netting in 2020. Seven ballparks will have nets from foul pole to foul pole, and 15 will extend nets to the where the stands angle away from the field of play. Nets at the other eight ballparks will extend “substantially beyond the far end of the dugout,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said."

What Sterling fails to understand in his rationale is that the clubs and MLB must protect fans that come to their parks to see a game. These aren’t some street-games that you rolled up on to watch at the local park; these are professional baseball games in multi-million dollar stadiums.

It’s almost like Wrigley Field is baby-sitting fans in its confines during games and watching over them to make sure everyone enjoys the game because that’s what the game is ultimately about: entertainment in a safe environment.

So if Sterling doesn’t want safety nets in the game of baseball, what does he say to the toddler who attends a game, gets struck by a 100 mph+ baseball in the head and suffers permanent brain damage?