NEW YORK – The Twins felt sick about what happened Wednesday, and it had nothing to do with the final score.
A screaming line drive off Todd Frazier’s bat in the fifth inning struck a young girl in the face, visibly affecting Frazier and several other players who witnessed it.
“Me and Matt [Holliday, the Yankees’ designated hitter] were out at second base saying a prayer. We were in tears together,” Dozier said. “I usually don’t look, but that time I did. I’ve still got a knot in my stomach.”
The game was delayed for about six minutes while emergency personnel attended to the girl, reportedly 2 years old, until a relative carried the toddler out of the box-seat section. The Yankees released a statement later saying the girl was taken to a nearby hospital, but the team did not release any other details, citing privacy laws.
Twins players, though, were still emotional about the incident a couple of hours later. Dozier’s eyes were full of tears as he called for additional netting to be installed in ballparks.
“Either you don’t bring kids down there, or every stadium needs to have nets. I don’t care about the view of a fan, it’s all about safety,” Dozier said. “I don’t want to get ahead of myself and say the wrong thing, but [the players association is] definitely trying to do it.”
Eduardo Escobar, father of three children aged 12, 8 and 2, had a close-up view of the girl’s injury, and sounded angry afterward at her parents. “I saw blood coming out of this poor girl’s face. I have kids, I feel for her,” he said. “Make sure you guys put this out there: It’s insane how you bring a kid of that age and are not paying attention to the game. To all those parents out there, when you bring a kid of that age, pay attention to the game. A ball like that can kill a kid.”
A 30-foot high netting only covers the area immediately behind home plate at Yankee Stadium, with a smaller 10-foot net extending to the dugouts. The Yankees have publicly considered extending the netting, a debate sparked by a broken bat and another foul-ball incident earlier this season.
At Target Field, netting extends the length of the dugout, a move the Twins praised. “I think the clubs that have gone beyond what was required have been glad that they did,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. Target Field “is probably one of the high-end, in terms of surface area that’s protected. And I’ve seen it pay off.”
Mauer’s epic at-bat
Joe Mauer’s 13-pitch at-bat in the third inning against Luis Severino was the longest of the three-time batting champ’s 14-season career. Mauer fouled off seven pitches, four of them 99 miles per hour or faster, before lacing a 99-mph fastball to right field, scoring Kennys Vargas.
Mauer had two previous 12-pitch at-bats: He struck out against Detroit’s Justin Verlander on April 29, 2006; one day short of four years later, on April 28, 2010, he singled off Detroit’s Max Scherzer.