Manfred says fan safety is top concern
MLB exploring ways to better protect patrons after injury to Carpenter
BOSTON -- The injury and week-long hospitalization of Tonya Carpenter, the woman struck by a broken bat at Fenway Park, has ignited discussion about fan safety at baseball stadiums across the country.
On Tuesday, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred emphasized the league's concern over the welfare of its ballpark patrons while addressing media at Fenway Park.
"Our first and foremost concern remains the safety of our fans. After the incident here in Boston, we first wanted to make sure that Tonya Carpenter received absolutely the best care that she could, and the Red Sox were fantastic in that regard. Since that time, we have been focused on a variety of remedies that could be used to address this problem.
Carpenter suffered serious injuries during a game between the Red Sox and A's when Oakland third baseman Brett Lawrie's bat snapped in half on a groundout. A portion of the bat went sailing into the third-base side box seats and hit Carpenter, who spent seven days recovering at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center before being released on Friday.
Manfred mentioned a handful of potential avenues MLB could pursue in order to provide further protection for its fans. Maple bats, which are typically heavier with a larger bat head than ash models, came under renewed scrutiny in the aftermath of Carpenter's injury. The bat that Lawrie used was made of maple.
"They include things like additional bat regulations, wrapping of bats, increased netting," Manfred said. "I think it's important as we move forward with this that we keep all the available options on the table and make the best decision to make sure that our fans are as safe as possible."
Although when changes could be implemented remains unclear, Manfred reiterated that the issue remains a primary concern for him and the rest of the league's top officials.
"We're very cognizant of the severity of the injury and obviously it's of great concern to us," Manfred said. "But we want to make a decision that's the right decision over the long haul in terms of promoting fan safety."