Fenway security officials stand in the unprotected area where a female fan was struck Friday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Brett Lawrie thinks netting needs to be improved at Fenway, doesn't blame maple bats

Mike Petraglia
June 05, 2015 - 7:22 pm

After Friday's horrific bat accident in the stands behind the A's on-deck circle, the scrutiny of controversial maple bats is likely to intensify. But Brett Lawrie, the A's batter whose bat shattered in the top of the second inning and struck a woman two rows deep in the box seats, sees a much different issue. "I don't think so," Lawrie said when asked about MLB addressing the safety of maple bats. "I just think the netting [needs to be addressed]. I don't think it's necessary for the bats to change. You come into a game, you see I don't know how many foul balls fly into the stands every game and for the most part, everyone is fine all the time, and these things are coming in at 100 miles an hour. And then when one bat flies into the stands at a low [speed], and if you're not paying attention, it's just one of those things where it was some bad luck. There's really no time to react behind the dish. "I really don't feel like it's necessary to change bats or anything like that. It's just one of those things that's part of baseball and unfortunately, everything is so close behind there and there's limited netting. Yeah, it's really important to be heads up back there." "First and foremost, our thoughts and concern and certainly our prayers go out to the woman that was struck with the bat. A scary moment certainly. Our concern is with her and her family," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "All you can think about is a family coming to a ball game to hopefully get three hours of enjoyment and unfortunately, with how close our stands are to the field of action, an accident like this is certainly disturbing. Our thoughts and concerns are with her and her family." Lawrie was using a Tucci model maple bat that was sawed off at the handle on a 94 MPH cutter from Wade Miley when Lawrie swung and grounded out. The barrel of the bat helicoptered into the stands, striking the woman and causing severe head trauma and bleeding in the stands. The protective netting behind home plate at Fenway stops just shy of the on-deck circles on both the first and third base sides. Lawrie pointed to that as his biggest concern for fans as a visiting player at Fenway. "You've got limited netting here in Boston so when you're behind home plate and you're along the third base side or first base side, you've really got to be heads up for foul balls or anything coming into the stands because it's so close. There's really no time to react," he said. Lawrie said he's seen plenty of scary situations of foul balls and bats flying into stands but nothing in his career that approached what happened Friday. "Not like that. I've seen stuff go into the stands. I've seen bats fly out of guys' hands and into the stands and everyone's OK. But when one breaks like that, there's jagged edges on it and anything can happen," he said. "It's one of those things... yeah, one of those things." Lawrie, the A's and Red Sox all stopped after the third out of the second inning was recorded as the woman was wheeled out of Fenway on a stretcher. "The whole game was stopped, so yeah definitely wanted to see what was going on," Lawrie said. "Just unfortunate right there, no doubt. It's one of those things that you're trying to keep her in your thoughts and hopefully everything is all right. You try to get back to the task at hand and hope everything is all right."