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If there had been protective netting behind the goal, which is now required in all NHL arenas, Brittanie would be 26 today, with so much of her life still ahead of her.

“I love baseball. I hope nothing like that ever happens,” Miranda said. “But it’s getting closer. How many near-misses do you have to have before there’s that one injury that isn’t the normal injury, that might be the worst one of all.”

While Miranda acknowledges there would be significant costs associated with installing an extensive netting system at big league parks, it would surely be a puny percentage of the billions that baseball rakes in. It certainly sounds doable to extend the netting already in place behind home plate, holding it up with wiring attached to the upper levels. Softer popups - which present much less risk than line drives - could still reach the seats, giving fans a chance to grab those coveted foul balls.

Major League Baseball has already faced criticism over stadium safety, largely because of fans falling over railings with sometimes fatal results. A spokesman declined comment when reached by The Associated Press, citing pending legal issues.

Let’s hope they’re at least talking behind the scenes. Maybe, too, the powerful players’ union could weigh in on the subject. Surely it doesn’t want one of its members to go through the guilt and anguish experienced by Espen Knutsen, who took the shot that ended Brittanie Cecil’s life.

Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez felt those same pangs when his liner struck that little boy at Turner Field.

“The ball comes really hard,” said Gomez, a father himself. “It can kill you, you know?”

Yep, we know.


Paul Newberry is a national writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at or on Twitter at