Stephen King, a writer of note, is a lifelong resident of New England and a die-hard fan of the Boston Red Sox. One of the perks of success is being wealthy enough to afford season tickets at Fenway Park, third row near the Red Sox dugout, close enough to talk to the on-deck hitter. In an op-ed in The Boston Globe, Mr. King noted that hitters “rarely respond, in their Olympian disregard of we lowly fans and their deep concentration on the game.”
But that’s not why he chose to opine. He’s offended that he now has to watch games through protective netting, as decreed by Major League Baseball. The footprint of netting is being expanded at every park, to the cheers of nanny-statists and the dismay of traditionalists.
Count Mr. King, a consistent professional liberal, among the others. From the op-ed: “There are questions inherent in the decision to net, and I think they’re bigger than baseball. Like when does protection become overprotection? Is the safety of a fan at a public event like a baseball game the responsibility of the organization putting on that event? (According to the back of every MLB ticket sold, the fan is responsible.) When do safety precautions begin to steal away from the pure joy of being there. … That netting may be a fine mesh, but you’re still looking through a barrier instead of right at the thing you came to see. Which means you’d do almost as well to sit home watching the game on TV.”
Those watching baseball from sofas should note the number of empty seats this spring. It’s as if fans are rebelling against crummy food, outrageous parking charges and overpriced, lukewarm beer. Expensive seats with an obstructed view might be the last straw.