Jana Brody’s Message: ‘Sit Behind the Nets’
New Memoir Tells Tragic Story of Death by Foul Ball
Goleta resident Jana Brody never envisioned herself as an author or an advocate for stadium safety, but when disaster struck, the call to action was undeniable and resulted in a harrowing journey with monumental impact.
Brody’s memoir Sit Behind the Nets details the life and death of her mother, Linda Goldbloom, who tragically passed away after being struck by a foul ball at Dodgers Stadium. It also explores the search for answers that followed.
“This information is not new, and the number of injuries is not new,” said Brody of the danger to spectators at baseball games at all levels. “The awareness is what’s new and that’s what I bring to the table.”
Goldbloom’s death was the first to be caused by a foul ball at a major league stadium since 1970, but the large number of injuries that occur every year, many of which are life altering, are rarely brought to light.
By raising awareness through this memoir, Brody is able to pay tribute to her mother, who lived a very ordinary yet tremendously full life.
“She kind of had a mundane life, but she had an extra special death,” Brody said. “She didn’t pass away in vain.”
Any movement to change the status quo will have its fair share of detractors and Brody has faced opposition from many different angles. The resistance to change that is endemic in society can be overwhelming, especially in the social media age.
The vitriol has not stopped Brody, and the momentum towards increased stadium safety that began even before her mother’s passing is only gaining steam.
“I did want to touch base on the positives and the negatives that I went through. Some people would say ‘wasn’t she paying attention’ or ‘how could that happen’?” said Brody. “You could see it on social media and even in the comments on the online articles, where people would respond. There’s definitely both sides of the coin that people just couldn’t accept that you couldn’t dodge that ball or put a mitt out like in the old days.”
Based on the eyewitness accounts that Brody includes in the book, there was no dodging the ball that killed her mother and no amount of attentiveness could have prevented that particular tragic event. The increased exit velocities of baseballs hit by the massive human beings that make up the majority of modern-day Major-League baseball players combined with all of the distractions and modern amenities in every major league ballpark can be a dangerous combination.
“If it’s in your control, get a safe seat. That’s my ongoing message,” Brody said. “Sit behind the nets!”
The case for mitigating this risk by raising and widening the nets at ball parks is a central theme of Sit Behind the Nets. Brody compares it to other common sense safety precautions such as mandatory seat belts, that also received backlash upon implementation.
“There are so many things that people push back on. There are people that push back on vaccinations,” Brody said. “There’s always going to be contrarians out there, that’s why I got my chapter on the hecklers.”
It was Brody who broke the story of her mother’s passing to the media months after the tragic incident on August 25, 2018, and Goldbloom’s passing on August 29, 2018. The event was completely unknown to the public at large before it rocked the baseball world after an ESPN report by William Weinbaum on February 4, 2019.
Major League baseball and individual organizations have made strides in recent years to make their parks safer. At the 2019 winter meetings, commissioner Rob Manfred announced that all 30 MLB teams would extend the netting at their stadiums before the start of the next season.
In 2022, MLB passed requirements that all affiliated minor league ballparks will have mandatory protective netting down the foul lines by the start of the 2025 season.
On Wednesday, March 29 at 6 p.m., Chaucer’s Books will host an in-store signing with Brody. Sit Behind the Nets is currently available and is the No. 1 new release in baseball biographies on Amazon.
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