You ever have one of those moments that completely change your mind on something?

I mean, really makes you do a 180-degree turn on something.

It happened to me Monday.

I took my family to the Fort Wayne TinCaps game against Dayton at Parkview Field. It really is a beautiful place to watch a ball game. It’s clean and the sightlines are very good.

We went with a group of about 100 people from Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church to see the game. Mondays are $1 night for small sodas, hot dogs, popcorn and these cheesy chicken finger things. So it’s a night designed to draw families, right? We saved a bucket-full of money on food, and many families can’t do a baseball game because of the cost.

I have said many times that minor league sports are the best entertainment value around.

After a 90-minute rain delay, we walked down to Aisle 102 and strolled down to Row E (which at that spot at Parkview Field is the third row from the field)—seats 4, 5, 6 and 7.

I handed out food from the tray made from recycled cardboard and sat down in my seat.

And then I looked up.

I glared out toward home plate from my seat just beyond first base and I saw a completely unobstructed view of it.

We were exposed.

The TinCaps had added extra netting like all the other professional baseball teams, but we were about 10 seats beyond that protection. I asked my wife if she wanted to switch me seats so I could do what I could to protect them in case a foul ball came shooting our way. She refused.

I watched every pitch more closely than I would have anyway. I anticipated by the count, the batter and all of my sports instincts when I ball might be headed our way, but through the first four innings we had not seen any action.

Holly said that in the fifth inning we would be making a return to the concession stands for Dippin’ Dots and popcorn, which were at different places on the concourse. With the final out of the fourth inning, my wife and I glanced at each other and went in opposite directions.

The line was short so my son and I got through pretty quickly and started back down the stairs to our seats.

When I got there, the people sitting around me looked at me in a way that made me feel like something was wrong. Their looks were solemn.

My wife and daughter had beaten us back to Row E, and their looks mirrored the others.

“Did I miss something?”

My wife nodded her head.

My friends told me a line drive foul ball had just come through our section, our row…my seat. My friend Lloyd told me that if I had been in my seat, I would have been in the path of that ball. As a former baseball/softball player, I rationalized that I could have turned or ducked or stuck out my hat to catch it. But then I remembered that during the last batters of the fourth inning my little Oliver was sitting on my lap telling me how excited he was about getting popcorn.

It changed everything.

I stopped to pray in that moment to thank the Lord for moving us out of harm’s way. We were blessed, not lucky.

At that moment I understood, first hand, what everyone has been talking about.

I am now in favor of extending protective netting beyond the end of the dugouts at professional baseball stadiums.

I do not think it is necessary to extend netting to the foul poles like the White Sox have, but I would like to see the netting extend to 200-feet from home plate on either side of the diamond. That distance would protect those people who do not have the time to react to a batted ball hit into the stands.

That distance would put the end of the netting about half way from first and third base to the foul pole.

That space would give peace of mind to parents and allow them to enjoy the game more.

I get it now.