Baseball—America’s pastime. Baseball fans, and many others, see a day at the ballpark as one of life’s little pleasures. But imagine you’re there, soaking up the sunshine, chatting with friends, enjoying a hot dog, when a line-drive foul ball or a broken bat comes flying at your head. Serious injury can result.
Admittedly, this danger is limited to a rather small percentage of the seats in a stadium, but the danger for the fans sitting in those seats is very real. These danger seats are along the first and third baselines. How far down those lines is a matter of debate, but no one doubts the danger up to about first and third base.
For as long as any of us can remember, there has been fencing behind home plate to protect fans from errant pitches and foul balls. No one really knows why it was originally decided to limit the fencing to this area, but, increasingly, teams and park owners are extending the protective barrier farther down the line.
A recent injury at Yankee Stadium in New York City has renewed the call for teams and stadium owners across the nation and at all levels of play to extend safety netting. A young boy was struck by part of a bat that broke on impact with the ball. He was seated just past the third base dugout. The incident follows closely after the introduction by a New York City councilman of a bill to require the Yankees and Mets to extend their netting all the way to the outfield wall.
In 2015, the Major League Baseball Commissioner requested all teams to extend the safety net to a distance of 70 feet from home plate. All the teams have complied, but as evidenced by this newest incident, injury can occur even beyond that distance. Nine major league teams, excluding the Yankees and Mets, have extended their nets to 90 feet.
The biggest argument against the extended netting is that it obstructs the fans’ view of the game, not to mention keeping prized foul balls from being caught by fans.
Approximately 1,750 fans are injured each year from foul balls and broken bats. If you or a loved one has been injured at a sporting event, particularly a baseball game, contact Alexander Law Group, LLP immediately to discuss your rights. Call 888.777.1776 right now, for a free, confidential, and personal consultation with one of our attorneys or contact us online.