Is it time to give baseball fans more protection?Published by kate.searle on Tue, 05/03/2016 - 10:38
On the front of every major/minor league baseball ticket fans can find their section, row, and seat number. But the message on the back of the baseball ticket may be more important. The back of a baseball ticket warns about the risks and dangers fans may encounter if their seat happens to be unprotected from the field by protective netting. Balls and bats may enter the spectator seating at any time during a baseball game and injure fans. Within the last few years more and more fans have been injured at baseball games.
On August 23, 2015 a fan was carried away in a stretcher after being hit in the head by a line-drive foul ball in the first inning of a baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and The Atlanta Braves.
On June 5, 2015 Oakland Athletics’ Brett Lawrie broke a bat during the second inning. A piece of the broken bat flew into the stands and struck a lady in the head. The bloodied lady was rushed to the hospital with life threatening injuries. After undergoing brain surgery, she is still recovering.
A teenager in 1970 washit in the temple by a ball, this is the only incident when a spectator died from being hit by a foul in MLB history. The game was held in the Dodger Stadium.
www.thestar.com estimates an average of 1,750 fans are injured in the stands every year. An argument was made by Stephen King that the fans should pay more attention to the action on the field in order to avoid getting hit by a foul ball. While this may help prevent injury, fans may not have time to react if a ball is coming their way. A line drive ball going 95 mph would give most fans one second, at most, to react and protect themselves.
Major League Baseball has been asked to extend the netting that is currently only behind home base to each foul pole. But some teams believe that if this netting is put in place, fans would stop coming to games because the view from a net isn’t as appealing. While the Major League Baseball Association is aware of the risks of fan safety, unfortunately money is the biggest thing holding teams back from protecting their fans.