Spring has sprung. During this time of year flowers bloom and people begin to head outdoors again. For some, spring makes them think of eating Cracker Jacks and hearing the crack of the bat at their local baseball diamond. But what happens when a fan gets hit by a foul ball during the game?
Major League Baseball Is Setting an Example
Recently, during the Major League Baseball (MLB) owners’ meeting, the Commissioner’s Office issued a news release outlining its new netting policy, which extends the protective netting down the foul lines to make fans safer.
After a spate of recent injuries from foul balls and broken bats, resulting in both heightened awareness and lawsuits, Major League Baseball (MLB) clearly felt it had to do something.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfield explained that he was not trying to deny fans “unparalleled proximity and access to MLB players,” by extending the nets. Rather, “that fans have the option of sitting behind protective netting” in those areas of the ballpark where a foul ball coming into the stands at 85 miles an hour might cause major injury.
Under the new policy, teams are “encouraged” to extend the netting behind home plate 70 feet or so down the foul lines. However, this is not a mandate, merely a recommendation. As anyone who sits behind home plate can tell you, the quality of these nets has significantly improved, so the experience of watching the game through a net is not nearly as degraded as it once was.
High School and College to Follow?
While MLB teams can afford to put up protective netting, what about little league and high school teams? The threat of injury is no less in these venues.
In the split-second you take checking your cell phone and reaching into your wallet to purchase popcorn, a batted ball could be headed right at you.
If you or a family member gets injured at a sporting event, please contact Miller & Wynn. Our locally-based attorneys have decades of experience. Please contact Mike Miller or Christopher L. Wynn for a free consultation at 770-942-2720 or visit www.MillerWynnLaw.com.