May 10, 2003

A young boy was clocked in the head by a foul ball (photo) during the Rangers-Indians game last night, bringing to mind last year's death of a girl hit by a puck at a hockey game. Should baseball do anything to mitigate this risk, as hockey has done by installing nets?

posted by rcade to baseball at 09:06 AM - 16 comments

I think baseball does a lot already with netting and such around home plate. There is nothing short of caging in the fans that will be anything close to a "perfect" solution. If you are afraid of you/your children getting hit with something at the game, stay home. Accidents can happen. Judge yourself accordingly. Baseball should not be to blame for the law of averages. If you cage the fans in, they aren't going to go (I'm assuming). Catch-22. I also think that if I was a parent, I'd never put my kid that close to the field for the simple fact that it is a lot more likely that something will happen. Players diving into the seats, balls and bats magically finding their way into the seats...these are reasons to keep your small children in the netted/caged areas. If they can't catch a ball they should never be put in a situation where they might have to. You can only protect people so far as they'll protect themselves. Bring a glove. Watch the damn game. Granted, this case was just a child, but I hate those idiot adult litigations of people hit while attending a game. Pay attention. I think any liability to the team should be on the basis of complete and utter negligence, not freak occurance.

posted by therev at 09:59 AM on May 10, 2003

I think the netting behind home plate should be extended out past each dugout. This will take care of those hot shot line drives into stands. After the dugout provides enough time for people to react to the ball. I agree fans should pay attention, but that is probably not going to happen with crowds anywhere from 10,000-40,000 people. The extended netting would protect that many more people and protect the club from costly court battles.

posted by Fluxcore at 10:04 AM on May 10, 2003

I recently attended a Rangers game at the Ballpark in Arlington with the Cheesy Shopping Center Sounding Name. My seats were in the commissioner's box, right up against the field next to the Rangers dugout. Close enough to hit the second baseman with a cell phone. Fans in seats that close are at the complete mercy of dumb luck and the laws of physics. A screaming foul ball could kill someone, and probably will at some point. I'm surprised more of the fans aren't placed behind screens -- the ones in hockey are barely noticeable when you're at the game.

posted by rcade at 10:26 AM on May 10, 2003

rcade, I knew you were in the Pantheon and all but, damn, didn't realize you were so important that you pall around with Bud Selig! Come on, give us the scoop, is he as dreamy as wfrazierjr thinks? LOL LOL LOL As far as being on-topic, they've been playing baseball for well over a hundred years now and I don't recall anyone ever getting killed by a line drive. Injured sure, but are such a bunch of pantywaists that we need to keep doing this kind of crap?

posted by billsaysthis at 10:36 AM on May 10, 2003

I think some of the fun of having those front row seats is the opportunity to be close to the action (foul balls, fielders catching). If you put up plexiglass or netting over the dugout or down the lines, it will ruin the excitement for which those people have paid high ticket prices. I can't believe that people get into such a hubbub about fan injuries when they happen at such a miniscule rate (how many foul balls are there in a single game? in a week? in a year?). Three simple rules: 1) Pay attention 2) Seat yourself between the batters box and anyone who wouldn't be able to catch a foul ball (young children, elderly, non-athletic friends) 3) Bring a glove

posted by grum@work at 11:40 AM on May 10, 2003

Since you're much more likely to get killed on teh way to the game in a car accident than at the game itself by a baseball I'd say it's much ado about notihng.

posted by Space Coyote at 11:41 AM on May 10, 2003

Those commissioner's box seats are available to anyone if you want to spend the money; my friends bought them from the team over the Internet. Incredible view. The only downside is that if the commissioner is in town, you have to sit in his lap, and he has roving hands.

posted by rcade at 12:08 PM on May 10, 2003

I think all sporting events should take place inside a giant reinforced glass terrarium in the middle of the Australian outback, so that no fans can be injured. Fans that watch the game from the mandatory 300 feet outside the terrarium should be required to wear riot gear, and each fan should have an usher whose duty would be to throw themselves in front of any puck or ball that comes their way. Or we could just accept the fact that weird tragedies will sometimes happen no matter where you are. Either way is cool with me.

posted by Samsonov14 at 12:48 PM on May 10, 2003

Selig needs a good slapping anyway, rcade.

posted by billsaysthis at 01:04 PM on May 10, 2003

As far as being on-topic, they've been playing baseball for well over a hundred years now and I don't recall anyone ever getting killed by a line drive. Exactly. Despite being at the mercy of "dumb luck and physics" this simply hasn't been a problem. We just can't leave baseball alone.

posted by justgary at 11:54 PM on May 10, 2003

i think you've gotta count the number of people that didn't get clocked in the head. 25,105 people at that game. 43.484 in the next game, and so on and so on. the people that didn't get hit in the head with a baseball or a puck don't make the news. the people in Toronto that never got SARS don't make the news. the risk is pretty low. a little more sense would have prevented this, probably.

posted by gspm at 05:12 AM on May 11, 2003

The little bugger should have been concentrating on the game.

posted by Fat Buddha at 06:03 AM on May 11, 2003

When people suggest to pay attention or show a little more sense, it ignores the fact that some of these injuries are probably unavoidable. Fast moving ball, chaotic crowds jostling to and away from it -- sometimes the ball just has your name on it. I've personally been at at least two games where someone was hurt -- one particularly memorable one where an elderly woman was conked on the head by a high-flying foul ball that caromed off her noggin and bounced more than 10 feet back in the air. I'm not a huge advocate of expanding the nets -- as far as this incident goes, I wouldn't put my kids in seats that close while they're so young. But I figure it's only a matter of time before baseball has a tragedy like the one in the NHL and ends up expanding the nets. So why not consider the possibility now?

posted by rcade at 08:05 AM on May 11, 2003

One problem with trying to extend the nets is that there isn't always a roof to which to tie them. It would involve setting up posts which would definitely start obstructing views. I've had my hand almost broken against a seat when I tried to catch a foul ball (I broke rule #3!), so I know the force that ball produces (and I was DEEP in the corner of Skydome, so it was a LONG way off).

posted by grum@work at 08:52 AM on May 11, 2003

Here's a wonderful idea - pay attention to the goddamn game. Tonight, in the Red Sox-Twins game, Bill Mueller's broken bat went flying into the stands and at least half of the people never saw it coming. Think it has anything to do with most of the good seats being filled with corporate numbnuts who are there talking on their cell phones?

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:06 PM on May 11, 2003

As far as being on-topic, they've been playing baseball for well over a hundred years now and I don't recall anyone ever getting killed by a line drive. Won't somebody think of the poor birds?

posted by Ufez Jones at 10:13 PM on May 11, 2003

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