Protecting Fans: How Many More Fans Will Suffer Serious Injury Before MLB Acts
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Fans suffer injuries from foul balls and broken bats leaving the playing field almost every day during the Major League Baseball season. In 2014, Bloomberg News reported that approximately 1,750 fans are injured at Major League Baseball games every year, which is an average of two injuries for every three games played. Many of these injuries are minor cuts and bruises, but some are extremely serious. Even children have been injured. Only one month ago, a 105 mph line drive foul ball struck a young girl in the face while she was sitting behind the third base dugout in Yankee Stadium. These injuries should not happen because there is an easy solution. Teams can simply extend the netting that begins behind home plate in every stadium into the outfield to prevent objects from entering the stands at high speeds.
Major League Baseball has said that it is reluctant to require teams to add netting because it does not want to interfere with fans’ enjoyment of the game. This explanation is not a good reason for failing to take all necessary steps to protect fans. It is not enough for netting to protect only the seats behind home plate or even behind the dugouts. I am a diehard baseball fan and would appreciate this extra protection so that I can enjoy a game close to the field with my family and friends without having to worry about us getting injured because we looked away from the field for a split second. Also, the most expensive seats in any baseball stadium are on the field level behind home plate, which are always protected by netting. The real reason that no action has been taken is a legal principle called the “Baseball Rule,” which says that stadiums and teams are not responsible for injuries suffered by their fans as long as they provide netting behind home plate. The Baseball Rule gives no incentive for Major League Baseball to require teams to extend the netting at their stadiums.
The time has come for the federal, state, and local governments to take action to protect fans across the country. By signing this petition, you will tell all of our elected representatives that we want them to act immediately to eliminate the risk of serious fan injury by passing laws that require all Major League Baseball stadiums to have netting that extends to the outfield foul poles.
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