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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Braves Seek Immunity for Foul Ball Injury

“The game has changed,” said E. Michael Moran, who is expected to argue for the plaintiffs today. “The safety rules should change along with that.”
In the case before the court, a child identified in court papers only as M.F. was seated with her family a few rows behind the visitors’ dugout at Turner Field. A line drive foul ball hit by then-Brave Melky Cabrera flew into the stands and smashed into M.F.‘s forehead. M.F.‘s family claims that the blow fractured M.F.‘s skull in 30 places and caused a severe traumatic brain injury. (Last year, the plaintiffs note, Cabrera was suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball for steroid use.)

The only PED Melky was on in Atlanta was cheeseburgers.

Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: February 18, 2014 at 02:36 PM | 39 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, lawsuits, melky cabrera, safety

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   1. dr. scott Posted: February 18, 2014 at 07:16 PM (#4658734)
As if Atlanta was not hurt enough by Melky... hes the gift that keeps on giving.
   2. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: February 18, 2014 at 07:17 PM (#4658735)
I'm sure it hurt like a MF
   3. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: February 18, 2014 at 07:45 PM (#4658746)
EDIT: Never mind.
   4. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: February 18, 2014 at 09:01 PM (#4658772)
What makes it a problem is that people attending baseball games are invited in a dozen different ways, not even counting their smartphones, to not pay attention to the game.

High netting all the way around the field is probably coming one day, and it's not a day I'm looking forward to.
   5. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: February 18, 2014 at 10:39 PM (#4658797)
Regrettably, I doubt the ruling will go against the plaintiffs on a "bring a damned glove" logic.
   6. bigglou115 Posted: February 18, 2014 at 11:00 PM (#4658800)
Your proclivity to hate lawyers aside, this case won't last long. Foul balls are a known danger. By contrast, the hot dog to the eye case was decided based on whether getting pummeled by mixed meat was a known danger, if it was then the team prevails, otherwise the plaintiff wins. So, "bring a glove" is likely to be exactly what this case turns on.
   7. Lassus Posted: February 18, 2014 at 11:00 PM (#4658801)
It is actually possible to be paying attention and still get hit in the head. I have no idea if that's what happened, but it certainly is possible.
   8. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: February 18, 2014 at 11:24 PM (#4658805)
High netting all the way around the field is probably coming one day, and it's not a day I'm looking forward to.

Netting that extends to the dugout is coming soon; you and I will be dead and buried before it goes any farther.
   9. thetailor Posted: February 19, 2014 at 02:32 AM (#4658850)
What 8 said. And/or no minors allowed in certain, unguarded, sections.
   10. Scott Lange Posted: February 19, 2014 at 08:59 AM (#4658867)
It is actually possible to be paying attention and still get hit in the head. I have no idea if that's what happened, but it certainly is possible.


The classic example... or maybe it isn't...
   11. bfan Posted: February 19, 2014 at 09:05 AM (#4658868)
whatever happened to the "assumption of risk" doctrine?

I feel like we have drifted to a strict liabilty standard; if someone is hurt, then someone else (i.e. deeper pockets) must pay. On the surface, this seems fine, as you just add 20 cents per ticket, per game, to cover the costs of the suit when someone talking on their cell-phone and not paying attention gets hit by a ball, but you are basically having everyone else subsidize irresponsible behavior, but I guess that is "welcome to America in the 21st century".
   12. Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: February 19, 2014 at 09:19 AM (#4658872)
You'd think Denard Span's mom was paying attention to her kid when he drilled her with a foul ball.
   13. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 19, 2014 at 09:23 AM (#4658875)
whatever happened to the "assumption of risk" doctrine?

I feel like we have drifted to a strict liabilty standard; if someone is hurt, then someone else (i.e. deeper pockets) must pay. On the surface, this seems fine, as you just add 20 cents per ticket, per game, to cover the costs of the suit when someone talking on their cell-phone and not paying attention gets hit by a ball, but you are basically having everyone else subsidize irresponsible behavior, but I guess that is "welcome to America in the 21st century".


It still exists. Unless I'm missing something this case hasn't been decided yet right? There have been similar cases that have gone to court and generally they've ruled in favor of the teams. The only one I can remember where the team was liable was when the Sharks' Joe Murphy fired a puck into the crowd after a goal was scored. The ruling was basically that the play was over and it was reasonable that the fans shouldn't have been expected to be paying attention at that time.
   14. Random Transaction Generator Posted: February 19, 2014 at 09:42 AM (#4658883)
When I was in my teens/20s, I relished the idea of having seats in foul ball areas. I used to bring a glove, and my reflexes were dynamite.
Now, in my 40s, I'd rather sit in an area that only gets those high-arching foul balls (or sit behind the netting). I don't have a glove, and my reflexes are just slowed enough to make me think I can catch it, when I probably can't.

If/when I take my little girl to a game, it will be in a safe area for sure.
   15. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 19, 2014 at 10:24 AM (#4658898)
whatever happened to the "assumption of risk" doctrine?


Does it matter in this case that the injured party was a child? I know that children can't be held to certain types of contracts (like if a credit card company sends a pre-approved card to a five-year-old, for example).
   16. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 19, 2014 at 10:28 AM (#4658902)
If/when I take my little girl to a game, it will be in a safe area for sure.

Speaking as the parent of a child who spent a few days in the hospital after being hit by a foul ball, this is very good advice.
   17. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: February 19, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4658919)
This could all be solved by locking them in closets.
   18. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: February 19, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4658929)
My wife and I have started taking our two daughters (who were 7 and 9 last summer) to go to minor league baseball games. My wife and daughters like the concept of going to a baseball game more than the reality of it, meaning by the third inning they are sort of like, "There isn't a whole lot going on, is there?"

So, we go to a Portland Sea Dogs game last summer. get some very good seats down the third base line, maybe 10 rows behind the dugout. Great view, got to see Xander Bogaerts, beautiful late afternoon, etc.

The problem is that we were there five minutes, and a foul ball is lined by a lefty pretty close to us - close enough that my wife was like, "Damn - you've got to watch every pitch in case a foul ball comes your way! The kids aren't even watching the game!" And I was like, "Well, maybe we should watch the game."

She did watch the next several innings with the barely-hidden sense of panic with each pitch that was thrown - that a child-seeking line drive would target dear Abbi or Maggie with a laser.

We left in the top of the 7th inning, with my wife's edge curbed with a few Shipyard Blue Paw beers. I promised her that when we next go, I will get seats behind the protective net.

Honestly, kids and, shall we say, non-attentive adults should probably not be sitting in seats "in the line of fire".
   19. Squash Posted: February 19, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4658944)
I still think that if we hadn't grown up with baseball and didn't find it commonplace, we would think people were nuts for going to games (and bringing their kids) where hard projectiles are batted at speeds of 90+ miles per hour directly into the crowd many times over the course of the game. If this was the national sport of Kyrgyzstan or wherever we would think they were insane. It's all about what you grow up thinking is normal.
   20. BDC Posted: February 19, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4658949)
I find third-deck seats by the RF foul pole to be pretty safe.
   21. dave h Posted: February 19, 2014 at 11:59 AM (#4658951)
For minor league games where tickets are cheap, it makes a ton of sense to sit right behind home plate with kids. It's also a great view to teach the game. For the majors, well, we always end up in the bleachers so as long as I'm paying attention we should be good (and I've also never had a ball hit to me at any level).
   22. Sean Forman Posted: February 19, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4658954)
I'll admit that there are plenty of times I've been at games and thought, I can't believe the net doesn't extend this far. Reflexes be damned, I was nearly pegged in the chest one game while I was holding my coke in one hand and hot dog in the other. A screamer straight back struck the middle of my seat as I dove out of the way.
   23. Accent Shallow Posted: February 19, 2014 at 12:08 PM (#4658956)
I'll admit that there are plenty of times I've been at games and thought, I can't believe the net doesn't extend this far. Reflexes be damned, I was nearly pegged in the chest one game while I was holding my coke in one hand and hot dog in the other. A screamer straight back struck the middle of my seat as I dove out of the way.


I hope you didn't spill your drink.

Last time I was at a minor league game, I was sitting right where an LHB could be expected to foul a ball back with some force, and I definitely watched every pitch much more intently than I would have otherwise.
   24. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: February 19, 2014 at 12:16 PM (#4658962)
I think you should wrap them up in hockey pads before you go. Even in 100 degree heat.
   25. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: February 19, 2014 at 01:12 PM (#4658993)
The right field bleachers at Marlins games are pretty safe. At least when the Marlins are batting and Stanton is on the DL.
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 19, 2014 at 01:41 PM (#4659020)
I think you should wrap them up in hockey pads before you go. Even in 100 degree heat.

Seriously. What is the number of serious batted ball injuries in MLB parks every year? Is it more than a handful?

This article indicates 52 foul ball fan deaths since 1887, only 2 in pro games.

http://si.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1154469/3/index.htm

With 75 million people an MLB game year attending a game, this seems like a minuscule risk to worry about. If this level of risk worries you, you should never, ever let your kid go swimming, or ride a bike on the street.
   27. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: February 19, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4659030)
This could all be solved by locking them in closets.

You gave me twenty ideas, and I picked out one of them that was a kernel that became that commercial.
   28. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: February 19, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4659032)
With 75 million people an MLB game year attending a game, this seems like a minuscule risk to worry about. If this level of risk worries you, you should never, ever let your kid go swimming, or ride a bike on the street.


You should also guard you child against shark attack. At baseball games.
   29. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 19, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4659037)
You should also guard you child against shark attack. At baseball games.


It happens more often than you'd think.
   30. dr. scott Posted: February 19, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4659042)
Was watching a Giants game many years ago. Had my glove on, was paying attention. Foul ball screams directly towards us, dents the seat 3 rows in front and bounces nearly back on the filed. It was at that point my reflexes allowed me to raise my glove.

Fortunately this was at Candlestick, so there was no one else near these seats.

i prefer not to pay for those seats at AT&T, so I'm pretty safe in the upper deck.
   31. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: February 19, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4659048)
It happens more often than you'd think.
How do you know how often he thinks it happens??

[/mgl]
   32. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 19, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4659070)
The risk is low, but so is the cost of sitting in a protected area. I realize that my situation was the Requiem for A Dream scenario as foul balls go, but still...
   33. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: February 19, 2014 at 07:21 PM (#4659326)
Now, in my 40s, I'd rather sit in an area that only gets those high-arching foul balls (or sit behind the netting). I don't have a glove,


I know I'll rattle some cages here, but seriously, if you are over 12 and bringing a glove to the game that is pissweak. Go to the game, pay effing attention to the play and realise that hey after maybe 100 odd years of MLB that foul balls sometimes go screaming into the seats.

Like many of us, I've been to hundreds/thousands of games and not got close to getting a foul ball. The dude in Boston got 2 in the same game last year, how awesome is that?

It's terrible that the family's little girl has sustained some serious injuries, but it's like suing your local council if you fall on the flat footpath whilst running and bang your head on the concrete. Sh*t just happens and there's inherent risk in living life. I'm sure the the multitude of lawyers who post here can discuss inherent risk a lot better then I can.
   34. Lassus Posted: February 19, 2014 at 08:13 PM (#4659354)
I know I'll rattle some cages here, but seriously, if you are over 12 and bringing a glove to the game that is pissweak.

I hear this a lot, but it's the antithesis of joy. I've never gotten a foul ball and I'll most likely never get a foul ball; but if I don't take the chance to catch a baseball thrown by a major league pitcher and hit by a major league ballplayer in an actual baseball glove, as far as I'm concerned I may as well just curl up in front of my television and die alone.

So, yeah, I disagree. I'll be bringing my glove to games until I'm dead.
   35. bigglou115 Posted: February 19, 2014 at 08:25 PM (#4659362)
It still exists. Unless I'm missing something this case hasn't been decided yet right? There have been similar cases that have gone to court and generally they've ruled in favor of the teams. The only one I can remember where the team was liable was when the Sharks' Joe Murphy fired a puck into the crowd after a goal was scored. The ruling was basically that the play was over and it was reasonable that the fans shouldn't have been expected to be paying attention at that time.


Like I said earlier, there was that federal case last year were KC was getting sued for hitting that guy in the eye with a hot dog. The original decision was that he assumed the known risk of being hit with a projectile. On appeal, they said the risk of being hit with a hot dog wasn't known, but in dicta they pretty explicitly compared it to the known risk of being hit by a ball, intoning that they'd have found for the team in that instance. I really doubt this case stands much of a chance, if a sympathetic judge were to award the family money the award would almost certainly be turned over on appeal.

edit: It should be noted that all that has happened at this point is 1) the judge wouldn't throw the case out based on "The Baseball Rule" and 2) on interlocutory appeal the Georgia Supreme Court questioned whether Georgia should recognize "The Baseball Rule."

edit edit: What's being fought over now is whether assumption of risk or "The Baseball Rule" applies for minors. Basically, the Georgia Supreme Court is considering that the duty of care would be that of general liability, in which case the Braves are tasked with exhibiting ordinary care to those they've invited into the stadium. This happens sometimes when a party is incapable of assuming the risk, like a minor or a mentally handicapped person. Given the state of baseball, I still doubt anyone could argue the Braves exercised anything less than ordinary care to prevent this, there's loud speaker announcements, signs, and warnings on the tickets. If Georgia decides to take a stand here then we'll get nets all around the park a lot sooner than we thought.
   36. zack Posted: February 19, 2014 at 08:43 PM (#4659373)
If any of you fear for your children's safety, you can just bring me to the game with you. I've never had a ball hit anywhere near me, certainly not even within my section.
   37. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: February 19, 2014 at 09:12 PM (#4659381)
but if I don't take the chance to catch a baseball thrown by a major league pitcher and hit by a major league ballplayer in an actual baseball glove, as far as I'm concerned I may as well just curl up in front of my television and die alone.


Geez mate, that's little melodramatic. You're a Mets fan aren't you?

Nope I figure it's got that lottery element. If it's meant to happen, it'll just happen...glove or no glove.
   38. Random Transaction Generator Posted: February 19, 2014 at 10:06 PM (#4659402)
With 75 million people an MLB game year attending a game, this seems like a minuscule risk to worry about.


That's not really a fair comparison, since about 60% (70%?) of them don't sit in any area that could have a line drive foul ball hit at them.

I've had a line drive hit towards me and my friends. My two buddies dove out of the way, and I put my hand out to catch it.
I did, but it drove it right back into the (now vacated) seat beside me. It bounced out of my hand and back a few rows, where someone else picked it up.
It didn't hurt for a few seconds, but then...woah. I was checked out by the medical staff at SkyDome, determined there weren't any broken bones (just bruising and a lot of swelling) and sat back down with an ice pack.

My father has caught 3 foul balls in his life. One at a World Series game (1992, no Commish signature on the ball) while sitting behind home plate (pop up straight back), another at a Jays game a few years later (behind the Jays dugout, another pop up) and once at Padres game (the only time he's seen a game while on vacation, it was a line drive that bounced off an empty seat and back to his location).

If this level of risk worries you, you should never, ever let your kid go swimming, or ride a bike on the street.


I don't let my kid go swimming alone or ride a bike.
She's 9 months old.
Now, will I do everything I can to make sure she's safe when she swims or eventually rides a bike?
Sure. Just like I'llmake sure she's safe at a baseball game.
I think there is as much to enjoy at a baseball game behind home plate, or in the second deck, as there is down the baselines.

You should also guard you child against shark attack. At baseball games.


As long as kids (and adults) in the south are safely guarded against an inch of snow.
   39. Lassus Posted: February 19, 2014 at 10:34 PM (#4659411)
Nope I figure it's got that lottery element. If it's meant to happen, it'll just happen...glove or no glove.

Okay. So... what's your problem with the glove, then? It won't help catch a ball? Not sound.

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