Archive for baseball rule

The Danger of The Baseball Rule And The Risks Involved

60-year-old John ‘Jay’ Loos filed a lawsuit for negligence against the Cubs after he got a blind left eye in August after being injured by a flying ball as he sat down near the outfield of Wrigley Field. He told reporters “When you are sitting behind the home plate, you can’t tell the speed of the ball or where it’s going until it’s on you.”

Similarly, in 2009 Juanita DeJesus broke some bones in her face leading to blindness in her left eye after she was struck by the ball. The Indiana Supreme Court dismissed her lawsuit.

In children the injuries can be catastrophic; in 2008 the Tribune reported that a Seven-year-old fan present at his first Cubs baseball game in Wrigley field got a head injury by a line drive that left him with swelling in his brain and a cracked skull. There is no evidence of any lawsuit filed by the family.

While seated behind the Cubs home plate, a fourth grader, Delbert Yates Jr., sustained an injury to his right eye by a ball from Leon Durham in 1983. The family won a $67,500 jury verdict after his attorneys presented evidence that proved the protective screen that was behind the base was not enough. The verdict was upheld in 1992 by a states appeal court.

Oakland U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers while ruling on a group-action lawsuit asked why the Major League Baseball had not done enough to mitigate danger especially to its young fans, “It’s a mystery why the league fails to highlight the danger to parents, particularly knowing the risky exposure to children.”

The more than century-old baseball rule frees the stadium owners from any liability in regards to injuries as long as the protective netting shields substantial seats in the home plate area. The rule also assumes fans seated in other areas are aware of the danger of injuries from a flying ball or a broken bat. A study conducted in 2003 found that 35 fans, per one million visits to the league stadiums, were injured by foul balls.

Plenty of lawsuits in regards to baseball injuries have been thrown out by judges across the country; Illinois, in particular, has enshrined the Baseball rule into law. The League, in 2015, recommended that any seats at the field level within seventy feet of the home plates should be behind netting; this was to be applied in all ballparks.