Posted by: Bob Gorman | December 11, 2022

Extended Netting in Minor League Parks by 2025


Fan safety initiative will lead to mandatory extensive protective netting in place across entire affiliated Minor League Baseball system by 2025 season

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) announced a new requirement today to have extensive protective netting in place at all Professional Development League (PDL) ballparks.  The fan safety initiative was adopted at the 2022 Winter Meetings after being unanimously approved by the MLB PDL Executive Board. 

In June 2019, after repeated incidents of MLB fans being hit by foul balls, Durbin and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) wrote to MLB Commissioner Manfred urging him to have all 30 MLB teams extend protective netting to the right and left field corners at all ballparks.  In December 2019, MLB announced that all 30 teams would extend protective netting during the next season.  Durbin has continuously met with baseball safety advocates to discuss fan safety at MLB and Minor League Baseball games.

“In 2019, it was clear something had to be done to protect fans from foul balls being hit at high speeds into the stands. Because of the advocacy of fans and players, MLB made it a requirement to address ballpark safety by extending protective netting well beyond the end of each dugout for the 30 major league teams,” Durbin said.  “Now, we are building on the progress made over the last three years so we can also attend minor league games with our kids and grandkids without fear for their safety, no matter where we’re seated.  I want to thank MLB and minor league clubs for their efforts on this issue and for heeding my concerns for fan safety.”

“For the last 7 years, injured baseball fans and their families banded together and advocated tirelessly for extended netting at major and minor league ballparks. With Senator Durbin’s leadership, we changed the narrative on stadium safety, galvanizing public opinion to make baseball stadiums safer. Sadly, over that same period, one fan died and scores were permanently injured from foul ball injuries. While I cannot speak for all the others, I am personally grateful that MLB has finally done the right thing by making fan safety a higher priority. A heartfelt thanks to MLB and Senator Durbin for taking these steps to make our National Pastime safer for fans and more family friendly,” said Andy Zlotnick, a fan safety advocate.

“We thank Senator Durbin for his steadfast leadership on this important issue and for his shared commitment towards enhancing fan safety across the PDL system, which has been a goal since the new organizational structure launched in 2021,” said Dan Halem, Deputy Commissioner, Major League Baseball. “Minor League Baseball is an exciting option for families to spend time together and experience professional baseball in an up close and personal way. By taking this action, our PDL Clubs have underscored their commitment to ensuring the safety of fans remains a top priority.”

The requirements—which resulted from a comprehensive review of all 120 PDL ballparks that began several months ago—include the following:

  • PDL Clubs are required to install netting from foul pole to foul pole unless the configuration of the ballpark makes such coverage unnecessary.
  • The height requirement for the netting from behind home plate to the end of each dugout will be standardized across the PDL system.
  • PDL Clubs are to work with their respective facilities to complete installation as soon as practicable but in no event later than 2025 Opening Day.
  • Teams will be subject to discipline for non-compliance, including significant fines.

A consultant specializing in stadium architecture and protective netting was retained to help develop and assess compliance with the new mandate. The consultant will also be available to advise Clubs with respect to how to achieve compliance. Previously, decisions concerning the installation of netting were made by each individual PDL Club.

Durbin and Duckworth have also pushed MLB to collect and report data about fan injuries at MLB baseball stadiums.  The Senators believe that releasing this data would help provide the public a better understanding of fan injuries and evaluate the voluntary safety measures that teams are implementing.

Posted by: Bob Gorman | October 22, 2022

Updates to Death at the Ballpark

Although the second edition of Death at the Ballpark was recently published, my research into game-related fatalities continues.  What follows are deaths that I have uncovered since the publication of the book in the fall of 2015.  Readers of this blog are encouraged to send me any additional fatalities that are not included in the book or on this list.


Eugene Sweeney, 17, died from “apoplexy” during a game near Camp Union, UT, on March 3, 1867.

An unidentified boy died instantly as he was retrieving a ball while holding an open knife in his other hand during a game in Vassalboro, ME, on May 15, 1867.  Another player ran into him, driving the knife into his heart.

A boy with the last name of Smith died after he was struck on the side of the head by a ball during a game in Norwalk, CT, on May 25, 1867.


A boy with the last name of Brown, 15, died after he was struck on the head by a baseball during a game in Dover, NH, on May 21, 1870.


Thomas Lollard, center fielder for a semi-pro team in St. Joseph, MO, fractured his skull on the right side of his head when he collided with teammate Jack Munger as they both pursued a fly ball.   He died from his injuries on July 22, 1891.


John O’Grady, 13, was playing street ball in Chicago, IL, on September 23, 1870, when he was struck on the abdomen by a batted ball, resulting in his death moments later.


John J. Rooney was struck on the head by a fastball and knocked unconscious while batting in a company game in Chicago, IL, on August 25, 1902.  He came to a few moments later and was able to return to his home with the aid of his teammates.  He again fell unconscious and died around 11:00 p.m. that evening.

Charles Glenn, center fielder for Cedarville College (now Cedarville University) in Ohio, collided with the shortstop as both pursued a fly ball in a game against Wilberforce University in Springfield, OH, on May 12, 1903.  Glenn sustained a fatal skull fracture while the shortstop, knocked unconscious by the blow, recovered.

Alvah Neher in Rocky Ford, CO, was walking across the diamond on the way to school on January 28, 1904, with some friends when he was struck on the head by a ball.  He fell ill later that afternoon and was taken home by one of his teachers.  He became unconscious shortly after arriving and died around 10:00 p.m. that evening.

Joseph Sweeney, 28, was struck over the heart while at bat during a game on September 18, 1904, in Beaver Dam, OH.  He took three or four steps out of the batter’s box before collapsing and dying.

Harry Edward Rickerds, 14, died moments after suffering a heart attack while running from third base to home plate during a game in Frederick, MD, on June 9, 1907.

Charles Lee Bove, 6, was struck on the back of his head by a foul ball while watching a game in Pittsburgh, PA, on May 10, 1908.  The batter who hit the ball picked the boy up and ran two miles to the nearest hospital where emergency surgery was performed.  The boy passed away on the afternoon of May 11.

Frank Phillips, 9, was struck on the mouth by a baseball during a game in Pittsburgh, PA, on June 22, 1908.  The blow caused a hemorrhage that physicians were unable to stop.  The youngster passed away at a Pittsburgh hospital in mid-July.

Houston Wilson, a pitcher on a town team in Sulphur, OK, was struck on the head by a batted ball during team practice on June 16, 1909 and died a few hours later.

John Chenaut, catcher, died moments after he was struck over the heart by a pitched ball during the eighth inning of a game between African American ball clubs in French Lick, IN, on July 13, 1909.

Andrew Myers, a player for Evangelical Lutheran School Teachers Seminary (now Concordia University) in Seward, NE, suffered an injury to his spine in a game on September 23, 1909.  He died from his injuries two days later.


L. W. Swan was struck by a foul ball while watching a game in Bartlesville, OK, in early May 1910.  The ball struck him on the temple, fracturing his skull.

Walter C. Holiday, acting as gatekeeper during at game in Galatia, IL, against a team from Thompsonville, IL, on September 11, 1910, was shot and killed by Joseph Wiggins while attempting to collect the 15 cent admission charge from the assailant.  Wiggins fled the scene of the crime before he could be arrested.

John Thomas Duncan, 12, was struck on the head with a ball thrown by an opposing player during a game in Atlanta, GA, on May 1, 1911.  He became ill during the night, dying the following afternoon from his injuries.

John Stack, 18, was struck on the left side of his head by a pitched ball while batting during the top of the third inning in a game on Neville Island outside of Pittsburgh, PA, on September 3, 1911.  Knocked unconscious by the blow, he was taken to a physician in Coraopolis and then to a local hospital where he died later that day without regaining consciousness.  Stack suffered a similar injury a few months earlier when he was beaned during a game on May 29.

James Purcell, 2, was eating peanuts during a game in New York City in early May 1912 when one of the nuts entered his lungs.  He was rushed to an area hospital where physicians tried for a week to remove the pieces from his lungs.  The child passed away on May 7.

Finis Townsley was struck on the head by a pitched ball during a game in Jonah, TX, on June 13, 1912.  He continued to play, but shortly after the game became ill.  He passed away at his home the following morning.

Matthew Green, 15, second baseman for Hanover (NH) High School, in a game on May 12, 1913, struck his head while sliding trying to take third on a double, but was seemingly uninjured.  Later that game he collided with a teammate while pursuing a pop fly.  He collapsed unconscious and died a few hours later in the hospital without regaining consciousness.

John Zupa, 11, was pursuing a fly ball during a sandlot game on July 16, 1913, when he fell into the Susquehanna River near Wilkes-Barre, PA, and drowned.

Clarence Stearns died from a brain hemorrhage at his home in Winnebago, MN, on September 20, 1913, as a result of two beanings he received while playing ball that summer.  Stearns had played with the St. Paul Colts of the Class C Northern League earlier that season before joining a semipro team in Sheridan, WY.

Paul Clay Meloy, 16, he was struck in the right side by a ball during a game in Piedmont, MO, on July 25, 1914. He continued to play, but over the next several days his side and arm became increasingly sore.  He died on August 2, seemingly from blood poisoning.

Willie Starck, 12, died from peritonitis on June 1, 1916, several days after he was struck in the stomach by a ball during a game in Brownsville, TX.

Arthur J. McEvoy, Jr., 23, fractured his spine when he fell from a fence while watching a game in Merna, IL, on June 15, 1919.  He died from his injuries the following afternoon around 5:00 p.m.


James Gannon, 21, playing in a semipro game in Everett, MA, was struck on the head by a batted ball on July 8, 1921.  He played another inning, but then collapsed.  He died later that night in a Boston hospital.

M. A. Hollderby, a student at Hampden-Sidney College in Hampden Sidney, VA, was trying out for the freshman team on March 17, 1922, when he was stuck on the back of his head by a batted ball, fracturing his skull and killing him.

B.B. Oxley, 13, was playing ball with his brother on July 4, 1922, in Randlett, OK, when his neck was broken by a pitched ball that stuck him under the chin.  He died moments after the incident.

J. M. Dean died from head injuries after he was struck by a foul ball while umpiring a game in Norfolk, VA, on July 29, 1922.

Frank Grammer, 14, died on April 19, 1923, from a blow to his abdomen by a pitched ball during a game in Fort Worth, TX, several days earlier.  It was reported that the force of the blow ruptured his appendix.

Amos Shackelford, 19, died April 22, 1923, two weeks after suffering an undisclosed injury during a game in Kellyville, OK.

Charles Swan, 14, was struck on the mouth by a pitched ball during a game in Wausau, MS, on May 5, 1923.  The boy died on the way to the hospital from a ruptured blood vessel at the base of his brain.

Walter Hilenski, 13, died moments after he was struck over the heart by a pitched ball during an elementary school game in Salem, MA, on May 23, 1923.

George B. Bowman, 71, died moments after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage while attending a Class B Three-I League game in Quincy, IL, on June 12, 1925, between the Quincy Red Birds and the Peoria (IL) Tractors.

Joe Warrior, umpiring a game in Birmingham, AL, on June 24, 1925, was shot to death when he got into an argument with Lizzie Perkins over a call he had made.  His decision caused a general brouhaha and resulted in the game being ended early.  Perkins walked up behind him as he was leaving the field and shot him in the back and then in the head.

Martin Milchling, 18, was fatally beaned during a game in Baltimore, MD, on July 24, 1926.  He was taken to an area hospital where he died later that evening.

David Rourke, former business manager for the Omaha (NE) Rourkes of the Class A Western League, died of heart failure during a game in Des Moines, IA, on August 30, 1927, where he was employed by the Des Moines Demons as their concessionaire and traveling secretary.

Hubert Flaney, 15, was standing near home plate while playing with classmates at Tyner High School in Chattanooga, TN, on October 13, 1927, when he died instantly after being struck on the chest by a bat that slipped from the hands of James Sivley, 17.

William Hipps, 16, was struck on the head by a thrown ball during a game in Greenville, TN, on April 13, 1928.  The youngster continued to play for two more innings before he fell unconscious.  He died four hours later from his injury.


Joseph Lefkowicz, 14, died after he was struck on his left temple by a pitched ball during a sandlot game in Muncie, IN, on April 19, 1930.

Felipe Carrera, 45, umpiring a game in Victoria, TX, in mid-July 1931, was shot in the stomach by 21-year-old player Ramon De Leon over a disputed call.  Shots were also fired at De Leon’s two brothers during the resulting melee.  De Leon was arrested and charged with murder when Carrera passed away on July 17.

D. A. Daves, 70, was umpiring a game in Lawrence, NB, on August 15, 1932, when in the seventh inning he suddenly died from unidentified causes.

Walter Brewster Bennie, 47, suffered a heart attack and died on May 26, 1937, while attending a Class A1 Southern Association game in Nashville, TN, between the local Vols and the Atlanta (GA) Crackers.

George P. Dahl, 20, collided with a teammate while both were pursuing a flyball in the outfield during a game between companies in Minneapolis, MN, on July 23, 1937.  The blow broke his neck, resulting in his death a short time later.


Harold Knight, 31, died in the hospital several hours after being struck on the head by a pitched ball while at bat during an industrial league game in Richmond, IN, on August 6, 1945.

Richard H. Smith, 75, died of heart failure in Texarkana, AR, on September 10, 1946, during the first inning of a Class C East Texas League game between the Texarkana Bears and the Tyler (TX) Trojans.

William H. Westervelt, 70, died from a heart attack during a baseball game in York, NE, on September 10, 1946.

John Blahut, 47, was sitting on a wall watching a Class A game in Allentown, PA, on September 1, 1948, when he suddenly became ill, dying before he reached a local hospital.


Joseph A. Gajdos, 13, died in a Passaic, NJ, hospital on June 29, 1961, after he was struck on the head by a ball during an East Rutherford (NJ) Babe Ruth League game.

With his team at bat, Frederick E. Barocco Jr., 18, was standing on second base during a July 17, 1966, game at Audubon Park in New Orleans, LA, when he was struck and killed instantly by a bolt of lightning.  The umpires were in the process of calling the game when the incident occurred.  Three other people were slightly injured by the same bolt but were not hospitalized.


Robert J. Henkel, 14, squared off to bunt during a Little League practice game in Hartland, WI, on June 19, 1975, when a pitched ball struck him over his heart.  He stood stunned for a few seconds before collapsing.  He was declared dead on arrival at an area hospital.


Jack M. Fiquette, 40, was killed in Cobb County, GA, by a foul ball while watching a game on July 7, 1984. He was standing outside the fence and was struck behind his left ear.


Zacharie Schaubhut, 15, was pitching during a game in Bemidji, MN, on May 24, 2015, when he was struck by a batted ball.  The youngster was taken to a local hospital before being airlifted to a hospital in Fargo, ND.  He passed away later that same day.

Ten-year-old Lane Rodgers was one among a group of youngsters playing in a 76-team baseball tournament in Tupelo, MS, on June 13, 2015, when heavy storms struck the area.  As he and others ran for the safety of a nearby concession stand, a large limb fell and struck him on the back of his head just as he was passing under a tree.  One of the parents who was a physician administered CPR until paramedics arrived and took the child to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Kaiser Carlile, 9, bat boy for the Liberal (KS) Bee Jays, an amateur team playing in the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, KS, was struck on the head by a bat swung in practice during a game on August 1, 2015.  Although the child was wearing a batting helmet, the blow resulted in his death the following day.

Sixty-year-old Gregory Murrey tumbled from the upper deck at Turner Field during the seventh inning of an Atlanta Braves game against the New York Yankees on August 29, 2015.  Murray, who fell some 40 feet into the seating area behind home plate, was administered CPR before he was rushed to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.


On May 17, 2017, Rick Garrity, 42, died from head injuries he sustained in a fall at Wrigley Field as he was leaving the stadium about 11:00 p.m. the evening before.  According to police, Mr. Garrity was attempting to climb the 36-inch-high handrail along the ramp leading from the right field upper deck seating area when he fell backwards, striking his head on the concrete walkway below.  Witnesses reported that the victim was holding a red cup in one hand as he climbed the railing.  Police stated that Mr. Garrity was sober at the time of the incident.  The Cook County medical examiners office ruled his death an accident.

Posted by: Bob Gorman | November 18, 2021

Correction to Death at the Ballpark

Raymond “Pete” Mann, third baseman for Macon (GA) Peaches, was killed when struck below his heart by a pitched ball in a game against the Asheville (NC) Tourists on July 13, 1927. His age and place of birth listed on page 33 of Death at the Ballpark incorrectly gives his age as 20 and his home town as Terre Haute, IN. He was actually 27 years old at the time of his death and was from West Terre Haute, IN. Thanks go to James Mann for providing the correct information.

Posted by: Bob Gorman | October 20, 2021

Woman and Child Die in Fall at Petco Park

Raquel Wilkins, 40, and her two-year-old son, Denzel Browning-Wilkins, died in a fall at Petco Park in San Diego, CA, shortly before a game between the San Diego Padres and the Atlanta Braves on September 25, 2021. According to witnesses, Ms. Wilkins was holding her child while standing on the bench of a picnic table when she fell over a nearby railing on the third-level concourse, landing on the sidewalk along Tony Gwynn Drive nearly six stories below. Police later ruled the deaths a suicide and a homicide.

Posted by: Bob Gorman | February 6, 2020

Roger Maris Book Now Available

My book on Roger Maris and the 1961 season has just been published.  Copies can be ordered from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or directly from the publisher, McFarland (

Posted by: Bob Gorman | August 15, 2019

Man Dies During Taco-Eating Contest

Dana Andrew Hutchings, 41, began choking during a taco-eating contest held at a Fresno Grizzlies game on August 14.  Stadium medical staff attended to the man who had food lodged in his throat, but he passed away about 30 minutes later.  The team cancelled a championship taco-eating event schedule for Saturday, August 17.

Posted by: Bob Gorman | August 5, 2019

Fan Injuries in 2019

Many thanks to Andy Zlotnick for compiling the following list of incidents

2019 Major League & Minor League Fan Injuries:

This season there have been 15 fans injured at Major League Baseball games and 4 at Minor League games from foul balls or flying bats as reported in the press and on social media.

1.  On March 31, a 21–month-old girl was struck by a Bryce Harper foul ball at a Phillies game. Lily DiWilliams was struck on the right side of her head in the fifth inning and was taken to Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. A CT scan came back negative but she suffered from tissue swelling.

2  .On May 25th, Christi Milledge was hit in the face and lost several of her teeth when she was hit sitting in left field box seats past third base at a Charlotte Knights game against the Durham Bulls. She lost consciousness and was transported by medics to Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center for emergency treatment. She received stitches both inside and outside her mouth, had a dental implant and sustained a concussion.

3.  On May 29th, in a moment that galvanized national attention once again on the danger in stadiums, a small child was injured and hospitalized when a sharply hit line drive off the bat of Albert Almora, Jr. struck her in the head at a game between the Astros and the Cubs at Minute Maid Park. She was seated just past the visitor’s dugout down the left-field line where there is no protective netting. Astros catcher Robinson Chirinos turned his head away. Almora took several steps toward his dugout, then dropped to his knees. He had to be consoled by Manager Joe Maddon and his teammate Jason Heyward as the girl, who had a yellow bow in her hair and was crying, was carried away for treatment. girl sustained a skull fracture, bleeding on the brain and seizures according to a lawyer hired by her family.

4.  On May 31st, a child was hit in the in the face and his eye was swollen shut at a Biloxi Shuckers game against the Tennessee Smokies. The child was hospitalized with an orbital blowout fracture requiring surgery.

5.  In early June, a young father lost his eye at a Mariners game in Seattle. He was sitting in left field box seats past third base and the protective netting. The man is a cancer survivor and a military veteran. He had surgery in July to remove the eye. He has been recovering and hasn’t spoken to the press, nor have they reported his story.

6.  On June 1st, a child sitting along the first base line at an Indianapolis Cubs game was hit and treated by EMT personnel before he was taken from the ballpark on a gurney to the hospital.


7.  On June 10th, a woman was struck by a foul ball in the head off the bat of Eloy Jimenez at a White Sox/Nationals game at Guaranteed Rate Field. She was bleeding around the head and hospitalized. https://chicag/


8.  On June 14th, Traci Nabors had her jaw broken in 3 spots when she was hit by a foul ballwhile sitting down the third base line at an Astros game at Minute Maid Park. She alsosuffered a broken tooth. She was wheeled out to the medical room at the ballpark and taken to a hospital where her jaw was wired shut. “I look at it and it could have killed me,” she said. “I don’t know many people who can get out of the way of a ball going that fast.”


9.  On June 17th, a young boy was struck in the head by a foul ball off the bat of Starling Castro at a Cardinals game against the Marlins at Busch Stadium.


10.  Also on June 17th, an older man was hit in the face by a Jason Kipnis “rocket foul ball” at an Indians game against the Rangers at Global Life Park. He was treated by medical personnel and escorted out of the ballpark.


11.  On June 23rd, Cody Bellinger “smoked a foul ball down the first base line” at a Dodgers game against the Rockies at Dodger Stadium. The ball struck 13 year-old Kaitlyn Salazarwho was hit in the head and she was taken out on a stretcher and hospitalized.


12.  On June 29th, Matthew Dherbes was hit in the ribs by a line drive foul ball struck by Seattle’s Kyle Seager. The ball bounced off a seat at an Astros game against the Mariners at Minute Maid Park. He reported being sore but alright.


13.  On July 13th, a woman received immediate medical attention after being struck in the head by a foul ball in the top of the third inning at Fenway Park in a game between the Red Sox and the Dodgers.


14.  On July 14th, the Royals organization says it will once again “continue to evaluate” safety measures at Kauffman Stadium after a fan was hit in the head by a foul ball over the weekend. The fan was a young girl who was hit by a foul ball off the bat of Detroit Tigers outfielder Christin Stewart in the seventh inning of Sunday’s game. Medical staff could be seen tending to the girl after the incident. She was conscious and talking to the medical staff. “There was a little kid, kinda got smoked in the face a little bit, was crying. Game kind of stopped for a little bit,” said Royals catcher Cam Gallagher. “Tough to watch.”


15.  On July 20th, the Rays’ Joey Wendle lined a foul ball that hit a woman at TropicanaField in the left field seats. The foul ball soared around the protective netting, deflected off a barrier and struck the woman on the right side of her forehead. She was taken out of the stadium in a wheelchair for further treatment. One TropicanaField employee “noted that he sees incidents like this about a half a dozen times every year.


16.  On July 21st, for the second night in a row at Tampa’s Tropicana Field, Avisail Garcia lost his bat sending it sailing over the protective netting and into the stands striking Robert Lyons. “It flew over the net and was moving so fast,” Lyons said. “There was no way I was going to stand up and grab it.” Lyons was unhurt.


17.  On July 20th a child was sent to the hospital after being struck by a foul ball at the Indians game at Progressive Field. Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor was at-bat in the sixth inning when he hit a foul ball into the crowd just past the edge of the netting by first base, which then struck the boy. Lindor looked distraught as he took an extra few minutes before heading back to the plate. The boy was transported to a nearby hospital by private transport. “It sucks. I encourage every MLB team to put the nets all the way down. I know it’s all about the fans’ experience of interacting with players and I completely get that. You want to have that interaction with the fans, getting autographs and stuff, but at the end of the day we want to make sure everybody comes out of this game healthy and we gotta do something about it.” Lindor said. “It sucks. Everybody feels bad, and if we can put the nets a little bit further down I think it wouldbe a lot better.”


18.  On July 27th a fan was struck in the face by a foul ball during a Royals game against the Indian at Kauffman Stadium. The woman was sitting beyond the netting — which extends just to the dugouts — and was drilled in the face after Indians outfielder Greg Allen hit foul into the stands during the seventh inning. Event and medical staff rushed to the woman, who could be seen bleeding and holding her face.



19.  On July 30th, Tonni Cannady was struck in the head and suffered a concussion when a bat sailed over the dugout and past protective netting at an Oklahoma City Dodgers minor le ague game. “I saw something coming and tried to get out of its way, but I couldn’t,” she said. “It’ s the hardest thing I have been hit with by anything.” She was taken a nearby hospital and received staples in her scalp for lacerations.

Teams That Have Extended Protective Netting:   Chicago White Sox, Washington Nationals, Cleburne Railroaders, Lincoln Salt Dogs, Kane County Cougars, Ft. Wayne Tin Caps, Burlington Bees, Quad Cities River Bandits, El Paso Chihuahuas

Teams That Have Announced Extending Protective Netting:   Kansas City Royals – Perhaps this Season, Texas Rangers – 2020 Season, Baltimore Orioles – 2020 Season, Pittsburgh Pirates – No date announced yet, Los Angeles Dodgers – August 2019, Wichita Baby Cakes – 2020 Season, Fresno Grizzlies – 2020 Season, Round Rock Express – 2020 Season, Iowa Cubs – 2020 season

Posted by: Bob Gorman | July 16, 2019

Where Are the Most Dangerous Seats in the Ballpark?

All major league ballparks have now extended their protective netting to at least the far ends of their dugouts; a few have extended them even further.  The assumption is that fans seated in the most dangerous areas are now protected from screaming line drives and pinwheeling bats.  As recent fan injuries have tragically demonstrated, that assumption is a false one.  Spectators are still being struck by balls and bats at an alarming rate.  A recent study by conclusively proved that those field-level sections immediately beyond the dugouts – areas that are still unprotected in most stadiums – are indeed the most dangerous.  Researchers looked at 906 foul balls in ten major league venues and here is what they found:

The scariest foul balls are those with high exit velocities, particularly the line drives, which give spectators only seconds — or fractions of a second — to react. Statcast was able to measure exit velocities for 580 of the 906 foul balls in our data set, and most of the hardest-hit of those 580 landed in areas that are primarily unprotected. Of the fly balls with recorded exit velocities of 90 mph or higher, 71.8 percent landed in zones 4 and 5 (see diagram below).  And all of the line drives that left the bat at 90 mph or more landed in those same zones.

It is long past time for MLB and MiLB to do the right thing by their fans and extend the netting all the way to the foul poles.  Anything less is unconscionable.

Posted by: Bob Gorman | April 10, 2019

Baseball Coach and Wife Electrocuted

Corey Crum, 39, Liberty County (FL) High School baseball coach and his wife, Shana Crum, 41, were both electrocuted on March 10, 2019, while installing a new scoreboard on the school’s baseball field in Bristol.  He was operating a boom lift when it came into contact with nearby powerlines.  His wife was electrocuted when she came to the aid of her husband.  Their 14-year-old son was also injured, but survived the accident.

Posted by: Bob Gorman | February 18, 2019

Dodgers Fan Killed by Foul Ball

Linda Goldbloom, 78, was seated with her husband in the loge level just to the first-base side of home plate during an August 25, 2018, game at Dodger Stadium when a sharply-hit foul ball in the top of ninth inning flew just over the top of the protective screening, striking her on the head.  She was rushed to an area hospital where she remained in a coma until her death on August 29.  The cause of death was listed as “acute intracranial hemorrhage due to history of blunt force trauma.”  Hers was the second recorded fatality in the major leagues due to a foul ball.  The first was also at Dodger Stadium.  On May 16, 1970, 14-year-old Alan Fish was struck on his head by a foul ball off the bat of Manny Mota; he youngster passed away on the afternoon of May 20.

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