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. https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2019/04/01/21-month-old-girl-hit-by-bryce-harper-foul-ball-at-first-ever-phillies-game/#.XKQmsD8HudQ.twitter

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. https://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/mlb/charlotteknights/article231396213.html

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.https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/30/sports/albert-almora-foul-ball-netting.htmlThe girl sustained a skull fracture, bleeding on the brain and seizures according to a lawyer hired by her family.https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/27/sports/foul-ball-houston-girl-hit.html

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.https://www.wlox.com/2019/06/01/foul-ball-fear-growing-coast/

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. https://www.indystar.com/story/news/2019/06/02/child-hospitalized-after-being-hit-foul-ball-during-indians-game-victory-field/1320337001/

 

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/.suntimes.com/white-sox/2019/6/10/18660756/fan-struck-by-foul-ball-at-white-sox-game

 

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.” https://abc13.com/sports/foul-ball-leaves-woman-with-fractured-jaw-at-minute-maid-park/5375957/

 

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.https://fox2now.com/2019/06/17/child-struck-by-foul-ball-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.https://twitter.com/zkmavz/status/1140802196788957185

 

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. https://thebiglead.com/2019/06/23/cody-bellinger-foul-ball-protective-netting-video/

 

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.https://abc13.com/sports/astros-fan-hit-in-ribs-by-foul-ball-during-game/5371921/

 

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. https://whdh.com/news/woman-struck-by-foul-ball-at-red-sox-game/

 

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.”https://www.kctv5.com/news/local_news/royals-again-continue-to-evaluate-safety-after-girl-hit-in/article_

 

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.https://www.tampabay.com/sports/rays/2019/07/20/fans-react-after-woman-struck-by-foul-ball/

 

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.https://www.tampabay.com/sports/rays/2019/07/21/garcias-bat-flies-into-stands-saturday-night-striking-white-sox-fan/

 

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.”https://www.news5cleveland.com/sports/baseball/indians/francisco-lindor-encourages-netting-extensions-after-child-struck-by-foul-ball-at-indians-game

 

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. https://sports.yahoo.com/kansas-city-royals-cleveland-indians-fan-hit-face-foul-ball-extended-netting-021537036.html?soc_src=community&soc_trk=tw

 

 

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.https://www.koco.com/article/what-hit-me-woman-suffers-concussion-after-bat-hits-her-at-okc-dodgers-game/28545004

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 FiveThirtyEight.com 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.

Posted by: Bob Gorman | July 30, 2018

Man Dies in Ballpark Beer Cooler

Todd Keeling, 48, was found dead inside a beer cooler he was installing at SunTrust Park, the Atlanta Braves stadium, on June 26, 2018.  Keeling had been working overnight to install his patented beer-pouring device when his body was discovered by a coworker the next day.  His death is under investigation.

Posted by: Bob Gorman | July 30, 2018

Woman Kills Man with Car on Baseball Field

Carol Sharrow, 51, is accused of manslaughter after she broke through a fence with her car and drove onto a baseball field in Sanford, ME, on June 1, 2018, striking and killing Doug Parkhurst, 68, while a youth baseball game was in progress. In an aside note, Parkhurst had confessed in 2013 to a hit-and-run incident in 1968 in which he killed a 4-year-old girl in Fulton, NY.  There was no apparent connection between the two incidents.

Posted by: Bob Gorman | April 16, 2018

Injured Fans Speak Out

Dina Simpson was attending a minor league ball game in Ohio several years ago when she was struck in the right eye by a foul ball.  The blow caused permanent loss of sight in that eye.  Andy Zlotnick suffered a similar fate when he was struck in the left eye during a New York Yankees game in 2011.  Below are links to recent editorials by both of them in which they advocate for greater fan safety measures at major and minor league baseball parks.  While they acknowledge that organized ball has made some steps toward better protection of fans, both forcefully argue that much more has to be done to ensure that no one needlessly suffer the types of injuries that they sustained.

Dina Simpson’s editorial:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/all-opinions-are-local/wp/2018/04/11/extend-the-netting-at-minor-league-parks-in-maryland/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ff07677af6be

Andy Zlotnick’s editorial:

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/fan-injured-foul-ball-mlb-give-funds-wounded-fans-article-1.3911394

Posted by: Bob Gorman | March 31, 2018

New Examination of the Baseball Rule

Legal scholars Nathaniel Grow and Zachary Flagel recently published an article in the William and Mary Law Review that underscores the antiquated nature of the Baseball Rule.  First, the authors provide “new empirical evidence establishing that the risk of being hit by an errant ball or bat at a professional baseball game has increased considerably in recent years. Specifically, fans attending MLB games today are sitting more than twenty percent closer to the field than they were when the legal doctrine was first established. This fact, along with other changes in the way in which the game is played and presented to fans, have converged to substantially reduce the reaction time that spectators have to protect themselves from flying objects entering the stands, calling into question courts’ continued reliance on the century-old rule.”  Second, they assert “that courts and academic commentators have, to date, failed to reconsider the Baseball Rule in light of the emergence of the law-and-economics movement,” concluding “that future courts (or legislatures) should reject the Baseball Rule and instead hold professional baseball teams liable for spectator injuries.”

For the complete article, see https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3143732.

Posted by: Bob Gorman | March 31, 2018

Juiced Balls and Fan Safety

Whenever their is a surge in home run production, the inevitable question about whether or nor the ball is juiced always comes up.  Such was the case in 1961, for example, when Roger Maris surpassed Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record.  Studies at the time, however, failed to produce any real evidence that the balls were any more livelier than in the past.

With a record-setting 6,105 homers last season – more than at any time during the steroid period – questions have again arisen over the composition of the ball.  Are they juiced in some way?  According to some recent studies, it appears that the ball is indeed livelier than in the recent past.  These investigations “have shown differences in the characteristics of the ball and the way it performs. Research has shown that balls used in games after the 2015 All-Star Game were bouncier and less air resistant compared with baseballs from the 2014 season, when players hit a relatively modest 4,1086 homers, the fewest since 1995.”  As a result of changes in the composition of the ball, they come off the bat at a greater velocity and travel further than they did prior to mid-2015.  These changes combined with the new batting philosophy of increasing launch angle to put more balls in the air means increased danger for fans in the stands.  More balls in the air traveling at faster speeds increases the number fouls and gives spectators even less time to react when a ball is headed their way.

For a report on these studies, see https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/juiced-baseballs/.

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