Fans Put at Risk in Foul Ball Territory | News | HMG LLP

Home plate hazards putting fans at risk?

August 31, 2017

A day at the ballpark is supposed to be fun, but some Major League fans say they feel uneasy in the stands. They want the league to install more protective netting in front of fans sitting in foul ball territory.

One of the best saves to happen at Petco Park happened Tuesday when a splintered bat was stopped short of fans by a protective net behind home plate.

Incidents like this are common in baseball and it's not just bats, but balls as well which can fly into the stands at 100 miles per hour.

Last week a foul ball nearly hit a father but he was saved by his 10-year-old son. It was a great play, but many others haven't been so lucky.

"I heard the crack of the bat, I saw the ball and it hit me all in a split second. I barely had time to process what was coming," says Stephanie Wapenski, a Red Sox fan.

The line drive slammed right into Stephanie last Friday at Fenway Park. A month earlier, in the same part of the stands, Tonya Carpenter suffered life threatening injuries after being hit in the face by a broken bat.

Due to incidents like these, Major League Baseball's Commissioner Rob Manfred is now facing a lawsuit. Bob Hillard is co-council with the law firm that filed it on behalf of season ticket holders and he says that the MLB has failed to act.

"You can be staring right at the batter and there's absolutely nothing you can do if that ball is coming at your head except hope that you survive and that you're not going to be killed," says Bob Hillard.

One measure that the lawsuit is asking for is "requiring the MLB to retrofit existing Major League and Minor League indoor and outdoor ballparks to extend protective netting from the foul post by the beginning of the 2016-2017 MLB season.â€

They point to Tuesday's game at Petco Park as proof that the netting is effective. Commissioner Manfred says they are looking at ways to protect fans.

"They include things like additional bat regulations, wrapping of bats and increased netting," says Manfred.

Baseball fans like Stephanie hope something changes soon.

"I was on the other side once too and just assumed if you got hit you must not have been paying attention. Now I know better. Sometimes these balls just come so quickly even when you're watching it as I was, it doesn't make a difference," says Stephanie.


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