Monday July 13th, 2015

A class-action lawsuit filed Monday in San Francisco seeks to compel Major League Baseball to install more protective netting at major- and minor-league ballparks. 

The suit, filed by baseball season ticket holders, alleges that commissioner Rob Manfred and MLB have failed to take necessary steps to ensure fan safety at stadiums. The full lawsuit can be read here.

“The lawsuit alleges that tens of millions attend a Major League Baseball game annually, and every year fans of all ages, but often children, suffer horrific and preventable injuries, such as blindness, skull fractures, severe concussions and brain hemorrhages, when they are struck by a fast-moving ball or flying shrapnel from a shattered bat,” the plaintiff’s attorneys said in a press release

The plaintiffs want MLB to install protective netting in every MLB-affiliated stadium that extends from foul pole to foul pole by the start of the 2016 season. 

In June, a woman attending a Boston Red Sox game was hit by a piece of a flying bat and suffered life-threatening injuries, though she did survive and was released from the hospital after a week. Another woman attending a game at Fenway last weekend was hit with a foul ball and received more than 30 stitches in her forehead

Protective netting does not ensure fan safety, however. A woman seated behind home plate at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park in April was hit in the head by a foul ball and spent one day in a hospital.

- Dan Gartland

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