One minute, the lady was watching the game, and the next minute, a baseball was headed towards her, hitting her in the face. Her nose was split open all the way to the cartilage of her nose. In addition, the impact also impacted her lip below her nose and through her gums. Through the help of a skilled plastic surgeon, her mouth and nose were successfully put together. What remains are some dental work to repair some chipped teeth.
It remains to be seen that serious injuries like these are still highly probable, despite the use of protective netting. While there is a need to extend the protective netting, perhaps a more thorough look at what protective measures should be put in place for fans watching baseball.
Although officials and other staff have tried to gather information to understand further the where, the what, the who, the why, and the how, how much of this information is actually useful. According to a 2014 analysis done by Bloomberg, there are approximately 1,750 people who are injured at MLB games every year. This surely provides a wealth of information that can protect the fans more – more than the usual netting.
While minimal information has been provided publicly during the occurrence of such injuries, some comments received from executives were that teams are already informed about the risk of injuries. In addition, some victims have received blame – such as the Jacobson family – for bringing a child to the game while seating quite close to the field. In addition, baseball has an “assumption of risk doctrine” which has effectively shielded teams from facing the consequences of the risk that fans face when attending the games.
However, the question should not revolve around why those who were injured did not have any protection. They are fans after all, wouldn’t they want to be able to enjoy their favorite team and players as best as they can?
Some people who defend the “no net” policy have stated that the net prevents fans from enjoying the game fully. However, the truth is that with the new improvements in technology, the nets that are used now are barely noticeable – even for those who are seated relatively close. So, there is actually reason not to use the protective net.
The following questions remain: How high exactly should the nets be? How much farther should the nets extend? And what other preventive measures could be used in order to protect the fans? What points remain regarding the placing of nets?
As it is, there is still limited information that is publicly available apart from the periodic coverage of these occurrences. Perhaps a more active information drive and analysis should be provided in order to prevent further accidents from happening.