Georgia Court of Appeals declines to dismiss foul ball lawsuit against Braves

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It was reported back in 2012 that the Braves were sued by the family of a six-year-old girl whose skull was fractured by a foul ball during a game at Turner Field on August 30, 2010. The case is moving forward for now.

According to Bill Rankin of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the Georgia Court of Appeals has declined to dismiss the lawsuit against the team. In addition, they will not adopt “The Baseball Rule,” which is potentially significant.

The rule, already in force in other states, says if a stadium operator provides screening behind home plate — the most dangerous place in the stands — and enough seats for spectators who want to sit there, it cannot be held liable for balls and bats that enter the stands and cause injuries.

The Braves, joined by the office of Major League Baseball’s Commissioner, Bud Selig, had asked the court to impose the rule, which would have essentially rendered the father’s lawsuit null and void.

The appeals court upheld a ruling by Fulton County State Court Judge Patsy Porter who declined to declare the “Baseball Rule” is Georgia law.

“At this stage of this litigation, we find no error in the trial court’s refusal to make such a declaration of law,” wrote Judge Elizabeth Branch for a unanimous three-judge appeals court panel.

The child was struck by a foul ball off the bat of then-Braves outfielder Melky Cabrera while sitting behind the third base dugout. As a result, she fractured her skull in 40 places and suffered a traumatic brain injury. The family believes that the netting should be extended at MLB stadiums due to the danger of batted balls.

Lawsuits such as this one are rarely successful. Still, there has been some momentum against “The Baseball Rule” of late, as the Idaho Supreme Court ruled last year that a man could seek damages after he was hit with a foul ball during a minor league game in 2008 and lost his eye.

When you buy a ticket, you are warned about the dangers of potential batted and thrown balls or broken or thrown bats, but whether children are truly capable of protecting themselves is an important question. Extending the screens along the baselines likely won’t happen, but MLB and teams should do more to warn people about how dangerous it is to sit in these specific areas, especially with how many distractions there are in ballparks these days.

The Giants are looking at Jarrod Dyson for center field

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The Giants, you have have heard, picked up Andrew McCutchen yesterday. As things currently stand, McCutchen is first on the depth chart at center field. That’s probably a placeholder situation, though, because (a) McCutchen really shouldn’t be playing center field anymore; and (b) the Giants know he shouldn’t be playing center field anymore. I mean, if an evil genie appeared and told Bruce Bochy he’d be granted any wish he wanted, but the price of it would be that McCutchen HAS to be his center fielder, I’m sure everyone would make do, but it’s not an ideal situation.

To that end, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN is reporting that the Giants have free agent Jarrod Dyson in their sights. Jon Jay and Cameron Maybin are considered some backup options.

Dyson is obviously a superior defender, and he has some wheels too. The bat is no great shakes — he’s never been even a league average hitter in terms of OPS+ — but you can put up with the .251/.324/.350 with five homers and 30 RBI he posted in 2017 if you’re getting good leather in the spacious AT&T Park outfield. He’ll steal you some bases too, having swiped 28 in 111 games for the Mariners last season.

The big splash move would be to go get Lorenzo Cain, but that’ll cost the Giants, who are already near the luxury tax threshold, some more money. Dyson may be a better fit in light of that.