Fan sues the Red Sox following injuries due to a foul ball

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A fan named Stephanie Taubin is suing the Boston Red Sox for injuries sustained after she was hit in the head by a foul ball at a game in Fenway Park on June 17, 2014.

Taubman alleges in her complaint that she sustained facial fractures and neurological damage when the ball struck her in a section of the seats which was is normally protected by glass but which had been removed for park renovations. As a result, she alleges, she was “at greater risk of foul balls entering that [section] of Fenway Park.”

Ballpark operators have typically had a safe harbor that shields them from liability in such instances. It’s called “The Baseball Rule,” and it’s a legal doctrine which underpins those little “we’re not liable for you getting injured by flying balls and bats” disclaimers on the back of your ticket. The rule has been challenged more and more in recent years. It’s still the majority rule across U.S. jurisdictions, but in 2013, for example, an Idaho court refused to adopt it in the case of a man injured by a foul ball and allowed a jury to decide whether the ballpark owner acted reasonably based on the facts and circumstances of the case rather than to simply dismiss it per The Baseball Rule.

This one could be different too, given the removal of a protective device that is normally in place. A judge could very well decide that the Red Sox, by erecting the protection, acknowledged some level of risk there deeming it necessary and that by taking it away and still allowing people to sit there was legally unreasonable.

In other news, that lawsuit against baseball over protective netting is still floating around out there. And, as reported the other night, baseball is investigating steps to expand fan protections with more netting.

I would expect that, within a relatively short period of time, ballparks are going to look somewhat different than they do today.

Astros’ Verlander to have elbow surgery, miss rest of season

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Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner announced the news Saturday on his Instagram account in a 1½-minute video.

“In my simulated game a couple days ago, I felt something in my elbow, and after looking at my MRI and conversing with some of the best doctors in the world, we’ve determined that Tommy John surgery is my best option,” Verlander said.

He threw to hitters on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in the team’s opener on July 24. He threw 50 pitches in the bullpen before throwing about 25 pitches to hitters in two simulated innings.

“I tried as hard as I could to come back and play this season,” Verlander said. “Unfortunately, my body just didn’t cooperate.”

Verlander has been on the injured list with a right forearm strain. He went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 2019.

“Obviously, this is not good news,” Verlander said. “However, I’m going to handle this the only way I know how. I’m optimistic. I’m going to put my head down, work hard, attack this rehab and hopefully, come out the other side better for it.

“I truly believe everything that everything happens for a reason, and although 2020 has sucked, hopefully, when this rehab process is all said and done, this will allow me to charge through the end of my career and be healthy as long as I want and pitch as long as I want and accomplish some of the goals that I want in my career.”