We’ve talked for years about the dangers of foul balls in ballparks We have argued at length for the extension of protective netting to prevent those injuries from occurring and we have taken Major League Baseball and its clubs to task for dragging their feet from mandating such safety measures. Yes, greater protection has been provided in fits and starts, but usually only as a reactive thing following a particularly high-profile injury, usually to a small child.
This “we’ll act when there’s some bad press” stance has always struck us as inadequate, but an NBC News investigation released today reveals just how inadequate it truly is. The injuries, which we think of as happening once every year or two, are far more frequent and far more serious than the league and its clubs like to acknowledge:
An NBC News investigation found at least 808 reports of injuries to fans from baseballs from 2012 to 2019. The injuries include concussions and permanent vision loss.
And no, this information did not come from the league, which still doesn’t want to even talk about the issue:
Major League Baseball, along with the 30 teams declined NBC News’ requests for information about the number of incidents and injuries at their ballparks. Some teams said they don’t track that data, others said it was a privacy issue.
The NBC News tally is based on lawsuits, news reports, social media postings and information from the contractors that provide first aid stations at MLB stadiums.
Go read the whole thing. And then ask yourself if getting a foul ball is worth it.