Baseball-related injuries and death have taken over the new outlets the past few weeks. Beginning with the season-opening brutal beating at Dodger’s stadium and followed up by the tragic death of a fan at Texas stadium, America’s favorite pastime is quickly becoming America’s biggest injury risk. Whether or not stadiums, owners and teams should face liability is a minor inquiry under the major premise begging the question why so many spectators and fans are being injured at games this year.
We urge sports fans to exercise the same amount of prudence and reasonable behavior they would in any other area of life. It is understandable that fans will reach for a fly ball or assert minor aggressiveness to win out on a pop fly, but one fan at this week’s Home Run Derby placed baseball spectatorship in an unjustifiable impure light as he stretched the limits far beyond what a respectable fan should do in order to catch a home run hit. Especially in light of all the tragedies surrounding injuries and death associated with the MLB.
As his brother and friends held him by his legs, this fan proceeded to hang his entire body off a railing to try and catch his third home run baseball within the span of one derby. Fans cheered him on as he attempted pitch after pitch but what he didn’t realize is that his actions closely mirrored, almost mocked, those of recently-killed Texas Rangers fan who fell to his death reaching for a ball tossed into the stands by an outfielder. The derby fan irreverently stated to the media “I’ve lived a good life….” in response to questions as to why he would risk the safety of himself and others for the sake of a home run hit. When the fan wasn’t dangling from the railing, he could be seen standing on tables reserved eating in attempt to out stretch any other fan.
The earlier tragedy we are referring to involved a 39-year old firefighter from Texas who was attending a game versus the Oakland A’s in Dallas last week. An outfielder tossed a foul ball into the stands and in reaching for the souvenir, the victim toppled twenty feet over the railing and fell to his death on the concrete below. His six-year old son looked on as his father was pronounced dead shortly upon arrival at a nearby hospital.
One can never be too careful, even when enjoying an innocent summer activity like observing a baseball game. Always practice safety and common sense whenever attending a baseball game to help avoid any further tragedies like those suffered by this season’s headlining fans.