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Foul Ball and Splintered Bat

I went to my first major league baseball game when I was nine. The Baltimore Orioles played the Chicago White Sox. I sat so far up in the grandstand area that everyone on the field looked like Ant-Man.

As a typical nine-year-old, I was excited about the game… and the cotton candy and sodas… and the caramel popcorn.  All of it. However, what made a lasting impression was a towering pop fly. The third baseman settled under it and waited and waited. All of sudden, he missed it and it landed on his face.

I decided to look it up on the internet to find out who it was and if my memory was correct. I found it! I couldn’t believe that I found it. Here’s the description from

On a relatively routine pop-up at Baltimore‘s Memorial Stadium, he (Bill Melton) lost the ball in the lights at the last moment. The ball caromed off the heel of his glove and into his face, breaking his nose. Melton was knocked unconscious for a minute or two before being taken off the field on a stretcher. “There was blood coming out of both nostrils,” Orioles first baseman Boog Powell told Jerome Holtzman, “and it was coming out of his mouth, too.”

I mean seriously, I will never forget it. Injury by baseball.

The next season, I went to another Orioles game with our church. I bought a pennant that had a picture of the entire team. I now have it framed and hanging in my workout room.

If you look closely at that framed pennant, you can see that the pointed edge is brown. That’s because during the game I had it sitting off the grandstand bench, and someone spilled some dark soda on it.  That coke spill is a part of my framed memory!

I don’t remember much about that game but I do remember that a ball was hit into the stands. Soon, a bunch of people surrounded a person.  I couldn’t see much from where I was sitting… except that again, there was injury by a baseball.

This past week, a lawsuit was filed  (NY Times) which seeks to mandate that Major League Baseball do more to protect fans from foul balls and  bats that go into the stands.

The lawsuit would require stadiums to add netting far down the first- and third-base lines.  The lead plaintiff in the case is an Oakland A’s fan who alleges that her seats were are not properly protected.

This lawsuit was filed in the Federal Court in Northern California and cites a 2014 study by Bloomberg News that reports that at least 1,750 spectators were injured annually at M.L.B. games. If the judge certifies the class, then any season-ticket holder who sits in an unprotected area along the first- and third-base lines would be part of that class. A lawsuit about injury by baseball… and splintered bat.

And for pic o’ day from Amy M, this is classic selfie!


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