Nothing but Net: Lawsuit Seeks Safety Netting for MLB Ballparks

On Monday, July 13, Oakland Athletics season-ticket holder Gail Payne filed a federal lawsuit seeking to force Major League Baseball to extend the safety netting at each of the ballparks.  The lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of all fans who purchase season tickets in currently unprotected areas of MLB ballparks.  It seeks no monetary compensation and instead insists that the league install safety netting from foul pole to foul pole.

Among other arguments, the lawsuit provides examples of serious injuries that have occurred at baseball parks over the years, including disturbing X-rays of a fan who was hit by a shard of a broken bat at Fenway Park last month.  Additionally, it cites to the National Hockey League, which added extensive netting to arenas in 2002 after an errant hockey puck struck and killed a young girl.

Currently, every major league ballpark already has a safety net that exists behind home plate.  However, these nets vary in size and in how much of the grandstand they cover.  Thus far, MLB has responded to requests for extended safety nets by arguing that fans who pay the price for tickets that are closer to the field do not want a net to obstruct their view.

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