Fans remain in danger of high-speed foul balls at many MLB stadiums where netting does not protect fans including children who are seated seconds away from impact.
Foul Ball Safety Now, the campaign founded by lifetime baseball fan Jordan Skopp to raise awareness about fan safety, released a study today on the status of protective netting at Major League Baseball’s (MLB’s) 30 ballparks – along with an analysis of how well the league communicates the risks of foul ball injuries and the whereabouts of netting to fans visiting MLB.com for stadium information. Foul Ball Safety Now first conducted an analysis in 2021. This year’s follow-up study, released on Opening Day 2022, indicates that:
- Fans remain in danger of high-speed foul balls at many MLB stadiums where netting does not protect fans including children who are seated seconds away from impact.
- Individual MLB stadiums continue to fail to communicate, and sometimes even diminish, important information about the dangers of being hit by foul balls and the status of protective netting at their ballparks.
- MLB.com advertises an official MLB Ballpark app that fans can use while visiting MLB ballparks, further creating potential fan distraction during the game.Some highlights from the study:
- All MLB online ticket purchasing is handled through Ticketmaster.com which includes no information on which seats are protected by netting.
- Some MLB.com team websites contain a page with information on netting that is not linked to within the main menus that a fan typically uses to navigate these sites for information. FoulBallSafetyNow only discovered the existence of these pages by manually typing in the URL to include the word netting, e.g. https://www.mlb.com/yankees/ballpark/netting.
- Only 1 MLB.com team website provides information prominently about the height of the safety netting.
- Atlanta Braves seating chart says: “Height of netting is 31.5 feet.”
- Dodger Stadium, home to the two known fan fatalities from foul balls in MLB history, including Linda Goldbloom who was killed in 2018 by a foul ball that hit her while she was seated in the loge section, raised their netting higher a year after that incident, but notably still does not provide any written description about the status of netting on their website. A page dedicated to listing Dodger stadium upgrades over the years never mentions netting improvements. A page dedicated to “fan safety” never mentions foul balls.
A similar analysis of Minor League ballparks is under way and results will be announced soon.
Jordan Skopp, founder of Foul Ball Safety Now, which hosts public petitions addressed to legislators, governors, and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred demanding immediate action to protect fans, says the MLB is still not doing their job when it comes to fan safety.
“The MLB continues to ignore the moral imperative to protect their customers, and this analysis shows that the situation remains a dangerous mess. More and more fans will be returning to stadiums throughout MLB and the minor leagues this summer, and their lives are still in danger due to this ongoing failure to inform,” said Skopp.
About Foul Ball Safety Now
Foul Ball Safety Now! is a campaign started by Jordan Skopp, a Brooklyn realtor, lifelong baseball fan, and author of a forthcoming book about the wildly overlooked scandal in the professional baseball industry – the all-too-frequent incidence of fans being maimed by dangerous foul balls due to the lack of extended protective netting, and related failures to educate fans about their assumed risk at the ballgame. For more information, visit Foul Ball Safety Now https://www.foulballsafetynow.com/