Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Lightning Strikes

I sheepishly admit I saw it 37 years apart, but it struck more than once in my Globe:

"Fan’s injury puts focus on hazards at ballparks; Woman struck by broken bat is in serious condition" by Laura Krantz, Kathy McCabe and Michael Vega Globe Staff  June 06, 2015

A woman struck and seriously injured by a shattered baseball bat at the Red Sox game remained hospitalized and in serious condition Saturday night, an incident that terrified her family and raised larger questions about safety at Fenway and other ballparks where fans are seated close to the action.

Happened Friday night. I read the link, and it's the never-ending screaming that would have been most remembered by me.

The injury did not deter fans from filling seats at the ball park Saturday afternoon, but it renewed discussion over whether nets that protect fans behind home plate should be extended farther toward the dugouts.

That question has provoked controversy in the past and was raised when the seats near where Tonya Carpenter, 44, of Paxton, sat were installed about 13 years ago, narrowing the already scant foul ground between the stands and the batter’s box.

Carpenter was at the game Friday night with her 8-year-old son, Aidan, and her former boss at Liberty Construction, according to Matthew Carpenter, her ex-brother-in-law.

“We’re all praying for her,” Matthew Carpenter, 44, said by telephone from his home in Holden on Saturday afternoon.

Tonya Carpenter is divorced from his brother, George, he said.

George Carpenter drove from his home in Rutland on Friday night to Beth Israel Deaconness Hospital, where she was admitted, after being notified of the incident, his brother said.

Carpenter’s family called her condition serious in a statement that asked for privacy as she recovers in the hospital.

“Tonya’s family and loved ones are grateful to all who have reached out with thoughts and prayers,” the statement said.

Matthew Carpenter said he learned about the accident Saturday morning through calls and text messages from his many siblings, most of whom live in the Worcester area.

I do “pray for her, and hope [the kid] isn’t too traumatized from [what was] like lightning striking, you know?’’


Red Sox player David Ortiz said on Saturday that he tells fans who sit close to the field to pay attention.

“I’m always telling them, ‘Watch the game, watch the game,’ because anything can happen, especially when you’re that close,’’ Ortiz said. “There’s no net and what happened [Friday] night, I’ve been playing this game a long time and I don’t ever remember seeing somebody get injured that bad.”

Oh, no. Is the hero who said this is our f***ing city and is a local legend (despite diminishing skill) blaming the victim there? 

The issue of whether to extend netting to protect fans has been controversial for years. The up-close feel of the baseball park is part of what makes it attractive.

“Part of the reason we love baseball is because it’s so intimate,” said Ed Comber, owner of the website, where he compiles statistics, lawsuits, and other research about stray balls.

Yeah, right? Someone ask that Bartman guy from Chicago how intimate it is.

An average of 45 foul balls are hit per game at Fenway, and of those, 30 travel into the stands, Comber said. Of those, about half are tossed by players or bat boys and the other half are hit.

Recently, more fans have been hit because they were distracted by their cellphones, Comber said.

Yeah, that is blaming the victim even as they indulge in what is being pushed by the propaganda pre$$. I know people who are addicted to those phones. They panic when they misplace it.

“Paying attention is really just the easiest way to avoid any serious injury,” Comber said.

Safety consultant Chris Miranda offered an opposing view, saying nets are an easy way to make games safer.


 Janet Marie Smith told the Globe in 2003, when she was the senior vice president of planning and development in charge of stadium decisions for the Sox, “We’re seeking a balance between creating intimacy and creating safe conditions. You could protect yourself to death. You could stay home and watch the game on television, and you’d be absolutely safe.”

I will. 

It's like the great NSA debate, huh?


Anyhow, the team is looking better, but I suppose that is easy when you are playing the only team worse than yourself. 

Lightning did strike a thirdfourth, and fifth time even:

"Authorities in Germany say 33 people have been hurt after lightning struck a rock festival in western Germany overnight. The Rock am Ring festival in Mendig was hit by two lightning strikes Saturday. Police and organizers said eight people from production teams were injured when the first strike hit the backstage area at 1 a.m. Just before 4 a.m., lightning hit the camp area; another 25 people were hurt."

I made a lightning quick decision when I decided to pass on that pick. Sorry.

This may be all you get today, readers (lightning striking twice in two days, if you will). I'm going to be working on getting other things ready for you (yeah, right).


"‘Baseball Rule’ protects ballparks from lawsuits; Owners not liable for injuries" by Jan Ransom Globe Staff  June 07, 2015

Whether fans in the stands know it or not, they cheer on their baseball teams at their own risk.

A roughly century-old so-called Baseball Rule states that stadium owners and operators are not responsible for injuries sustained by foul balls or pieces of shattered bats, so long as netted or screened seats are in place for a reasonable number of spectators. The onus is on the fans to be alert during the game.

I knew it. Was her fault.

“That is a longstanding legal principle that fans who chose to sit where balls or shards of bat could hit them have a duty to pay attention for their own safety,” said Steven A. Adelman, a sports attorney focusing on venue safety. “It’s harsh and old-fashioned,” said Adelman, noting the rule appears to apply in Tonya Carpenter’s case.

Or, put another way, the gamble is simply the price of fandom.

The risks of injuries in the stands from errant bats or balls “are an unavoidable — even desirablepart of the joy that comes with being close enough to the Great American Pastime. 

I didn't swing at that third strike (blog editor speechless).


Signs throughout the stadium alert fans to the dangers of the game. Ticket stubs also warn fans to beware:

The Baseball Rule was devised in the early part of the 20th century when baseball was played at a much slower pace, said Martin W. Healy, chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Bar Association.

The game has changed.

Fans can now sit closer to the field – and in most areas of a stadium – without the obstruction of a net or screen, and feel as if they are a part of the game. Thrown or batted balls rip through the air at quicker speeds and baseball bats once made of ash are now often made of maple, which players prefer, but which have led to serious injuries not only to fans, but to pitchers and infielders as well.

“The Baseball Rule is ripe for change,” said Healy. “The immunity the baseball rule has provided to baseball has to be tossed out.”

But Sox fans attending a game Sunday said they were aware of the rule — and for the most part were fine with it....

Ramirez's bat shattered in the bottom of the first yesterday and headed in the same direction. No mention of where it landed by announcers.

I, too, am in favor of the rule. I'm in favor of anything that will exempt elite institutions or people from harm. Wake up to the world we live in and get your head out of the cellphone.


Oh, my, she was an absolutely gorgeous woman and mother, too.

Yeah, think I will politely skip an invitation if asked to go to a Bo$ton Red Sox ball game next time. It's too dangerous.

UPDATE: Woman injured by bat at Fenway released from hospital.... taken to an unnamed rehabilitation center.

Also seeMLB teams should pay for fan injuries