Galleries

HYSTERIA RIGHT OFF THE BAT

Tonya Carpenter is going to be okay.

But, that won’t stop the hysteria.

Carpenter is the 44 year-old woman who was rushed to the hospital after being seriously injured when Oakland A’s third baseman Brett Lawrie’s bat broke and flew into the stands at Fenway Park in Boston.

Initially, the injury was described as life threatening, but her condition was upgraded to fair within a day or two.

It took less time for the media to start calling for Major League Baseball to install nets at all its ballparks.

We’ve had several days of discussion about how dangerous it is for fans at MLB games.

But is it, really?

I admit to being amazed that more people sitting in the field level seats along both lines aren’t seriously injured more often.

The fact that fans have been willing to sit in those seats for the last 100 years or so is proof that it just doesn’t happen that often.

Since big crowds started showing up at baseball games, fans have weighed the risk billions of times and chosen to sit there.

Not only have they chosen to sit there, they have chosen to pay the highest prices to do so.

Bloomberg.com did a study last year and a story with the headline, “Baseball Caught Looking as Fouls Injure 1,750 Fans a Year.”

You had to go nine paragraphs in before reading, “While the typical injury is minor, like a bruised hand or a bloodied lip, a small number are more serious, and the those victims tend to be children.”

The piece goes on to describe serous injuries to a six year-old girl at a Braves game, a seven year-old at a White Sox game and an 18-month-old in Seattle.

So, the injuries are usually minor and the serious injuries are usually to children.

How can any parent, who has ever been to a baseball game, choose to sit in those seats with an 18-month-old baby?

For that matter, why would a parent bring an 18-month-old baby to a baseball game?

Of course, little kids with short attention spans, slow reflexes and poor hand-eye coordination don’t choose to sit in those seats.

Idiotic parents make the choice for them.

So, based on the fans’ willingness to pay top dollar to sit in the more dangerous seats since the world’s first baseball game, it would appear that the need for smarter parents is greater than the need for nets.

Let adults weigh the risk and make the choice.

And advise the clueless adults to sit anywhere else when they choose to bring a toddler to the game.

After the horrific injury to Tonya Carpenter and after seeing her leave on a stretcher, how many empty seats were there in her section?

Where was the panic, with fans trampling each other trying to get to safer ground?

There was none, of course, because the fans know that the odds of being seriously hurt by a ball or a bat have to be somewhere south of struck-by-lightning territory.

But there were plenty of calls from the media for MLB to provide nets for people who prove millions of times a year that they don’t need or want them.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today wrote, “Now is the time to make it mandatory that safety netting extends past every dugout at every Major League park.”

My favorite came from Maury Brown of Forbes.com.

He said the most important comments at this week’s MLB Amateur draft wouldn’t be about prospects or about growing the game’s interest with youth:

“No, the most important comments at the Draft were about whether you, your family and your friends come home from a game in one piece.”

I have a prediction.
A million human beings will make the death defying decision to go to a Major League Baseball game this weekend.

Every single one of them will come home in one piece.