It’s Time for a Change

On September 3, 2013, I joined a couple girlfriends for what was supposed to be a fun girls’ night out at the Arizona Diamondbacks game against the Toronto Blue Jays. When we saw where our seats were, we were all excited because we thought that they were great seats! You see, we were seated just 12 rows back in the lower deck directly behind the Diamondbacks dug out. Little did we know how dangerous those seats could actually be, and how quickly our girls’ night out was going to turn bad.

In just the second inning of the game, Edward Encarnacion was up to bat, hit the ball, then let his bat go flying into the stands… right into my eye in the 12th row. I was immediately tended to by Diamondbacks staff (as shown in the pic available by clicking here) and quickly found myself in an ambulance headed to the ER. Upon examination I was told that I would need a lot of stitches and that I had a broken orbital rim, in addition to of course shattered glasses. I had no clue how much those words were going to change my life.

At the ER after being hit by a thrown bat at the Sept 2nd Arizona Diamondbacks vs Toronto Blue Jays baseball game.

This is prior to them stitching me up in the ER.

What most people are not aware of is that once you enter a baseball stadium, you have accepted ALL responsibility for anything that happens to you as a result of being there. You didn’t know that?? You mean, you, like the majority of those that attend a professional baseball game (myself included) have never read the miniscule print on the back of your ticket?! Click here for a blown up image that it is actually readable, or you can keep reading because here is the text from the back of the ticket.

“WARNING: The holder of this ticket (“Holder”) assumes all risk, danger and injury incident to attendance at the event, whether occurring prior to, at any time during, or after a baseball game (including, but not limited to, the danger of batted balls or thrown bats, balls or other items, and injuries caused, in whole or part, by third parties arising therefrom), and agrees that no persons or entities (including, but not limited to, Major League Baseball, its affiliates (each an “MLB Entity”), its member clubs, and their respective agents and/or players) are liable for any injury to Holder resulting from such causes and releases and holds harmless such persons and entities. Batted balls or thrown balls, bats, and other objects can enter spectator areas with great force. The risk of injury cannot be avoided completely if Holder attends the games. If holder would like to lessen the risk, the Arizona Diamondbacks (“Club”) will exchange this ticket for a ticket located in the upper deck, or in the event of a sellout, will refund Holder the face value of this ticket at any time before the first pitch is thrown. The use of abusive language, interference with play (including throwing objects in the stands or onto the field), entry to the playing field, and drunken or disorderly behavior are prohibited. Violators are subject to ejection and/or arrest.”

SO, what that means, is that even though I have no health insurance because I am a self-employed, single, homeschooling mom,Β  and rarely have to go to a doctor, I am now responsible for all medical bills incurred as a result of a baseball player that chose not to hold onto his bat, which means that I am going into debt because I chose to attend a baseball game. And the bat hit me with such force, even 12 rows back in the stands, that I have a deep and bad break in my orbital rim, and it then bounced back and to the right in order to bruise another spectator behind me.

My glasses after being hit by a thrown bat at the Sept 2nd Arizona Diamondbacks vs Toronto Blue Jays baseball game.

Thankfully the glass all stayed in the frame.

~A break so bad, that 6 weeks later I am still forced to cancel prior commitments due to the pain and swelling that occurs after just a couple hours on my feet, or even just being out of the house. For those of you that followed me last year as Ms. Arizona US Universal 2013, or know me personally, you know that not only does my word mean everything to me, but I am also a VERY active person, that cannot be active at this time.

~A break that may require surgery, but that means finding the money to see the specialist for follow up, in addition to the CT Scan they will have to do in order to check on the healing progress and determine if there’s a need for surgery.

~A break that requires me to eat only the softest of foods that I can take small bites of, and to limit my walking and various movement because of the fact that a broken bone in your face is irritated by just about everything you do.

~A break that, due to it’s location, does not allow me to comfortably wear my glasses, which means I have limited vision unless I choose to be in pain and wear my glasses anyways. I also experience floating flashes of light out of the corner of my eye due to the injury as the day goes on.

~A break that could cause permanent damage.

This is considered a normal and acceptable risk that you assume by attending a professional baseball game?? As I have been told over and over again the last few weeks, we teach our children in Little League that it is never acceptable to throw a bat, and depending on the league, they will be benched for the rest of the game, and possibly future games. So why is it that on the professional level, where the bats are being swung by much stronger men, therefore with much greater potential for damage, it is acceptable and NOT punished when a bat is thrown? You can Google thrown bats and find many instances, and even video, of bats going into the stands at various games. I found 3 instances in a very quick search, in the last couple months for this player alone, not including the one that hit me.

Now, let me share with you the SECOND release that you are agreeing to by entering a stadium, which is the reason that I had to link to the photo of ME above, instead of including the picture itself. I refuse to pay to use a photo of myself, that others are using to make money off of my pain and suffering.

“IMPORTANT: By use of this ticket, Holder agrees that: (a) he or she shall not transmit or aid in transmitting any information about the game to which it grants admission, including but not limited to any account, description, picture, video, audio, reproduction, or other information concerning the game (the “Game Information”); (b) Club is the exclusive owner of all copyrights and other proprietary rights in the game and Game information; (c) Holder’s name, likeness, and voice taken in connection with the game may be used in any broadcast, photograph, video and/or sound recording taken in connection with the game for all purposes by Club or Club’s affiliates, sponsors, corporate partners and broadcast or media partners; (d) this ticket may not be used for any advertising, promotion (including contests or sweepstakes), or other commercial purposes without the express written consent of Club; and (e) no resale of this ticket is permitted (i) via the internet or any other interactive media, except, if applicable through the official websites of Club (www.dbacks.com) or Major League Baseball (www.mlb.com), or through another website operated or expressly designated by Club or an MLB entity, and (iii) if prohibited by any applicable federal, state or local law or regulation. The license granted by this ticket is revocable and may be terminated by Club at any time.”

SO, not only are you responsible for your own medical bills if something happens to you, like it did to me, BUT they also own all rights to any photos and/or video that are taken of said incident, and they may use said photos or video in any way that they wish to. I have heard of my photo (linked to above) being circulated far and wide that night. I was being told by friends that they had even seen me on the news in various parts of Canada, since it was a Toronto player who threw their bat.

When things like this happen in other professional sports, there is often an immediate action taken to try to prevent them from happening in the future, but yet nothing is done in baseball even after the same thing happens many times. Why is that???

Here is what I feel needs to change within Major League Baseball, so that people may go back to enjoying the games with the NORMAL and ACCEPTABLE risks of watching for foul balls. Personally, the number of stories that I’ve read about children dying from being hit by a foul ball makes this unacceptable to me as well, but I understand that it is part of the tradition of the game, and one of the things that many people look forward to when attending a game.

1. I think that rules need to be changed so that players are fined, or face other equally severe consequences, for throwing bats. If the majority are able to keep them from flying into the stands, why can’t all of them??

2. I feel that there needs to be netting, or a short plexiglass, put in the area behind the dugouts where thrown bats are most likely to occur. This happened so quickly that by the time ANYONE around me saw it coming, it was already hitting me. SOMETHING needs to be done to try to prevent this from happening to other people. This would be a minimal expense for the clubs to incur in order to show their fans that they care about their safety and want to minimize some of the risks.

I don’t think that I am asking for anything that would take the fun out of the game, but would actually BRING it back! I was sitting in the seats that radio stations give away in on air contests, that people with VIPs in town would purchase to show off.

All I keep thinking is how lucky I am to still have my eyesight, and that if it had hit one of the two small children just two rows in front of me, their family would have been attending a funeral. This is a very serious matter, and one that needs to be addressed quickly.

Please feel free to share this post with your friends, family and the world. My goal is not to stop people from attending baseball games, but to educate them on the choices they are making when selecting their seats, and the current risks associated with those seats. I also truly believe that the above changes need to be made, but they won’t be unless enough people stand with me to make our voices heard!

ADDED NOTE: I have spoken to a few attorneys, and did have one send a letter to the Arizona Diamondbacks on my behalf. Because the teams are so well protected, they do not carry medical liability insurance on the stadium. There have been many that have tried to take action against teams in the past, including when death has occurred, and the courts and juries always take the side of the teams. I was only looking to get my medical paid for, and the response was no.

Comments

  1. @cgrace1998 says:

    All I can say is WOW. Who determines what is “acceptable risk”? I would think as a player I would want to help anyone my actions hurt. It seems to me and I could be wrong, anytime fans have been hurt by a wreck at a NASCAR event the drivers and team owners step up. That is totally different than knowingly throwing a bat, this player should be ashamed. So sorry your fun night turned into a nightmare. I will pray that this player realizes what is the right thing to do and does it. At the very least the team could have a fundraiser. Come on people do what is right.

    • Thank you! Yes, NASCAR also appears to be quick to make changes to try to prevent the same accidents from happening again. Let’s face it, they wouldn’t need to hold a fundraiser since my medical bills would be a drop in the bucket for any of them πŸ™‚

  2. Lindsay Petronsky says:

    I shared this because I feel that people need to know this! I’m outraged at how this was handled

  3. Cindy Christi says:

    Amazing Liz. Its hard to believe that is actually happened to you and that nothing has been done to help you. I am happy to share this and I hope to help you make a positive change.

    Love you!

  4. Patti Council says:

    Liz, have you posted this story on the Facebook and Twitter pages of the AZ Diamondbacks, the Blue Jays AND the player that actually threw the bat. I want to always believe that there is something good in everyone and that the player that threw the bat or at least one of the HUGE organizations would pay for your medical bills. I know you’re not trying to take advantage of anyone here – just get what’s rightfully coming to you.
    I am so sorry you’re having to go through this!

    • I will be, however as you know, the Diamondbacks already gave me a No response πŸ™

    • I agree-I think the player should come forward and offer to pay for the medical bills. This is ridiculous. Even if you assume all risk, the good and right thing to do would be to step up, apologize and pay for the consequences of his actions. I’m so sorry this has happened to you and I hope that the situation is rectified quickly.

  5. bina edwards says:

    ouch, that looks horrid and I can really appreciate Canada’s medical system, cus I can not imagine how much medical will cost you (when my son was in football he had to have an ambulance, C-scan and hospital stay, but luckily my work paid for the ambulance and everything else was covered by my government, even the private room) I hope you have a full recovery, eyes are something precious

  6. Wow! So sorry to hear about this. This is TERRIBLE! You may want to contact channel 12 and any other news channel that has consumer advocate segment…maybe if they do a story in it…it will embarrass the stadium/diamondbacks into helping with medical bills as well as really put out there to the public the danger. Did you check with an injury attorney…even though their ticket says that…perhaps you still have legal action. I would double check…but definately bring it to the forefront via channel 12…it is a heat wrenching story!

    • Thank you! I have spoken to a few attorneys, and did have one send a letter to the Arizona Diamondbacks on my behalf. Because the teams are so well protected, they do not carry medical liability insurance on the stadium. There have been many that have tried to take action against teams in the past, including when death has occurred, and the courts and juries always take the side of the teams. I was only looking to get my medical paid for, and the response was no.

      • then I would call channel 12 and have the action reporter do a segment….you may get a favorable response…if not from the Diamon.dbacks…hopefully the public

  7. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  8. Lady, you should have been paying attention. How do you not SEE a BAT flying your way? And how do you not duck? It’s a shame that you got hurt, but it’s no one’s fault but your own. You make it seem like the player deliberately threw the bat in your direction, but that’s not at all what happened, just an unfortunate accident, it slipped out of his hands — it happens A LOT. Next time keep your eyes on the game, or at the very least move out of the way — it’s a bat, not a blimp.

    • While I certainly appreciate your thoughts, I was not the only one that didn’t see it coming. NOBODY in my seating area saw it coming until it was already hitting me. I’m not trying to place blame, the very fact that you state that it happens A LOT is what needs to be changed. If it happens A LOT, then something needs to be done to protect the people that sit in those rather expensive seats from injuries as such as mine, or worse. The children that it went over to hit me would have BEEN KILLED, and it would have been preventable with a piece of plexiglass behind the dugout, just like they have up in hockey games due to flying pucks.

      • But u r blaming the player by always stating he threw the bat. Which in fact he didn’t, it slipped from his hands! It was a freak accident! And accidents are unpreventable, hence why its called n accident. I’m sorry u got hurt but this is all nonsense. Don’t go to a game if u don’t know the risks, which are posted and repeatedly announced! Oh and the fact u have lawyers also means u r placing blame! Hate to say it, its wasted time! U should focus on recovering!

  9. Jenene Koshiol says:

    I am so sorry that all of this has happened to you. I agree with everything you have written! This should NOT have happened and we all know they make enough to take care of your medical bills! Prayers as usual dear! Keep your head up πŸ˜‰ You ARE an inspiration! <3

  10. As a season ticket holder, I can tell you that not only are there warnings posted numerous places throughout the ballpark that you are at risk of being hit as well as an annoucement over the intercom. You are given the option to change seats if you do not want to take on those risks. I am sorry for the inujuries you occured, but I would never assume anybody else is,responsible for injuries anywhere ex,ept for myself. Especially when warnings are. posted. It is nobody’s fault besides your own that you don’t have insurance. Baseball has been running the same way for a century.

    • Although I am sorry that you got hurt, I absolutely agree with the above comments. Did you see the pregame video warning or were you late or not paying attention on the big screen? Did you notice the information is posted many places in the ball park? Lots of balls and occasionally bats do fly into the seats. This happens in all ball parks in the US and Canada. πŸ™‚ No player chooses to deliberately let go of his bat… What were you doing at the time. I know that objects fly out fast, but usually an instinctive reaction is to put up your hands to protect your face. That clearly didn’t happen…why? It’s sad that you are trying to use the fact that you have not purchased health insurance to your advantage. The good news is that you are now required to purchase some. I hope you your teenage son does have health care already. I’d be curious to know in what manner you originally approached the team…I think I’ll ask them.

      • awaiting moderation…never mind. I’ll just go email the dbacks. They are less likely, not more likely to help you after seeing your blog…

  11. All MLB teams have signs post everywhere, and I know personally that there are signs right when you enter the aisles that say “warning:flying objects may leave the field at any time. You can move to a lower risk location at any time.” Also before the game there is a 5 minute read and visual with the same warning. Players never intentionally throw the bat. MLB players need bat speed to hit 90+ MPH and when they swing that hats it slips sometimes. I’m sorry this happened but there really is the appropriate amount of warning.

  12. Anyone who sits close enough to get hit with batted or thrown balls or bats need to pay attention to EVERY pitch. There is more than the small print on the back of the ticket warning spectators. There are large printed and clearly visible signs posted all over the ballpark. Including a loud announcement over the PA system before every game with the same warning.

    I suppose the players should play behind a net as well, since they’re at just as much risk, if not more of getting hit with a bat or ball. I see nothing wrong with the Diamondbacks policies. If I have seats behind the dugout, I believe it is MY responsibility pay attention to every pitch as I know a ball or bat can come flying at my head at any second. That’s just common sense, right? No nets, no fines, leave it how it is.

  13. I am very sorry you had this happen to you, but that being said, it is wrong of you to make accusations against this player by implying he “chose” to throw that bat. That is absolutely not true and you are “wronging him” by implying so. This was nothing more than an unfortunate accident. While you mention the fine print on the ticket, you at the same time fail to mention that they have signs posted all over the stadium warning you of what could happen. This was a very unfortunate accident. You could have suffered the same injuries in a car accident and yet I’m assuming you drive every day and choose to take that risk as acceptable. The league will not put up plexiglass like at a hockey game because true fans of baseball don’t want it! We want our kids to be able to go down and get an autograph! Not be isolated from the players like they are in Hockey. Plus, having been to more hockey games than I can count, pucks fly over that plexiglass into the crowds more frequently than bats fly into the stands at baseball games. I am sorry for your accident however and the unfortunate pain and suffering that must go along with it. It is unfortunate that you didn’t have health insurance, but that was your choice, not the Diamondbacks. Thankfully with the pre-existing conditions clause you can now get insurance! I wish you a speedy recovery!

  14. Jody Johnson says:

    Hey Liz,
    I did not understand how bad your pain was but I do now. You are showing your strength and bravery by continuing to work and provide for your son while in this condition. It is incredible that there is no affordable medical health option for you.

    Please take care of yourself.
    Sincerely, Jody

Trackbacks

  1. […] has been about a year and a half since I was hit by the baseball bat that I talk about here. To this day, my orbital rim is still broken which effects my day to day life. I am still limited […]

  2. […] many of you are aware, I have spent over 2 years suffering from injuries sustained by attending a MLB game. It was through the amazing energy work of Tammy Wood​ of Vegas Crystal Healings & More​ […]

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