Perhaps you’ve seen it, but here’s a news report from Pittsburgh about what happened at the Pirates game last night:



Here’s a statement from the Pirates today regarding the fan’s condition:

“The female fan who was struck by a foul ball during last night’s game was sent via ambulance to the hospital for the appropriate examinations. Thankfully, the fan was released from the hospital following those examinations.

“We are extremely grateful for this positive outcome. The organization is in the process of reaching out to her to show our support. Due to privacy laws, we will not reveal the name of the fan, nor additional details at this time.

“We wish to thank the PNC Park personnel and fellow fans who were on the scene at the time, as well as the Pittsburgh EMS for their quick response.”


This goes for baseball and for hockey and even SteelHawks football.  Fans, I implore you:  Please sit in your seat while the ball or puck is in play.  I don’t care where you are sitting, or what kind of netting or shielding is in place.  It is for your own safety and for those around you.  If you’re not in the seating area, do not enter during play–wait for a stoppage.  The ushers will (read: should) guide you, letting you know when it is safe to enter the seating area.

Let’s play a game of True or False:

  1. I’m behind the screen/glass.  Nothing can happen to me here.  FALSE:  Just look at the poor woman above.  She was behind the screen in the “Lexus Club” or whatever it’s called now in Pittsburgh.  She thought she was safe but she was not.  The “glass” can break in hockey, too.  If you’re paying attention you might have a split-second to protect yourself.
  2. But I’m willing to accept the risk.  I’ll sign a waiver; I don’t care.  FALSE:  In the case above, if that ball had just missed her head, the dude behind her would have caught it straight in the face because he couldn’t see with her standing in the way.  The problem isn’t your own risk, it’s also all the people around you whom you are blocking and can’t protect themselves.
  3. I paid good money for my seat.  Ima go sit in it; I don’t care what the usher says.  The ushers are just on power trips.  FALSE:  The ushers have been charged by the team with keeping the fans safe and allowing everyone to enjoy the game without interruption from folks blocking the view or creating a safety hazard.  The fan who is injured sues, and the first thing they’re going to look at from the baseball club is how the ushers are trained and were there signs warning folks not to walk around during game play.  Someone in the section gets injured like that and I can promise you the guy that feels the worst about it is the usher.  He/she is probably the first on the scene to help, as well.  And remember, it’s not just about you–It’s about all the people you’re walking in front of on your way down the aisle and into the row.  In most cases, ushers do not have ownership interest or management positions with the team.  They are game-day employees, most likely following directions given to them by the team.  They’re not getting rich–they genuinely want to keep fans safe.
  4. But, standing up is my best chance of getting on the big screen–especially when I hold up this sign.  FALSE:  While the ball/puck is in play, the cameras will be on the field or on the ice, not on the stands.  The people behind you want to see, as well.  Some people aren’t able to stand all the time to see over you and your dancing and sign waving.  And, trust me, the staff from “America’s Got Talent” isn’t here looking for sign wavers on the big screen.
  5. But we’re in the upper level.  The ball/puck NEVER comes up here.  FALSE:  I’ve seen baseballs and pucks hit to just about everyplace.  Please stop making excuses and follow the rules.
  6. They’re just kids.  They’re not going to get hit by the ball/puck.  FALSE:  Really?  Please teach your kids to sit in their seats and follow the rules and listen to the ushers.  Everyone will be safer and your kids will be happier in the end.  If they can’t/won’t sit still, take them for a walk.  Go to the kids area or the playground and blow off some steam.  Then, come back and sit in your seats when you’re ready.

With the IronPigs in Moosic tonight to face the RailRiders again, let me share a story from last season.  I was returning to my seat during a game up there with the ‘Pigs, and I waited at the top of the section for a stoppage in play.  I was also blocking a few other people who were not happy with my refusal to move.  The usher was there, but she was seated off to the side and not restricting access to the seating bowl.  Once the ball was out of play and I began to move to my seat, the usher thanked me for knowing the rules and following them without direction.  She came over to my seat later in the game to thank me again.

I’m not sure how they do things up there, but the usher certainly knew the rules.  I think in a section with mostly season ticket holders she was just shy about enforcing them for fear of creating unhappy customers.  I hope the RailRiders will empower their ushers to enforce the seating rules and back them up with security if necessary.  I know fans at both the IronPigs and the Phantoms can get kind of testy when they are told what to do. Especially if some alcohol has been consumed during the evening.  That’s no excuse.  And the video above should be enough proof.

I’m glad the woman in the video was not seriously injured.  I wish she’d give permission to show that video on every big screen before every game for the next gazillion years.

See you at your seat,


Categories: Kram's Korner - From the Club Level

Tags: , , ,

5 replies

  1. I still haven’t seen if the ball actually penetrated through the net or the woman unfortunately was just too close to it.

    But if the ball penetrates the net do you not have an assumption of safety and would there be liability issues should the net be found with dry rot, broken, worn, etc.?

    Any other time I agree you are at your own risk except for perhaps when the net itself fails??

    Glad there were no serious injuries and I cringe every time I see someone get wrecked by a foul ball where there is no net.

    I’ll continue to live primarily up and away from the foul ball of doom thank you.

    • I’m still waiting for that all too valuable ball to get me a new set of teeth. Missed my opportunity to lean into that one last year. So close.. so close..

    • Had she been more seriously injured, indeed the Pirates could have been culpable with respect to the design, testing, age and installation of the net. I really don’t think you can assume anything about the net or protection, is what I’m trying to say. We’ve all seen the “glass” break in hockey. My recommendation stands: Sit Down! and pay attention.

      For my own part, and in reference to the incident Dan mentions, that does include playing with one’s phone during the game. I’m guilty there, at times, including that rocket ticketed for his teeth or my forehead. I’ve gotten better, though. I can partially point to that scary play, and partially towards the crappy cell service in the PPL Center–I’m better at just leaving it in my pocket now. But that’s another post entirely.

      Finally, I will point out that I’ve seen a ball go through the door and into the club bar. You are not safe there either. 😉

  2. Doesn’t the video say the netting has a certain amount of ‘give’ which is why she got hit, and apparently not because of any rip or malfunction of the netting. If that’s the case, she must have been really close to the netting. Also, how many fans read the small print on the back of their tickets? It says:
    “The holder of this ticket assumes all liability and danger incidental to the game of baseball whether occurring prior to, during, or subsequent to the actual playing of the game, including specifically (but not exclusively) to the danger of being injured by thrown bats, throws, or batted balls, and agrees the participating clubs, their officials, agents and players are not liable for injury from such causes.”
    The irony here is that to the girl’s immediate right is a man wearing a Pirates cap, also with his back to the playing field showing the word “Staff” on the back of his jacket. Apparently that is the usher who is also not paying attention to what’s happening on the playing field and/or not doing his job the way it should be done.

  3. You can’t make any assumptions about her condition based on this video. With a shock to the brain like that, you can be conscious, talking and seem permanently normal for hours while a brain bleed develops, then suddenly become unable to talk, go into a coma and die. Only after doctors see the brain scan can they tell if her injury is serious or not. Always get checked out at the nearest emergency room right away if you’re hit on the head with any force.

    I warn parents at Coca-Cola Park all the time not to let their kids up against the net when teams are taking batting practice, the pitcher’s warming up, or there is any other activity that could result in a ball or bat flying into the net. Two years ago I saw the pointed end of a broken bat fly through the net about a foot deep, barely stopping short of a 3-year-old child who was standing there. Had it gone any further it would have gone right through his stomach. Frankly, new parents, if you have a baby, don’t sit anywhere except behind the net. You simply can’t react quickly enough to protect your child in the event a wicked foul ball comes directly at him or her.

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