Fans remain in the dark about the dangers of high-speed foul balls at many MLB stadiums because MLB.com, where important information about netting belongs, is inconsistent and often lacking needed detail.
(PRUnderground) May 24th, 2023
Foul Ball Safety Now released a new study today on the status of protective netting at Major League Baseball’s (MLB’s) 30 stadiums – along with an analysis of how poorly the league communicates the risks of foul ball injuries and the whereabouts of netting to fans visiting MLB.com for stadium information and ticket sales. Foul Ball Safety Now, the campaign founded by lifetime baseball fan Jordan Skopp to raise awareness about fan safety, first conducted this analysis in 2021, and followed up in 2022. This year’s study on the 2023 status indicates that:
- MLB.com still provides an inconsistent patchwork of website information that leaves fans mostly in the dark when trying to use MLB’s official website to learn about netting before purchasing tickets or attending games at each of the 30 stadiums. A fan interested in learning about where to purchase seats behind netting will have a totally different journey to try to learn that information depending on which MLB team site they visit.
- Some teams have removed information about netting status. Pages that used to exist detailing netting locations are no longer online. (Examples: Mets, Pirates)
- Other teams have pages with some details about netting, but these pages don’t appear to be linked to in the obvious menus and guides that a fan would expect to find them. We only discovered them through searching Google for specific keywords such as ‘netting’ and the name of the team or stadium. (Example: Cardinals)
- Only a few teams have 3-D seat maps where fans can look to see what the netting actually looks like in front of a particular section. And the accuracy of these 3-D renderings has not been verified.
- 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.
- com continues to advertise an official MLB Ballpark app that fans can use while visiting MLB ballparks, further creating potential fan distraction during the game.
- All MLB online ticket purchasing is handled through Ticketmaster.com which provides inconsistent information on which seats are protected by netting.
In some cases, the minor improvements made in recent years to the information provided are still woefully inadequate. For example, the Washington Nationals added a nearly invisible dotted line to indicate which sections may have protective netting, but it doesn’t contain any detail about how high the nets are or if there are seats that aren’t really protected due to the tapering of many netting systems.
“Dotted lines are not enough. Microprint text descriptions of which sections are supposedly covered with netting are not enough,” said 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.
“The inconsistent and scattershot approach that MLB allows its franchises to have across their official websites and Ticketmaster is further evidence that the league cares little about fan safety. If they get to hide behind the Baseball Rule on the premise that fans assume the risk attending games, then the least they owe us is some basic, standardized information on netting details for each facility, including minor league and Spring Training ballparks.”
- There should be uniform standards across MLB.com about where details on netting are found. It should be consistent across all team sites, appearing on the seat map, in the A-Z guide, and prominently listed in the main drop-down menu for each stadium.
- Ticketmaster should also provide consistent information to fans purchasing tickets on their platform to learn about netting status.
- Federal, state and local lawmakers should explore appropriate regulatory responses to bring MLB into compliance with providing consumers vital information they need to assess the risks of attending games at MLB facilities.
“Since MLB has taken none of these steps on its own, Foul Ball Safety Now is calling for regulators to step in to require MLB to consistently inform fans about the ongoing dangers of foul ball injuries in their unsafe facilities. Don’t parents deserve to know about risks to their kids’ lives before purchasing tickets? Should children even be allowed into the ballpark at all? I believe the answer is clearly no. Not while MLB continues to fail to provide certified-safe experiences for fans, including comprehensive netting, and foul ball warning systems like they have in Japan,” Skopp urged.
Skopp provided an example illustrating the problem. On June 12, 2022 during the Mets vs Angels game, a high-speed foul ball left Jared Walsh’s bat at 108.2 MPH and headed straight into a crowded section past first base. This game was broadcast nationally on ESPN Sunday night baseball. One ESPN announcer said, “that one went into the stands very quickly,” but the other announcer quickly changed the subject, and the camera never returned to show the fans who had nearly been hit.
“The silence from the booth continues to leave fans unaware of the severe problems that remain throughout baseball. What if that section had been full of Little League children and one had been crushed? Shouldn’t the announcers say something to acknowledge the risk to fan safety when so many are seated split seconds away from impact?” Skopp asks.
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/
The post Foul Ball Safety Now Releases 2023 MLB Netting Study, Finds Ongoing Risks to Fans first appeared on PRUnderground.
Original Press Release.