Sunday, April 17, 2005

Ball magnet

The Sunday News-Leader's front page includes an article about concerns over flying bats and foul balls at Hammons Field during Springfield Cardinals games.

Seems a couple bats have flown into the stands, hitting fans. The backstop net doesn't stretch from dugout to dugout, leaving several seats exposed. The backstop net also doesn't stretch over the infield seats up to the skyboxes as it does in some ballparks we've been to.

My wife and I went to a Southwest Missouri State Bears games last spring, sitting almost directly behind home plate in the handicap section. A foul ball took a line drive right over the backstop net right at our seats. I leaned left, my wife ducked. The ball bounced off her right shoulder, bounced off the girder beam behind us, and into the seats in front of us where some lucky little-leaguer got it. Hammons Field staff came by immediately to see if my wife was OK and offered to get ice for her shoulder. We laughed about it.

When friends came by we chuckled and mentioned the possibility of a lawsuit--completely joking, of course. Our tickets had a disclaimer that, according to a personal injury attorney quoted in the article, would likely have prevented us from collecting anything from Hammons or SMS.

My wife proudly showed her bruise at work the next day and we joked about the odds of a foul ball finding its way to us, and light-heartedly complaining about not getting to keep the foul ball.

Then we went to another game this year. Same section of the ballpark, two seats to the right. My wife was getting hot dogs (one of the best parts of any baseball game) and sodas when another foul ball found its way to our seats. This was a pop fly with a high arc, leaving plenty of time to get out of the way. And the ball landed right where my wife would have been sitting. This time we got to keep the ball.

I have no idea what the odds are of being hit by a foul ball. But what must they be when considering that my wife and I have only been to two ball games in Hammons Field, and sat in two different places behind the net? Do you think John Q. has something against us?