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Can Major League Baseball do more to protect fans?

On any given summer day, thousands of Americans are taking in a baseball game. Some Major League Baseball fans get more than they bargained for when foul balls or pieces of broken bats fly into the stands with amazing speed and force.

Just this month, a Boston Red Sox fan ended up with over 30 stiches after a foul ball went into the stands and struck her in the head. She was actually sitting in the same area of Fenway Park where another woman was struck in June by a broken bat. That woman suffered life-threatening injuries.

These two women aren't alone. Every baseball season, more than 1,700 fans are injured in the stands. A sign posted at Fenway states: "Be Alert: Foul Balls and Bats Hurt." However, being alert may not be enough. The woman who was most recently injured there says that she used to assume that fans who got hurt "must not have been paying attention." However, she says she saw the ball coming and still couldn't react in time to avoid being hit.

After this most recent incident, MLB said that it's "in the process of re-evaluating all issues pertaining to fan safety, comfort and expectations." MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has said that the league is looking at a number of possible changes to better ensure fan safety, including "additional bat regulations, wrapping of bats [and] increased netting."

At least one attorney doesn't think that the league has done enough to protect fans. His proposed class-action suit notes that other professional sports have taken steps to increase safety after tragic injuries to fans.

After a teenage girl was fatally struck a decade ago by a hockey puck, the National Hockey League increased the netting that protects the fans. The proposed lawsuit on behalf of MLB season ticket holders calls for, among other safety measures, an extension of netting "from foul pole to foul pole."

Indiana residents who are injured at a ballpark or on any other type of premises may want to explore their legal options. Property owners are responsible for proper maintenance and safety so that those who visit their property don't suffer unnecessary harm.

Source: CBS News, "Lawsuit could force MLB to draw up new game plan," July 14, 2015

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