Is Fenway Safe Enough For Fans?

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A warning sign in Fenway Park. (Michael Dwyer/AP)
A warning sign in Fenway Park. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

Tonya Carpenter, seated in the second row with her 8-year-old son, was hit in the face by a flying piece of a baseball bat on Friday night. She was put on a gurney, rushed off the field, and taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where she is now in fair condition.

Fans who suffer injuries like this can rarely win legal claims in court because of the so called Baseball Rule, which protects teams like the Red Sox from any kind of liability.

It's spelled out on your ticket, which says that you assume "all risks ... of personal injury incidental to the game of baseball including, "the danger of being injured by thrown or flying objects including bats and balls."

But critics say it's time to update the Baseball Rule, and to make baseball parks safer for fans.


Robert M. Gorman, author of "Death At The Ballpark: A Comprehensive Study of Game-Related Fatalities, 1862-2007."

Steven A. Adelman, sports attorney, Adelman Law Group, PLLC.


The Boston Globe: ‘Baseball Rule’ Protects Ballparks From Lawsuits

  • Debate about the controversial rule renewed after Tonya Carpenter, 44, of Paxton was struck and seriously injured by a shattered baseball bat at Friday night’s Red Sox game at Fenway Park.The age-old rule makes any attempt to bring a lawsuit an uphill battle in which the odds are stacked against injured fans and their families.

Bloomberg News: Baseball Caught Looking as Fouls Injure 1,750 Fans a Year

  • The foul ball — at once both a byproduct of live play and a souvenir — is the stuff of the baseball fan’s fantasy, and nightmare. To the delight of devotees, about 53,000 of the 73,000 fouls hit each season enter the seats, according to Edwin Comber, creator of, a website that analyzes the most likely location in each ballpark for them to land. Many spectators greet them eagerly, lunging or racing for fouls. Others want to avoid them but can’t react in time.


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