Lucas Holco

There have been several recent stories about balls hitting people in the stands, ballparks’ liability, and assumption of the risk. Earlier this year I endorsed the idea of extending the netting farther around the infield seats to give fans in the line of fire a bit more protection. Against that backdrop comes this recent story of a young fan who was critically injured by a foul ball at a Mahoning Scrappers game:

Doctors in northeast Ohio say a four-year-old boy who was struck in the head by a foul ball at a Minor League Baseball game is in critical condition with a fractured skull. Doctors say it may take five days for the swelling in Luke Holko’s brain to subside. It’s unclear how well he’ll recover.

Holko and his family had front-row seats near first base for Wednesday’s doubleheader at the home of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, a short-season Class A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.

Holko was hit as he sat in his father’s lap and talked to his mother.

The New York-Penn League has held fundraisers. Lucas’ parents have set up a website to track his progress and to solicit donations. Lucas is still in a medically-induced coma. It’s still early, but there have been signs of progress.

I realize that reasonable people disagree about nets and liability and all of that. And to be clear, I offer these links less for purposes of advocacy of my pro-nets position than I do for mere information and the solicitation of thoughts, prayers, and donations if you’re able to do so. But do know, no matter how you feel about this stuff, it can be dangerous down close, especially if you have little kids.

(Thanks to reader Motherscratcher for the heads up)

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  1. ditmars1929 said...

    OK, Craig, I’ve no problem with extending the nets.  I have a visual defect that robs me of depth perception, so while I do like to sit up close, it makes me paranoid for three hours (four if the Red Sux are in town to play the Yankees).  I can’t pick up on a foul liner or pop up, and I literally duck down if anything comes my way.  The very last thing I want at a ball game is a foul ball coming near me.

    Here’s an ethical question for you.  My hot shot lawyer friend has company tickets fourth row behind the Yankee dugout, and sometimes invites me to games with our sons.  Should I be sitting in those seats with a seven year old who has no chance against a foul liner, or would that make me a bad parent?

  2. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Gosh, ditmars. I couldn’t tell you if you would be a bad parent or not. I sat in seats like that when I was 7. No my folks didn’t have depth perception issues, but I’m sure they were talking to other people or doing all manner of things besides keeping an eye out for foul balls. I don’t think they were bad parents.

    I think whether to sit with your kids down there is a choice parents need to make for themselves and their kids, taking into account all kinds of things. Most importantly, how close the batter is to where you’re sitting and your general comfort and alertness level.

    My animation on this issue is much more aimed at reminding people that the world is a more dangerous place than most of us tend to believe and that we need to be careful. Maybe ballpark operators should do more, maybe parents shouldn’t rely on ballparks to keep them safe (not that those things are mutually exclusive). I don’t have any definitive answers here.

  3. J. McCann said...

    I gave a little money to that kid, as they were taking donations at the SI Yanks game rather than the 50/50.  (Next 3 days are the NYPL championship between the SI Yanks and Mahoning Valley.)

    Anyway, I figure if you have a young kid, or a kid who will not be paying close attention, then you don’t want to sit in those field seats.  If the kid is going to watch the game closely it could be a good learning experience to teach him to watch out for foul balls (among other things life throws at you.)

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