An article written by Matthew Nanninga and Alisha Dickie, “Is It Fair to Extend Liability to The Foul Poles? The Baseball Rule and the Effects of Increasing Protective Netting,” was featured in November-December edition of Sports Facilities and the Law. The article discusses the Baseball Rule, which limits the liability of premises operators for injuries sustained by spectators that occur as a result of risks inherent to the game of baseball, and how the extension of protective measures such as netting to the foul poles would affect the sport.
“Since the inception of baseball, clubs and stadium owners have tried to balance spectator preference and experience with safety. Courts as far back as 1913 have acknowledged that “[b]aseball is not free from danger to those witnessing the game,” but, despite the risks associated with public attendance, “a large part of those who attend prefer to sit where no screen obscures the view.” In fact, courts historically scoffed at the idea of screening in the entire stadium to virtually eliminate spectator injury, acknowledging that “the perils of the game are not so great as to require such extreme precaution.” The Baseball Rule emerged to balance club liability with spectators’ desire for an unimpeded view.”