The Unexpected Dangers of Attending Baseball Games

Thursday, July 10, 2014
Andrew Rector on national TV, asleep during Yankees game (photo: YouTube)

America’s pastime can harmful to a person’s health, or reputation, according to two separate lawsuits.


In one civil case filed against the Kansas City Royals, a fan claims he was seriously injured by a flying hot dog. John Coomer states in his complaint that in 2009, the team’s mascot, Sluggerrr, hit him in the face with the frank-in-bun during a routine giveaway.


The “pretty forceful” blow resulted in a loss of vision in one eye due to a detached retina, he says. He sued the team in 2010 for negligence and battery. A lower court threw out his case, but was later reinstated by the Missouri Supreme Court, which ruled that being hit by a thrown hot dog, unlike being drilled with a foul ball, is not an inherent risk of attending a baseball game.


In New York City, another baseball fan is suing the Yankees, Major League Baseball and ESPN for embarrassing him on national television.


Andrew Robert Rector fell asleep during an April 13 game against the Red Sox. His napping did not go unnoticed by the network . At one point, the coverage focused on the snoozing Rector, who claims ESPN’s play-by-play and color announcers verbally abused him.


 “Announcers like Dan Shulman and John Kruck [sic] unleashed avalanche of disparaging words against the person of and concerning the plaintiff. These words, include but not limited to ‘stupor, fatty, unintelligent, stupid’ knowing and intending the same to be heard and listened to by millions of people all over the world,” Rector’s complaint, which has multiple grammatical and spelling errors, reads.


However, in a YouTube clip of the game, the announcers are not heard using those words. “Is that guy to his left his buddy who’s just letting him sleep?” Shulman said. “Maybe that’s his buddy, and he likes him a lot better when he’s asleep,” Kruk replied.

Rector seeks $10 million in damages for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Royals Fan Injured by Flying Frank Has a Case (by Jeff Gorman, Courthouse News Service)

John Coomer v. Kansas City Royals (Missouri Supreme Court) (pdf)

Snoozing Fan Claims ESPN Defamed Him (Courthouse News Service)

Man Who Fell Asleep during Yankees Game Sues Team, TV Announcers for $10 Million (by Daniel Beekman, New York Daily News)


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