When you go to a professional baseball game, on the back of your ticket, in teeny tiny print is this (or something like it, this is off a ticket stub of unknown age I found in my wallet) paragraph of warning:
Warning: The holder assumes all risk and danger incidental to the sport of baseball and all warm ups, practices and competitions associated with baseball, including specifically (but not exclusively) the danger of being injured by thrown bats, fragments thereof, and thrown or batted balls, and agrees that none of the Office of Commissioner of Baseball, Major League Baseball Enterprises, Major League Baseball Properties, Baseball Television Inc., the American and National Leagues of Professional Baseball Clubs, the Major League Clubs and their respective agents, players, officers, employees and owners shall be liable for injuries or losses of personal property resulting from such causes.
Slugger at a game I attended last May--my photo. Looks so warm...
Does this warning include being hit by hot dogs thrown by the team's mascot? A court may get to decide that, and other details of a case brought by a fan against the team alleging that he was struck in the eye by a hot dog thrown by hand by the Royal's mascot, Sluggerr. The plaintiff alleges that the hot dog struck him in the eye and caused a detached retina, and placed his eyesight at risk. Here's a link to the Kansas City Star's article.
Can I tell you that the comments on the Kansas City Star's website and on newsy blogs like Tony's Kansas City have been overwhelmingly negative about this lawsuit? Most people think the plaintiff is full of beans and is just looking for a pay day. Some have commented directly on the merits of the lawsuit itself, and some have discussed the impossible nature of the allegations of the plaintiff. My personal bullshit detector went off too. Hot dogs are not very heavy, how hard can a person (I know for a fact that sometimes the person playing Slugger is occasionally female) throw a hot dog wearing a mascot costume, and apparently, this dog was flipped behind the back (per the lawsuit, which is linked by the Star and here as a PDF)! The worst injury I could imagine might be a corneal abrasion, which can be quite painful, but usually leaves no sequalae. You can have a detached retina and not know it, this happened in my family as a matter of fact. Perhaps on exam, a doctor found the retina problem incidentally and it is not at all related to the hot dog hitting the man's eye. This sort of money chasing bullshit suit is the sort of thing that gives lawyers a bad name. Unless there is more to it then meets the eye (sorry!), the Royals should pay the man any medical expenses related to the injury itself and not one penny more.