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Mets fan sues team, Luis Castillo, Rawlings over maple bat injuries

Aug 9, 2010, 4:13 PM EDT

James Falzon was sitting along the third base line at a Mets-Braves game in 2007 when Luis Castillo’s bat shattered, sending the barrel flying towards his face and resulting in some pretty massive injuries.  Falzon is now suing the Mets, Castillo, former Met Ramon Castro — who owned the bat — Major League Baseball and Rawlings, the bat’s manufacturer.

The reason: it was a maple bat, and baseball already knew by 2007 that maple bats had a propensity to shatter like that.

This is not the first time someone has been seriously hurt by a shattering maple bat. Pirates’ coach Don Long was victimized by a bat shard a few years ago. So was Dodgers fan Susan Long. They aren’t the only ones and they certainly won’t be the last.

I don’t know whether the risks posed by maple bats are enough to convince a jury that injuries they cause are actionable at law. But I do know this much: baseball has long acknowledged the dangers of maple bats and multiple studies have shown that they provide no tangible benefit to hitters over their less-prone-to-shatter ash counterparts. Despite this, Major League Baseball and the players’ association have done nothing about it.

  1. Jonny5 - Aug 9, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    Make them use a bat glove, or whatever they call that thing that was invented to stop this from happening.
    And Fans need to “suck it up” I don’t feel like signing a waiver every time I go to a game. “enter at your own risk”.
    BTW nice picture, And just so everyone knows, the guy in that picture will be in spring training condition by the time he gets back off the DL. Which is good, because this guy is hot when he’s in that kind of shape. Watch that rearview Mr. Cox.

  2. Alex K - Aug 9, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    I got this, Jason (@IIATMS)
    If this isn’t the correct website blame the firewall at work…….

  3. JefeGrande - Aug 9, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    “User assumes…all risk and danger incidental to the game of baseball…including but not limited to the risk of injury by thrown or broken bats or fragments thereof…User further agrees…that none of the club…Major League Baseball Enterprises…and their respective agents, players…are not liable for injuries or loss of/damage to property resulting from such causes.”
    That’s on the back of every MLB ticket.

  4. Howell - Aug 9, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    Wasn’t there a study that suggest it wasn’t so much that maple bats break more, but that the dimensions being used for bats are causing them to break more?

  5. Dan in Katonah - Aug 9, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    Craig, do you want to play lawyer or shall I?
    Product/premises liability is not my area, but often times the boilerplate assumption of risk notices (or contracts of adhesion) are not enforceable. If the website indicated above is accurate, then MLB knew of the risks and perhaps failed to put in place simple, cost efffective measures to protect the fans and players. Maybe the fan wins, maybe he loses, or most likely, maybe a large settlement is paid out. It is easy to say “look at your ticket” and blame the lawyers for making it more complicated to do things, but sometimes that is the way change evolves. It seems like the batglove or similar protections should be used – it is cheap, effective, does not impact the play of the game and the injury could have been avoided. Once again, it may take a fatality to effect actual change. I hope it doesn’t.

  6. Steve C - Aug 9, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    There is another bat that MLB will not allow, but the name escapes me. It is created from a series of wedges such that when the ball impacts the bat it makes contact with at least two wedges. The bat tends to be much more durable and has the same hitting characteristics as a standard bat.

  7. Dreamer - Aug 9, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    This is why everything is so expensive anymore – why do we have to get lawyers involved? The Mets should have contacted the man and offered to pay medical bills and time lost from work. The PR would have been worth every penny they spent.

  8. mike wants wins - Aug 9, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    No they shouldn’t. There is no reason for the Mets to pay here. They will, because Juries are ridicuolously biased to the individual over companies, but there is no reason for the Mets to pay anything here. IT WAS AN ACCIDENT. Accidents happen in life. There is not always someone to blame.

  9. Paul - Aug 9, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    I have no idea what is on the back of a ticket, but if that part about bats is there, I would be curious to know how long it has been included with the more expected batted or thrown balls statements. The players association and MLB need to put an immediate halt to those bats or seriously change the measurements stats. One report I heard was this is caused more by the thinner handles that players prefer more than the wood involved. This report also mentioned the scarcity of ash and that maple was more available(cheaper). MLB and the PA may change their tune when a pitcher/3rd baseman/1st baseman gets skewered by a bat remnant. Sure hope it doesn’t come to that, but to cover their butts with legalese to be exonerated if a fan gets injured by one is terrible. As a fan, I would expect to watch out for balls, but bat pieces……………?

  10. Kevin S. - Aug 9, 2010 at 6:42 PM

    There is someone to blame when the parties involved were aware of the danger inherent in using maple bats, had a near-perfect substitute available and failed to use it. That’s negligence on their part. This isn’t the same as the assumed risk of a batted ball.

  11. aurora72 - Aug 9, 2010 at 6:43 PM

    People are way toooo sue happy !!! It’s disgusting, anything to try to make a quick buck. I hope you lose and it goes nowhere !!! Your not teaching kids anything good (if u have them) then they grow up wanting to sue people for stupid things. Did you never see a baseball bat shatter, and depending on where your seat is, did you ever think that maybe you could get hit. People wonder why insurance rates can be high, health costs go up, it s cause of people who will take the first chance they can to sue someone. Suck it up and get over it already.

  12. JefeGrande - Aug 9, 2010 at 6:56 PM

    The part about bats on the back of the ticket has been there for at least 10 years in my estimation. I’ve had twins season tickets since around then and occasionally when I was bored I would read whatever I had on me, which was usually my ticket.

  13. Md23Rewls - Aug 9, 2010 at 7:12 PM

    I feel sorry for somebody who gets seriously hurt by a shattered bat or a foul ball or what-have you, but obviously suing is a little bit much. Anyway, if you’re going to sue the Mets, you should sue them for not giving you your money’s worth on the playing field.

  14. JBerardi - Aug 9, 2010 at 9:11 PM

    Good. Force Bud Lite (h/t Gator) to actually address an issue, as he so loathes doing.

    Oh, and for all you people bemoaning our overly litigious society, I’m sure you’d all be “sucking it up” mightily had your face been destroyed by a negligent corporation, simply because that corporation didn’t address a known danger in it’s product. Wouldn’t want to endanger a multi-national corporation’s ability to do whatever it wants with no oversight or accountability of any kind. Won’t someone PLEASE think of the corporations?!

  15. Jason @ IIATMS - Aug 9, 2010 at 11:03 PM

    That’s correct, AlexK.
    The site is
    I’ve been championing this for a long, long time now. It’s being block/stonewalled by someone, for some reason, up in the MLB heirarchy.
    It’s only a matter of time….

  16. Jason @ IIATMS - Aug 9, 2010 at 11:09 PM

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