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Viva Medias B's
05-19-2008, 04:11 PM
The family of a 12-year-old boy who was brain damaged after being struck in the chest by a batted ball has filed a lawsuit against Little League Baseball, Louisville Slugger, and Sports Authority.

Link (http://www.wnbc.com/news/16326659/detail.html?dl=headlineclick) from WNBC-TV

Usually, do not Little League organizations require the players and/or their parents to sign a waiver saying they would not file a lawsuit in the event of an injury like this? I would think that such a waiver would also protect the national Little League organization as well as equipment manufacturers, etc.

Steelrod
05-19-2008, 04:23 PM
The problem is anybody can sue anybody.

DumpJerry
05-19-2008, 04:37 PM
The waivers are not very strong once in court and usually do not cover willful, wanton and intentional conduct.

Hokiesox
05-19-2008, 04:40 PM
Most little leagues are adopting a -9 (length to weight), or even -7 rule. This bat is a -12 and is EXTREMELY dangerous. I'm surprised it would be allowed on the field. Further, the bat makers probably know full well it's a dangerous bat. I'm not so sure Sports authority would have a clue though.

EndemicSox
05-19-2008, 04:58 PM
Feel bad for the boy, hope Little League is helping with the bills in some form, but a line-drive to the head can and does happen regardless of the bat, it's simply a part of the game. There are other sports a parent can sign their child up for after taking these risks into consideration...

chisoxjtrain
05-19-2008, 05:11 PM
Most little leagues are adopting a -9 (length to weight), or even -7 rule. This bat is a -12 and is EXTREMELY dangerous. I'm surprised it would be allowed on the field. Further, the bat makers probably know full well it's a dangerous bat. I'm not so sure Sports authority would have a clue though.

When I played little league (this was 8 years ago when I was 12), it was -10 and the diameter of the bat had to be was 2 1/4 inches. Nowadays I see little leaguers using a bat diameter of 2 5/8 inches or 2 3/4 inches, with it still being -10. I don't know the diameter of the bat that kid used, but I think the bat diameter being too large is extremely dangerous.

getonbckthr
05-19-2008, 06:04 PM
I'm sorry to hear about the kid. However it is not the fault of little league, sports authority or Louisiville slugger that this kid didn't catch the ball and got hurt.

hsnterprize
05-19-2008, 06:36 PM
Like Steelrod said, we unfortunately live in a world where anybody can sue anybody. So as badly as I feel for the family, I also feel bad for the Little League because they now have to spend a bunch of money in order to fight against what I think is nothing but an unfortunate, frivolous lawsuit. And it doesn't help the league in that area when 2 states have already banned aluminum/metal bats.

I have a 6-year-old playing T-Ball here in Berwyn. As one of his coaches, I know there is an inherent danger to playing sports of any kind, whether organized or a pick-up game. Of course, any organized youth sports league should make sure all coaches and players are as safe as possible. However, when a freak accident like that happens, there are too many people who will have a knee-jerk reaction to the situation and say, "ban the bats!!!!!". I almost got into an argument with my wife about this because she was saying the same thing, and I had to refute that claim with some facts about the liklihood of such a thing happening to our son. I mean, what do you say to the parents of a child who's head got hurt playing soccer because he/she tried to head-butt the ball?

What do you say to a child who gets hurt playing hockey or football? Sorry...you can't play that sport because there's too much of a chance you'll get hurt. I'm thinking, what are the leagues and makes of the equipment going to do...make everything softer and slower to keep things like this from happening? They've already done as much as they can do to protect the players...and I hate to say this and sound flippant about it, but there's ALWAYS a chance of a freak accident of some kind happening when you least expect it.

It's really sad that family is suffering like this, but it's an even worse shame that our legal system keeps getting clogged up with crappy lawsuits like this. I'm sorry to the family involved, but suing the bat maker and the store you bought the bat in is ridiculous. Honestly, I hope they lose the case. I know that's pretty crude, but that's how I feel about this case.

Brian26
05-19-2008, 07:51 PM
Feel bad for the boy, hope Little League is helping with the bills in some form, but a line-drive to the head can and does happen regardless of the bat, it's simply a part of the game. There are other sports a parent can sign their child up for after taking these risks into consideration...

It's a completely sad and tragic story. Part of the tragedy is that it was a freak accident. Millions of kids play baseball every year without getting hurt, so it's heartbreaking when something like this happens.

The story I read yesterday said the ball hit him in the chest, causing his heart to stop.

Hokiesox
05-19-2008, 09:05 PM
I'm sorry to hear about the kid. However it is not the fault of little league, sports authority or Louisiville slugger that this kid didn't catch the ball and got hurt.

True, but these metal bats are extremely dangerous. I've had my nose smashed (twice) by line drives right at me as an umpire. Trust me, it got to me FASTER than I knew what was happening. I've umpired games where only wooden bats are allowed, and the difference is like the difference between MLB and T-ball.

Personally, I'm ecstatic the bat maker is getting sued. They've known they're making dangerous bats for a long time and they do nothing about it. Perhaps the responsibility should be to the respective leagues to police the bats being used, but most are run by parents who don't spend more time in baseball than their kid, which is 6-7 years. There's no time to build knowledge of issues like this. The bat makers have been making them for years and know the statistical trends. I put more responsibility on them. The solution is not to mandate wooden bats only, but mandate bats that are more than -10 should be outlawed.

ilsox7
05-20-2008, 02:09 AM
I disagree with anyone who says this lawsuit is frivolous for a few reasons. First, I have Googled and run some legal searches and still cannot find a copy of the Complaint. That makes it more difficult to comment on a case (even more so to call it frivolous).

Second, there is a very real issue here: is the bat unreasonably defective? Again, without seeing any potential studies or precedent that the plaintiffs may cite to, it is difficult to judge.

Having said that, I think the lawsuit will fail based upon what I currently know about it. There is a good write-up here (http://thesportslawprofessor.blogspot.com/2008/05/whats-wrong-with-metal-bats.html) about the case and many issues related to it. Basically, the author (a sports lawyer) believes the case will ultimately fail b/c it is so obvious that these bats are dangerous, thus insulating the manufacturer from any liability.

So while it may be likely that the plaintiffs will not prevail, that does not mean the lawsuit is frivolous. In fact, if it helps to drive the industry in a different direction, I'd say it will have achieved one of its purposes.

Finally, it is sad that the text I bolded above may actually be the reason there is no liability. I would hope all of us could agree that something needs to be done about these "new-aged" bats.

Luke
05-20-2008, 08:50 AM
There's an a really good, really nerdy article on Popular Mechanics about the physics of baseball. It discusses how batted ball speed is impacted more by swing speed vs bat weight.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/outdoors/sports/4216783.html

I know it seems like we're hearing more and more stories like this, but given the number of players, injuries like this are still a freak occurrence. The fact is, if metal bats are removed entirely from the game, there are still going to be freak injuries, and even deaths.

AZChiSoxFan
05-20-2008, 09:12 AM
The waivers are not very strong once in court and usually do not cover willful, wanton and intentional conduct.

I'm so glad that you lawyers have been successful at convincing the American public that there's no such thing as an accident, and that nothing bad should ever happen to anyone.

Remember, it's the 99% of lawyers that give the rest of them a bad name.

AZChiSoxFan
05-20-2008, 09:16 AM
I disagree with anyone who says this lawsuit is frivolous for a few reasons. First, I have Googled and run some legal searches and still cannot find a copy of the Complaint. That makes it more difficult to comment on a case (even more so to call it frivolous).

Second, there is a very real issue here: is the bat unreasonably defective? Again, without seeing any potential studies or precedent that the plaintiffs may cite to, it is difficult to judge.

Having said that, I think the lawsuit will fail based upon what I currently know about it. There is a good write-up here (http://thesportslawprofessor.blogspot.com/2008/05/whats-wrong-with-metal-bats.html) about the case and many issues related to it. Basically, the author (a sports lawyer) believes the case will ultimately fail b/c it is so obvious that these bats are dangerous, thus insulating the manufacturer from any liability.

So while it may be likely that the plaintiffs will not prevail, that does not mean the lawsuit is frivolous. In fact, if it helps to drive the industry in a different direction, I'd say it will have achieved one of its purposes.

Finally, it is sad that the text I bolded above may actually be the reason there is no liability. I would hope all of us could agree that something needs to be done about these "new-aged" bats.

Better yet, how about we just stop allowing baseball, football, and soccer to be played all together? If we had done that a decade ago, the 3 people who died playing these sports in the past 10 years would still be alive.

GMAB.

Ragator43
05-20-2008, 09:25 AM
When I played little league (this was 8 years ago when I was 12), it was -10 and the diameter of the bat had to be was 2 1/4 inches. Nowadays I see little leaguers using a bat diameter of 2 5/8 inches or 2 3/4 inches, with it still being -10. I don't know the diameter of the bat that kid used, but I think the bat diameter being too large is extremely dangerous.

Bats larger than 2 1/4 inches in diameter aren't approved for little league. Umpires are supposed to check the equipment of both teams before the game in order to ensure that 2 5/8 or larger aren't present. Using an unapproved bat could result in ejection from the game.

ilsox7
05-20-2008, 11:02 AM
Better yet, how about we just stop allowing baseball, football, and soccer to be played all together? If we had done that a decade ago, the 3 people who died playing these sports in the past 10 years would still be alive.

GMAB.
I suggest you actually read my post and the link I included. And if you did and still posted this crap, then that's just sad.

Hokiesox
05-20-2008, 11:17 AM
There's an a really good, really nerdy article on Popular Mechanics about the physics of baseball. It discusses how batted ball speed is impacted more by swing speed vs bat weight.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/outdoors/sports/4216783.html

I know it seems like we're hearing more and more stories like this, but given the number of players, injuries like this are still a freak occurrence. The fact is, if metal bats are removed entirely from the game, there are still going to be freak injuries, and even deaths.

And a lighter bat=more swing speed. A -7 bat is not as easy to get around as a -12. a -12 in the hands of a kid can be a weapon. a -7 is not.

Hokiesox
05-20-2008, 11:23 AM
Better yet, how about we just stop allowing baseball, football, and soccer to be played all together? If we had done that a decade ago, the 3 people who died playing these sports in the past 10 years would still be alive.

GMAB.

I won't give you a break. Kids are getting hurt with these bats. they're getting hurt in ways they weren't getting hurt before these bats were being made. Would you rather we bury our heads in the sand? Kids get hurt playing baseball by getting bruises or pulled muscles or worse should a collision happen. They shouldn't get closed head injuries or compound fractures by a batted ball that rockets off a bat at a faster velocity than it does if the batter is not using a dangerous bat.

All we're saying is the injuries are more severe than they were before these bats were manufactured.

fquaye149
05-20-2008, 11:25 AM
I would say, yeah, in the old days, you could say "well that's the risk of playing sports."

But in the old days you didn't have -12 bats.

Luke
05-20-2008, 01:16 PM
And a lighter bat=more swing speed. A -7 bat is not as easy to get around as a -12. a -12 in the hands of a kid can be a weapon. a -7 is not.

I don't doubt that a -12 poses more risk than a -10 or a -7. I have no idea what % increase there is, but obviously batted ball speed is increased and a pitcher has less time to react. I didn't mean to infer otherwise.

Personally, though, I've never seen any data that indicates there's been an increase in injuries directly attributable to bats...doesn't mean it isn't happening, doesn't mean that data isn't there, I've just never seen it. There definitely seems to be more news paper stories about it though, so it's a strong possibility.

How come in this whole fiasco, no one has mentioned the varying degrees of physical maturity among little leaguers? If i remember it's ages 9-12, which includes some 13 year olds with late birthdays. That's a HUGE difference in the strength of children and -12 in the hands of a 12 or 13 year old is much, much different than a 9 year old especially one on the small side.

Hokiesox
05-20-2008, 01:37 PM
I don't doubt that a -12 poses more risk than a -10 or a -7. I have no idea what % increase there is, but obviously batted ball speed is increased and a pitcher has less time to react. I didn't mean to infer otherwise.

Personally, though, I've never seen any data that indicates there's been an increase in injuries directly attributable to bats...doesn't mean it isn't happening, doesn't mean that data isn't there, I've just never seen it. There definitely seems to be more news paper stories about it though, so it's a strong possibility.

How come in this whole fiasco, no one has mentioned the varying degrees of physical maturity among little leaguers? If i remember it's ages 9-12, which includes some 13 year olds with late birthdays. That's a HUGE difference in the strength of children and -12 in the hands of a 12 or 13 year old is much, much different than a 9 year old especially one on the small side.

I've umpired, roughly, 140 games every season for the last 10 years or so in ages from 9 years old to +30 adult leagues. The injuries are increasing. I assure you.

fquaye149
05-20-2008, 01:39 PM
a -12 bat is ridiculous. Plain and simple. In my day (lol) we used bats that were about -5 and we still rocked the ball (this was, like 1992-1995). I can only imagine if we had -12's

Iwritecode
05-20-2008, 02:23 PM
a -12 bat is ridiculous. Plain and simple. In my day (lol) we used bats that were about -5 and we still rocked the ball (this was, like 1992-1995). I can only imagine if we had -12's

I used a 34/34 bat. Sometimes I'd go down to 32/34 if I wanted a lighter bat...

Jerome
05-20-2008, 03:07 PM
I thought it was assumed that by participating in sports you risk injury?

Hokiesox
05-20-2008, 03:11 PM
I thought it was assumed that by participating in sports you risk injury?

Would you then assume that a game of 11 year olds should be slower than a high school game? Because it's not with this equipment.

champagne030
05-20-2008, 03:41 PM
Would you then assume that a game of 11 year olds should be slower than a high school game? Because it's not with this equipment.

That's a load of crap. The 12 year olds in our little league don't look much different than the Little League World Series and that resembles nothing close the level of High School ball we played.

Wouldn't College players be dropping like flies and regularly hitting 600 foot homers if the equipment made as much difference as you suggest?

I understand the ball is coming off these bats quicker, just not to the extent you exaggerate.

The article referenced by Ilsox even stated that injuries are probably not on the increase and it's not like these bats came out last month. They've been on the market for years.

turners56
05-20-2008, 03:44 PM
A -12 bat in little league is way too light. If anything, it should be the league's fault. The bat company and Sports Authority have nothing to do with this, they're just doing their job. It's up to the league and users to know what's right or good for them. Louisville Slugger and Sports Authority are not mind-readers or genies that see into the future. Lawsuits against them are completely idiotic. I feel sorry for the kid, but damn, the parents must be stupid or something.

Hokiesox
05-20-2008, 04:06 PM
That's a load of crap. The 12 year olds in our little league don't look much different than the Little League World Series and that resembles nothing close the level of High School ball we played.

Wouldn't College players be dropping like flies and regularly hitting 600 foot homers if the equipment made as much difference as you suggest?

I understand the ball is coming off these bats quicker, just not to the extent you exaggerate.

The article referenced by Ilsox even stated that injuries are probably not on the increase and it's not like these bats came out last month. They've been on the market for years.

The NCAA rule (Rule 1, section 12b) is -3. Further, the barrels of their bats can't be more than 2 3/4. That's why they aren't dropping like flies or bombing away. If they had -12 bats, what you describe probably would happen.

What I'm saying is responsible leagues have banned dangerous equipment to keep this kind of stuff from happening. Are injuries increasing? According to the study cited, no. But from my own experience the types of injuries are slowly becoming more and more serious than they were. If you find empirical data refuting my position, fine. I stand by my own experience and think banning anything more than a -7 bat to be very sound judgement.

champagne030
05-20-2008, 04:25 PM
What I'm saying is responsible leagues have banned dangerous equipment to keep this kind of stuff from happening.

Exactly. And Little League Baseball has banned the "dangerous" equipment. So, I'm not sure where the beef is coming from......

getonbckthr
05-20-2008, 04:28 PM
The NCAA rule (Rule 1, section 12b) is -3. Further, the barrels of their bats can't be more than 2 3/4. That's why they aren't dropping like flies or bombing away. If they had -12 bats, what you describe probably would happen.

What I'm saying is responsible leagues have banned dangerous equipment to keep this kind of stuff from happening. Are injuries increasing? According to the study cited, no. But from my own experience the types of injuries are slowly becoming more and more serious than they were. If you find empirical data refuting my position, fine. I stand by my own experience and think banning anything more than a -7 bat to be very sound judgement.
A bigger problem than the equipment is the parents. I coach grade school football. You wouldn't believe how many parents force "Little Johnny" to play so he ould be involved in something. The kid doesn't want to be there but the parent forces him. Then when we don't play the kid because he isn't ready the parent bitches at us. Memo to parents if your kid doesn't want to play do not make him. Most common cause for injury: not wanting to be there/ not paying attention.

downstairs
05-20-2008, 04:29 PM
The waivers are not very strong once in court and usually do not cover willful, wanton and intentional conduct.

But its neither willful, wanton, nor intentional. Its a freak accident. And I assume the waiver says something to that effect (probably in 1,000 more words).

Basically: "**** may happen, if that bothers you, don't join."

Still, that really, really sucks for his family.

Hokiesox
05-20-2008, 04:37 PM
A bigger problem than the equipment is the parents. I coach grade school football. You wouldn't believe how many parents force "Little Johnny" to play so he ould be involved in something. The kid doesn't want to be there but the parent forces him. Then when we don't play the kid because he isn't ready the parent bitches at us. Memo to parents if your kid doesn't want to play do not make him. Most common cause for injury: not wanting to be there/ not paying attention.

Amen.

Hokiesox
05-20-2008, 04:39 PM
Exactly. And Little League Baseball has banned the "dangerous" equipment. So, I'm not sure where the beef is coming from......

Because not every league has banned this stuff and how can parents know 1)this is even an issue and 2) whether their league does this and 3) whether the umpire has checked the equipment before EVERY game?

Dual layers of safety are redundant for a reason. First step should be to educate all leagues to ban these bats. Step 2 should be to ban their production. The family's lawsuit, I'm guessing, addresses both of these at the same time.

RedHeadPaleHoser
05-20-2008, 04:43 PM
A bigger problem than the equipment is the parents. I coach grade school football. You wouldn't believe how many parents force "Little Johnny" to play so he ould be involved in something. The kid doesn't want to be there but the parent forces him. Then when we don't play the kid because he isn't ready the parent bitches at us. Memo to parents if your kid doesn't want to play do not make him. Most common cause for injury: not wanting to be there/ not paying attention.

Seconded. I coached soccer and tball/baseball for my son. I did it because I loved to coach, not because my son was a star (which he wasn't). I became a glorified babysitter for some of these kids, who didn't want to be here at all....and then when I rotated them into positions where they could be injured least, I got a ration of **** because "Derrick is a shortstop". Yeah, I need a faceful of line drive off your disinterested kid to come back to haunt me.

On the original subject, the league I coached in would not allow kids to bring their own bats; instead, there was a bat pool we picked from. Some of these were so old, I retaped grips and handles just so my team could use them. I couldn't even make out the mfgr information anymore. So, pulling the bat off the market and banning it from the league will help, but not every league buys new equipment every year.

Hokiesox
05-20-2008, 04:48 PM
Out of curiosity, I pulled out my bat that I used at 10 years old in 1990, and it was a 27/24. It was one piece, no end cap. Made of aluminum. the barrel looks like it's about 2 inches around.


...No wonder I rode the pine.

gobears1987
05-20-2008, 04:53 PM
A bigger problem than the equipment is the parents. I coach grade school football. You wouldn't believe how many parents force "Little Johnny" to play so he ould be involved in something. The kid doesn't want to be there but the parent forces him. Then when we don't play the kid because he isn't ready the parent bitches at us. Memo to parents if your kid doesn't want to play do not make him. Most common cause for injury: not wanting to be there/ not paying attention.

In the video game age, parents have to force their kids to get off their butts and exercise. Playing sports is a good way to do that.

People bitch about obesity, but they don't want to do anything about it. Exercise and healthy eating are the only proven cures.

Hokiesox
05-20-2008, 05:06 PM
In the video game age, parents have to force their kids to get off their butts and exercise. Playing sports is a good way to do that.

People bitch about obesity, but they don't want to do anything about it. Exercise and healthy eating are the only proven cures.

True. but if the kid paying attention still gets his chest smashed, imagine what happens if they aren't paying attention.

champagne030
05-20-2008, 07:45 PM
Out of curiosity, I pulled out my bat that I used at 10 years old in 1990, and it was a 27/24. It was one piece, no end cap. Made of aluminum. the barrel looks like it's about 2 inches around.


...No wonder I rode the pine.

That was an old school bat.

You did peak my interest, so I pulled out my bat from high school. Graduated in 1986 and bought the bat in 1985. 33/29, capped, with a 2 5/8 barrel.

Edit: Also, I wasn't aware that some little leagues were not following official Little League rules. Everywhere I've seen that was the norm, but maybe I've been missing something.

Hokiesox
05-21-2008, 08:50 AM
Also, I wasn't aware that some little leagues were not following official Little League rules. Everywhere I've seen that was the norm, but maybe I've been missing something.

Sorry, when I say "little league," I lump together anyone under, basically, 14 (older is high school, where they have pretty strict rules) playing baseball in an organized league under that moniker. American legion is more college ball, but they have their own rule set too. I've actually never umpired for Little League International. I don't know their specific rules.