By Ken Reed

Sandra Klatt was hit in the face at a Peoria Chiefs minor league baseball game several years ago. At the time, Dozer Park, home of the Chiefs, only had protective netting directly behind home plate. While team management has long promised to add protective netting down the foul lines past the dugouts they have yet to do so. The only protective netting remains behind home plate. According to a class action lawsuit filed by Klatt against the Peoria Chiefs, owners of Dozer Park, the stadium is one of the approximately 1% of minor league stadiums in the country without netting even above dugouts to protect fans from hard-hit foul balls and bats that fly out of hitters’ hands.

Klatt wants to attend more Chiefs games but until there’s protective netting she’s afraid to do so.

“The risk of serious injury to fans, including children, is not remote or speculative,” states the lawsuit. “It is certainty. Numerous videos document these tragic events elsewhere and the Peoria Chiefs have admitted as much in press interviews.”

Klatt is seeking “damages, declaratory relief, and an injunction requiring the installation of protective netting so that Dozer Park can join the overwhelming majority of major and minor league ballparks in this country that have netting to protect fans from the continuing injuries they will experience without it.” Klatt brings the action on behalf of “a class of fans and seeks class-wide injunctive or equitable relief in the form of installation of protective netting in Dozer Park along the first and third base lines to the foul poles.”

Peoria fans have been pushing for protective netting for several years.

League of Fans has long been advocating for protective netting at all baseball stadiums, from colleges to the minor leagues to Major League Baseball.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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