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When Baseball is the Most Dangerous Game to Watch

In Atlanta Magazine, Christine Van Dusen tells the story of the Fletcher family, who sat behind the dugouts at a baseball game at Turner Field and experienced the horror of having one of their children struck by a foul ball, fracturing her skull.

Cabrera’s swing, so quick and effortless as to seem almost an afterthought, connected solid but late.

On the telecast, the ball disappears from the screen as if it were never there. How fast was it going? We don’t know for sure, but a line drive from a major league batter can easily exceed 100 miles per hour. We know some other things. We know that a baseball weighs five ounces. We know that force equals mass times acceleration. We know that Fred Fletcher’s six-year-old daughter, whom he will identify only as “A,” was sitting precisely 144 feet from home plate. The laces on her sneakers were knotted in neat bows. And she—well, not just she, but everyone around her—had less than one second to react to Cabrera’s line drive.

Less than one second.

Fred Fletchers is suing the Braves with the hope that it’ll compel them to put up more safety netting to protect fans.

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Photo: Paul Dineen