Fan Hit by Foul Ball Starts Movement
CLEVELAND – Progressive Field, the home of the Cleveland Indians, was where Keith Rawlins said he was blinded in one eye by a foul ball.
“My face exploded. I knew what had happened instantly,” said Rawlins, 46, of Rochester, New York.
Rawlins was in town for the July 20 game against the Baltimore Orioles.
He sat in Section 171, row 12, seats 5 and 6 with his 15-year-old daughter.
But in the seventh inning stretch, Rawlins said ushers started making people leave early because of the post-game fireworks show.
“I knew I had been hit by the foul ball. When I (reacted and clutched my face), I couldn’t believe the damage,” said Rawlins.
Rawlins said the ball fractured his eye socket, nose and sinus.
He underwent ten hours of surgery at MetroHealth Medical center and racked up almost $50,000 dollars in medical bills.
Rawlins said the Indians offered him a family fan pack.
“What I think is appropriate is help me erase the devastating financial hole this has put us in. Going from two incomes to one,” added Rawlins.
In what can only be described as a twist of irony, the Cleveland Indians tell Fox 8 their policy to move fans from that section on fireworks night is for the safety of the fans.
“The organization is always concerned and has sympathy for anyone injured at our ballpark. Our policy is to always reach out to those individuals to assist where we can. However, once a matter reaches the stage where there is a claim of liability or threat of litigation the Indians cannot comment further on any such pending matter,” said the Cleveland Indians in a statement on Friday.
Meantime, Rawlins has set up a facebook page, ‘Make MLB Safe for Fans,’ warning people about the dangers and consequences of taking your eye off the ball at the park.