People have been severely injured at Major League Baseball games, landing them in the hospital with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. However, the teams, the players, the staff nor the owners are on the hook for any of those expenses. The “Baseball Rule” is a legal doctrine that owners and operators of baseball facilities/stadiums have a limited duty to protect fans from the risk of being hit by a foul ball and that spectators assume that risk because it is an inherent danger associated with attending a baseball game. One New York City pizza shop owner wants a little more than the baseball he got smacked with.

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According to Natalie O'Neill of nypost.com, Paul Giannone, owner of Paulie Gee's, was sitting in section 117A at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night as the Pinstripes took on the Mariners. In the bottom of the seventh, with Aaron Judge at the plate, Giannone saw the “high pop” foul ball and scrambled to protect his wife. “As I got up — bang! — it hit me in the head,” Giannone told nypost.com. “I saw stars. People were asking if I knew what day it was, if I knew my name. I bled into my hat.”

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According to the article, stadium workers gave Paulie Gee some ice and one person gave him the ball that hit him. That was nice. Giannone said he was ushered out of the stands to a “standing ovation.” Now, the injured Yankees fan would like something from the team for his troubles. “I got a concussion,” Giannone told O'Neill. “I have a big scab on my head…I still have ringing in my ears. I want Aaron Judge to sign the ball he hit me with. I think that’s fair.” Paulie Gee even added, “I’d love it even more for him to come to my shop.”

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The Yankees, nor Aaron Judge, have to do anything for Paulie Gee. If you want to read the legal reason, an excerpt of the Supreme Court decision is below. It may not seem like a big deal to have Judge at least comply and sign the ball, however, think about the precedent that establishes. It will be fun to see what the Yankees do.

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According to "The Baseball Rule" on nfhs.org, "A 1942 Missouri Supreme Court decision, Hudson v. Kansas City Baseball Club, that relied on previous lower court decisions during the first four decades of the 20th century which concluded that because of the high frequency of foul balls flying into the stands and injuring fans, the danger was common knowledge to most attendees at games and teams had the legal obligation only to provide 1) a reasonable number of protected seats and 2) reasonable warnings of foul ball risks to spectators, responsibilities that were fulfilled by erecting a backstop directly behind home plate and communicating oral or written cautions regarding the danger, a mandate courts considered to be satisfied by ballpark signage and language included on waivers printed (albeit in microscopic fonts) on the back of tickets."

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