With their baseball-playing days behind them, the Odekirk brothers, Rick and Jeff, wanted to give young players a chance to experience what it’s like to take the field in a big-league stadium. They opened their first Big League Dreams Sports Park 20 years ago, in California, with small-scale replicas of Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, and other famous venues.
Since then, they’ve spread out across the Golden State and opened dream fields in Arizona, Nevada, and Texas as well.
Anyone who’s ever played or watched baseball knows that there’s considerable risk associated with all the fun: fast pitches, hard throws, swinging bats, line drives, collisions between opposing players on the baselines, collisions between teammates going for the same fly ball, etc. There are also some serious risks for spectators from home runs, foul balls, and overthrows into the stands.
Broken bones and concussions are ever-present threats, which is why players and spectators alike need to pay attention and be alert at all times, ready to dodge or deflect an unforeseeable, instantaneous hazard.
An errant throw caught baseball mom Rachel Teykl by surprise during a youth baseball tournament at the Big League Dreams League City facility last month. Now she’s filed suit against the sports park in Harris County District Court.
Teykl was watching her son compete in the tournament when “suddenly and without warning a baseball skipped off the top of a dugout and launched into the stands,” striking her in the temple. She was rushed to the hospital and had to have a rod “inserted under her skull to ‘pop’ the fractured bones back into place to promote re-fusion.”
According to her complaint, “The baseball was thrown from a team exercising in a ‘warm up’ area adjacent to the ball field.” Teykl argues that Big League Dreams “failed to provide a safe seating area to prevent injuries to parents and spectators alike.”
Our hearts go out to Teykl for the injury and trauma she suffered. Still, accidents do happen at ball fields – and there’s not always someone to blame.