Schaumburg man blinded by foul ball sues Cubs
A Schaumburg man blinded in one eye after he was hit by a foul ball at Wrigley Field is suing the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball.
John "Jay" Loos, 60, was watching the Cubs play the Pittsburgh Pirates with his children in August when a line drive traveling up to 100 mph struck his face. He suffered several facial bone and eye injuries that led to blindness in his left eye, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in Cook County.
"I felt a rush of pain, and I lost sight in that eye immediately," Loos said during a Monday news conference at Clifford Law Offices in Chicago. "I was watching the game, but I had no chance to avoid it. It was just too fast."
The Cubs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Loos wants the Cubs and MLB to install protective netting to prevent fan injuries. According to the lawsuit, more than 1,700 fans are injured each year by baseballs flying into stands.
The lawsuit asserts that MLB and its teams could have taken steps to increase safety by extending netting along the first and third baselines.
"My life and the lives of many fans have been changed forever by Major League Baseball's failure to protect its fans," Loos said. "It's too late for me, but Major League Baseball must fix this, not after the playoffs, not next year, but now."
Loos was sitting in section 135 along the first baseline when the ball struck him in the fifth inning. He was taken to the hospital and underwent emergency surgery to repair his eye, but has not regained his vision. Loos said he's had three surgeries and expects to have at least two more.
His attorney, Colin Dunn, said the Cubs and MLB have failed to protect fans. According to the lawsuit, MLB recommended that netting be extended to the near end of the dugout and within 70 feet of home plate. Some teams, including the St. Louis Cardinals, extended the netting longer to the far end of each dugout, Dunn said.
"If the Cubs had had the same netting, Jay would not have been injured," Dunn said.
Other professional sports leagues have extended netting to protect fans. In 2002, the National Hockey League mandated netting behind goals after a 13-year-old girl died from injuries suffered when a puck hit her in Columbus, Ohio. Japanese baseball parks have netting that extends from foul pole to foul pole, according to the lawsuit.
As for attending future games, Loos said he would never sit in baseline seats again.
"If I had a seat for today's game, honestly, I would probably be at home or in a bar across the street watching," he said.