Fan Safety

OilCanShotTupac

Sunny von Bulow
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Look at how devastated Almora and the other players were. Bet he still has nightmares about it. Don't put players in the position of worrying about killing (or having killed) someone.
 

staz

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I hate netting, and I'm sorry, you can't convince me it's not distracting. You can't tell me nets that obstruct one's view of the field don't take away from the fan experience. It's fine to advocate for safety, but the "barely noticeable" argument is complete bullshit. I would hate to see entire stadiums shrouded in nets.

But obviously fan safety is a legitimate concern, and if nets are the only option, why not have the first few rows down past 1st and 3rd designated as 'unprotected,' sell them as such, and require fans in that area to bring a glove or wear a helmet? ... like the ballgirl, who is in the line of fire every pitch and never gets injured.
 

YTF

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I hate netting, and I'm sorry, you can't convince me it's not distracting. You can't tell me nets that obstruct one's view of the field don't take away from the fan experience. It's fine to advocate for safety, but the "barely noticeable" argument is complete bullshit. I would hate to see entire stadiums shrouded in nets.

But obviously fan safety is a legitimate concern, and if nets are the only option, why not have the first few rows down past 1st and 3rd designated as 'unprotected,' sell them as such, and require fans in that area to bring a glove or wear a helmet? ... like the ballgirl, who is in the line of fire every pitch and never gets injured.
You can't be serious.
 

canderson

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No link but the White Sox announced today they’re installing netting foul pole to foul pole.
 

Max Power

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The juiced balls are definitely traveling faster these days, but not by enough to really make a difference. Fly balls are going around 5% farther, so they're probably coming off the bat around 5% faster. To a fan in the stands there isn't an effective difference between 100 and 105MPH. And you'll never soften them up by enough to protect someone and not make the game completely different. Having pitchers wear facemasks would be a better solution if you're that worried about something that happens once a decade.

What bothers me about the nets is that they were installed seemingly without any data to back up where to put them. Every single batted ball is tracked - you'd think there would be information about the most likely places for them to go. But they were just put up in a reactive manner to a couple of fan injuries around the same time. Teams first extended them out to the dugouts and not very tall, but balls are pretty much impossible to hit very hard between the backstop and the dugout. At Fenway, the most dangerous spots seem to be right past the dugout and the third base boxes that jut out into the field, but they didn't protect the latter until year 2 or 3 and the former is not really protected since they don't want to make the nets tall enough to get in the way of the view from the luxury boxes.

A bigger problem is that the fields weren't built with these protections in mind. So you have some crazy cabling system to hold them up at all different angles. Those impact the view of many, many seats that aren't behind the screen at all. Teams are already seeing drops in attendance in part because you get a better view of the game on your giant HDTV. Throwing up even more obstructions makes the live experience even less desirable. It may be the right thing to do for fan safety anyway, but they clearly make the view worse and impact the value of the tickets.
 

8slim

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The hockey rink my son plays at has netting from the top of the glass to the ceiling all around the ice. The netting is white. It takes about 20 seconds to get used to watching the game through it. The debate about obstruction seems ludicrous to me.
 

dhappy42

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Oct 27, 2013
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The hockey rink my son plays at has netting from the top of the glass to the ceiling all around the ice. The netting is white. It takes about 20 seconds to get used to watching the game through it. The debate about obstruction seems ludicrous to me.
That’s what I was getting at. There’s gotta be a way to make netting less visually noticeable. Thinner but stronger string, grey string, white or clear like fishing line.
 

The Needler

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Dec 7, 2016
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You can't be serious.
They literally do this exact thing in the Tokyo Dome. The “excite seats” are the (expensive) box seats down the line, are the only seats from pole to pole without netting, and come with either a helmet or a glove.
 

dhappy42

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Oct 27, 2013
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They literally do this exact thing in the Tokyo Dome. The “excite seats” are the (expensive) box seats down the line, are the only seats from pole to pole without netting, and come with either a helmet or a glove.
The Tokyo Dome also has young women wearing halter tops and hot pants with kegs of whiskey strapped to their backs serving drinks. No idea if they serve fans in the “excite seats” though.
 

The Needler

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Oh, then that puts a whole new paint job on things.
Yes, those backwards Japanese and the idea that people should be able to knowingly and voluntarily choose to assume a risk have no relevance to this great country.
 

Max Power

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The hockey rink my son plays at has netting from the top of the glass to the ceiling all around the ice. The netting is white. It takes about 20 seconds to get used to watching the game through it. The debate about obstruction seems ludicrous to me.
There are many differences between hockey netting and baseball netting. Baseball has more wires, viewing at greater angles, and glare/reflections from the sun. But even if they were exactly the same, it's ludicrous to think that everyone observes things exactly like you.
 

santadevil

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There are many differences between hockey netting and baseball netting. Baseball has more wires, viewing at greater angles, and glare/reflections from the sun. But even if they were exactly the same, it's ludicrous to think that everyone observes things exactly like you.
I think of it like this. Playing hockey growing up, you had the full wire cage. You do not notice it after a quick adjustment period. Your brain ignore the small obstructions and it doesn't affect your view of anything. And that's an inch or two from your eyes, not dozens of feet away with thinner mesh and bigger holes
 

Winger 03

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Here is an article referenceing the seats in the Japanese ballparks.




I hate netting, and I'm sorry, you can't convince me it's not distracting. You can't tell me nets that obstruct one's view of the field don't take away from the fan experience. It's fine to advocate for safety, but the "barely noticeable" argument is complete bullshit. I would hate to see entire stadiums shrouded in nets.

But obviously fan safety is a legitimate concern, and if nets are the only option, why not have the first few rows down past 1st and 3rd designated as 'unprotected,' sell them as such, and require fans in that area to bring a glove or wear a helmet? ... like the ballgirl, who is in the line of fire every pitch and never gets injured.
 

StupendousMan

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The Tokyo Dome also has young women wearing halter tops and hot pants with kegs of whiskey strapped to their backs serving drinks. No idea if they serve fans in the “excite seats” though.
The kegs on their backs are full of beer. They carry small containers of whiskey in trays strapped to the front of their outfits.
 

cadeni01

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Aug 15, 2009
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Some work needs to be done to find the least obtrusive way to extend netting, but we we can't accept 2-year-olds with skull fractures and seizures as acceptable risk. That kid could very well have seizure/migraine issues the rest of her life.

Sorry if that takes away from your fan experience, but children getting brained with 100 mph liners takes away from my fan experience.
 

santadevil

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And yet, it's still pretty bad

Some work needs to be done to find the least obtrusive way to extend netting, but we we can't accept 2-year-olds with skull fractures and seizures as acceptable risk. That kid could very well have seizure/migraine issues the rest of her life.

Sorry if that takes away from your fan experience, but children getting brained with 100 mph liners takes away from my fan experience.
Agreed
 

CPT Neuron

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Some work needs to be done to find the least obtrusive way to extend netting, but we we can't accept 2-year-olds with skull fractures and seizures as acceptable risk. That kid could very well have seizure/migraine issues the rest of her life.

Sorry if that takes away from your fan experience, but children getting brained with 100 mph liners takes away from my fan experience.

This is a tragedy, 100% for sure, but some (more than some in my estimation) of this falls on the shoulders of the adults who brought a 2 year old to the game and sat in high risk seats.....they need (or needed) be be more diligent, or just make a better choice, perhaps not sit in a high risk section. If you as a parent decide to take that risk, then you damn well better be ready to do whatever is necessary to protect your kid from any harm.
 

keninten

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Nov 24, 2005
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This is a tragedy, 100% for sure, but some (more than some in my estimation) of this falls on the shoulders of the adults who brought a 2 year old to the game and sat in high risk seats.....they need (or needed) be be more diligent, or just make a better choice, perhaps not sit in a high risk section. If you as a parent decide to take that risk, then you damn well better be ready to do whatever is necessary to protect your kid from any harm.
I agree with what you are saying but the ball club should also realize it`s a high risk area. A casual fan may not think about it at all. When buying a seat in a high risk area something should be communicated to the buyer.
 

Ale Xander

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Oct 31, 2013
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I've come around on this. More netting/protection is needed. The league/team is in the better position to gauge and mitigate risk, than the parent. Infants/toddlers getting brain injuries at an entertainment event is too much.
 

maufman

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I agree with what you are saying but the ball club should also realize it`s a high risk area. A casual fan may not think about it at all. When buying a seat in a high risk area something should be communicated to the buyer.
Teams are hesitant to tell fans they are sitting in high-risk areas because that implies that other seats are low-risk, when the message should be that everyone needs to be at least somewhat vigilant.

I’m in favor of expanded netting, but there will always be some risk at the margins, and precautionary measures will never eliminate the need for fans with young children to exercise a modicum of common sense.
 

Pandarama

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Aug 20, 2018
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Teams are hesitant to tell fans they are sitting in high-risk areas because that implies that other seats are low-risk, when the message should be that everyone needs to be at least somewhat vigilant.

I’m in favor of expanded netting, but there will always be some risk at the margins, and precautionary measures will never eliminate the need for fans with young children to exercise a modicum of common sense.
Before the netting mandate, there used to be signs in Seattle for the fans in high-risk seats. I don’t recall the exact wording, but it was something like, “You are close to the action. Beware bats and balls leaving the field.” Before the game, there would be an announcement on the PA to the effect, “if you’re afraid of getting clocked by a bat or ball leaving the field, take your ticket to guest service for a free swap to a seat in the 300 level.”

If that poor kid’s parents had seen those signs and heard that announcement, do you really think that would have made a difference? Bad things never happen to US.
 

geoduck no quahog

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Would you hold a 2 year old in your lap sitting in courtside seats at an NBA game?

How about in bleacher seats along the 1st baseline at an amateur baseball game?

At what point does personal responsibility enter into things? That's not to say there should be no protection, but baseballs go into stands all the time. Sometimes the guy next to you jumps up and crashes on top of his neighbor, etc. The response should be data driven and reasonable. Line drives are different than pop-ups. The time it takes for a batted ball to enter a section of the stands is relevant. Most of all, you can't protect people against everything and rationality should prevail.

I think the key involves expectations of safety. Walking out on a jetty during a gale means you expect to be in danger and should act accordingly. Closing a jetty to all comers at all times means people who accept danger are banned even in the most benign conditions. My global concern is that as more and more things are made idiot-proof, thinking like an idiot becomes the norm.

A (albeit) stupid example: all holes in construction floors need to be covered and safe to walk on and if not covered, then surrounded by barriers. It used to be that one never walked around without looking down and ensuring your next step was safe - and you never took a step backwards. Now, with the expectation of safety, that habit's been lost - with predictable results. The issue isn't fall protection, it's the attitude by some that they're fail-safe protected and no longer need to pay attention. Ideally you'd have both - safety measures and the attitude that you're still responsible. This is a tough issues in public places.

In short, being anti-netting because it ruins your view is a poor excuse. Being anti-netting if you need to cater to the lowest common denominator is more relevant. Put netting where it belongs - but don't go down the road where an entire stadium is barricaded. Base it on common sense. Hard to argue against that...
 

drleather2001

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A team that admits there are "high risk areas" is a team that has admitted it is aware of the high risk and has decided to do nothing about it. Yet (as others have mentioned) still engages in distracting phenomena which is (as I'm sure court records would show) predominantly aimed at the younger demographics.

Teams want to have it both ways: cater towards kids and families and also not talk too much about safety aspects. My guess is that within a year there will be a mandate to extend the netting. This is a PR fight they don't need to be having.
 

geoduck no quahog

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My biggest issue with fan safety: How many people are being driven crazy by all that artificial noise and pinball machine lighting between pitches?

Mental illness is always the poor stepchild of medical care.
 

Pandarama

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Aug 20, 2018
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A team that admits there are "high risk areas" is a team that has admitted it is aware of the high risk and has decided to do nothing about it.
Huh?

They admit it on the back of every ticket they sell.

Have you read one lately? The Holder voluntarily assumes all risks incident to attending a game of Baseball, whether occurring before, during, or after the game, including specifically (but not exclusively) the danger of being injured by bats, balls or other objects leaving the field, or by others in attendance. The Holder agrees that Major League Baseball, the Seattle Mariners (the “Club”) and its opponent, and the Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District, and all individuals affiliated with such organizations, are not liable for injuries, expenses, claims or liabilities resulting from such causes.

And if you'll read my earlier post #75, you'll see that they did quite a great deal more than nothing to acknowledge and offer to mitigate that risk. But people assume bad things won't happen to them.
 

staz

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If you believe, as Manfred does, that a more precise centering of the ball's pill is causing less drag, higher exit velocities (with more home runs and fan injuries a result) isn't part of the solution returning to a slightly off-center pill? At least until sufficient netting is in place? Unless I am completely missing the posts, I'm surprised this revelation by MLB as related to fan injuries hasn't been discussed in here. And I'm blown away that MLB attorneys apparently didn't consider the potential liability this admission represents.
 

Gdiguy

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Huh?

They admit it on the back of every ticket they sell.

Have you read one lately? The Holder voluntarily assumes all risks incident to attending a game of Baseball, whether occurring before, during, or after the game, including specifically (but not exclusively) the danger of being injured by bats, balls or other objects leaving the field, or by others in attendance. The Holder agrees that Major League Baseball, the Seattle Mariners (the “Club”) and its opponent, and the Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District, and all individuals affiliated with such organizations, are not liable for injuries, expenses, claims or liabilities resulting from such causes.

And if you'll read my earlier post #75, you'll see that they did quite a great deal more than nothing to acknowledge and offer to mitigate that risk. But people assume bad things won't happen to them.
It’s on the back of every ticket in tiny print along with a ton of legalese - what fraction of people do you think read that?

If upon selecting tickets at the machine a pop-up said “do you have young children attending with you? these seats require full attention because foul balls can cause skull fractures” would people still buy them? If no, I think the ‘it’s on the back of the ticket’ argument is a cop-out
 

scott bankheadcase

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I’ve made this point before but: the average age of a mlb fan is 58 years old. The average age of an nba fan is 41.

MLB is playing a short game with the fan safety. If people aren’t taking their kids to games because of the danger this will get worse for them.
 

scott bankheadcase

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I think multiple people in this thread have made a case for people not bringing their kids to games because of danger.

I think the press around this issue will have an effect on people taking their kids to games because of danger.
 

dhappy42

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Oct 27, 2013
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I think multiple people in this thread have made a case for people not bringing their kids to games because of danger.

I think the press around this issue will have an effect on people taking their kids to games because of danger.
There are plenty of seats at every ballpark where fans are at zero risk of being struck by a ball or bat. Most seats are perfectly safe.
 

cadeni01

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Aug 15, 2009
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There are plenty of seats at every ballpark where fans are at zero risk of being struck by a ball or bat. Most seats are perfectly safe.
Sure, but you'd be surprised at how poorly casual fans are at differentiating between the safe and dangerous seats. My wife is an English teacher, and a few years ago, her department planned a meet-up at a Louisville Bats game, families included. It was obviously going to be a casual event, with a number of non-fans attending for the social aspect. The section they bought tickets in was 10-15 rows deep behind 3rd base. The organizers had no idea. Nor did anyone in attendance before I mentioned that we better keep our heads up. Sure enough we had 5 or 6 screamers in our direction that luckily only scared the hell out of people. You can't assume everyone's going to know where the dangerous areas to bring a kid are, and MLB really wants people to continue bringing kids to ballgames. Extend the damn nets.
 

dhappy42

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Sure, but you'd be surprised at how poorly casual fans are at differentiating between the safe and dangerous seats. My wife is an English teacher, and a few years ago, her department planned a meet-up at a Louisville Bats game, families included. It was obviously going to be a casual event, with a number of non-fans attending for the social aspect. The section they bought tickets in was 10-15 rows deep behind 3rd base. The organizers had no idea. Nor did anyone in attendance before I mentioned that we better keep our heads up. Sure enough we had 5 or 6 screamers in our direction that luckily only scared the hell out of people. You can't assume everyone's going to know where the dangerous areas to bring a kid are, and MLB really wants people to continue bringing kids to ballgames. Extend the damn nets.
No, I wouldn’t be surprised. My only point is that if you want a safe seat at a ballpark, there are plenty of them.
 

cadeni01

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Aug 15, 2009
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No, I wouldn’t be surprised. My only point is that if you want a safe seat at a ballpark, there are plenty of them.
You're missing the point. I grew up immersed in the game. I take my 18-month-old daughter to games, because I want her to love it as much as I do. And I know where it's safe for her. But you can't expect the average fan to have that knowledge. And if we want baseball to grow, people need to be comfortable taking their kids to games. And right now, lots of people aren't comfortable. And I can hardly blame them.
 

dhappy42

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Oct 27, 2013
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You're missing the point. I grew up immersed in the game. I take my 18-month-old daughter to games, because I want her to love it as much as I do. And I know where it's safe for her. But you can't expect the average fan to have that knowledge. And if we want baseball to grow, people need to be comfortable taking their kids to games. And right now, lots of people aren't comfortable. And I can hardly blame them.
I’m not the one missing the point. I don’t expect all fans to know which seats are safe for small kids. Or safe for anyone. Again, all I’m saying is that there are plenty of safe seats at ballparks. If people want to buy tickets in safe sections it’s easy to do. I’m not making an argument against netting.
 

cadeni01

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Aug 15, 2009
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Louisville, KY
If people want to buy tickets in safe sections it’s easy to do. I’m not making an argument against netting.
It's easy to do for you and I. We know the safe sections. It's not so easy if you didn't grow up with the game and are just trying to have a fun night at the ballpark with your kids.
 

dhappy42

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Oct 27, 2013
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It's easy to do for you and I. We know the safe sections. It's not so easy if you didn't grow up with the game and are just trying to have a fun night at the ballpark with your kids.
Disagree. It’s very easy. Buy tickets in the upper decks or back rows of the grandstands. Or bleachers seats. The cheap seats are almost always safe. Or box seats close up behind the screen. This is all common sense and requires almost zero baseball knowledge.
 

djbayko

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If you believe, as Manfred does, that a more precise centering of the ball's pill is causing less drag, higher exit velocities (with more home runs and fan injuries a result) isn't part of the solution returning to a slightly off-center pill? At least until sufficient netting is in place? Unless I am completely missing the posts, I'm surprised this revelation by MLB as related to fan injuries hasn't been discussed in here. And I'm blown away that MLB attorneys apparently didn't consider the potential liability this admission represents.
It's still just an idea which hasn't been proven, and they aren't even sure what the cause of the better centering could possibly be. The pill hypothesis came out as a possible next area for investigation from the initial study after they ran out of time and failed to find the cause for the higher velocities.
 

cadeni01

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Disagree. It’s very easy. Buy tickets in the upper decks or back rows of the grandstands. Or bleachers seats. The cheap seats are almost always safe. Or box seats close up behind the screen. This is all common sense and requires almost zero baseball knowledge.
It's common knowledge to you and I, because we know the game. It wasn't common knowledge to the person organizing my wife's school's outing, because they just wanted to get good seats. It 100% requires baseball knowledge. If you're in the section between 3rd and home, you're unlikely to get any hard-hit fouls. If you're in the very next section behind third, you're in a dangerous area.

Also, the danger is just as real in minor league parks. Where they're all "cheap seats", and more likely to attract people attending games as a social event.
 
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Lose Remerswaal

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And you've just proved my point, but probably not intentionally: Even though there is danger, folks are still buying the tickets. Whether it's due to not being concerned enough to not go, or due to ignorance, that's not keeping you away
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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It's common knowledge to you and I, because we know the game. It wasn't common knowledge to the person organizing my wife's school's outing, because they just wanted to get good seats. It 100% requires baseball knowledge. If you're in the section between 3rd and home, you're unlikely to get any hard-hit fouls. If you're in the very next section behind third, you're in a dangerous area.

Also, the danger is just as real in minor league parks. Where they're all "cheap seats", and more likely to attract people attending games as a social event.
The safest seats at minor league parks are usually the closest seats to the field because there's a net. I've attended a few games at Hadlock Field this year with my 70 year old father. The first game we were in box seats behind the 1B dugout and he was disappointed by the netting because he wanted to catch a foul ball and had assumed he'd be in prime position. The subsequent games we sat in the general admission bleachers that mostly are above the netting and we witnessed some screaming liners over the top of the net that almost always caught the folks in the target area by surprise. No serious injuries that I'm aware of but this is where most of the groups (business outings, youth sports outings, school outings, etc) sit. Half the kids are playing around paying no attention the field. It wouldn't take much for one of them to get clocked in the back of the head by a ball.

Incidentally, I did catch a foul ball in the last game we went to. I caught it on the rebound after it hit the facade of the press/luxury boxes hard enough to bound back to me eight rows down from them (had to be 100 mph). Dad didn't react fast enough to even turn around to contest me for the ball, and he never takes his eye off the field. In a big league park, there are seats where that ball struck and there's no way anyone sitting there would think the warnings about balls and bats flying applied to them. They're "too far away". I've been resistant to the idea of netting but I've come around. The benefits outweigh the risks.