James Falzon is suing the New York Mets (and at least two individual players), Major League Baseball and the maker of Rawlings-brand bats for severe facial injuries he suffered from a flying piece of broken bat three years ago.
The lawsuit claims that the severed barrel of Mets infielder Luis Castillo's maple bat became "a dangerous projectile" and broke bones in his face during an August 7, 2007, game at the former Shea Stadium. Falzon is seeking unspecified damages, stating that more should have been done to protect fans from break-prone maple bats.
The ugly encounter occurred during a Mets game against the Atlanta Braves, as the 50-year-old Falzon was sitting with his son, his father and a nephew in second-row box seats. Falzon's injuries turned him into "a bloody mess," according to the New York Daily News, with multiple facial fractures that left him with pins in his jaw and metal plates in his face. "He was looking for the ball in the outfield when the bat slammed into his face," Falzon's lawyer William Maniatis told the paper.
A Major League Baseball committee in 2008 found that maple bats were three times more likely to break in multiple places than traditional ash bats. The league has since set new bat production standards.