Kansas City Royals mascot Sluggerrr has been cleared of any wrongdoing in a hot dog tossing incident. Yes, that's a real thing that happened in a Jackson County courtroom.
The whole situation started at a 2009 game. During a mid-inning hot dog toss, Sluggerrr hit a fan, John Coomer, in the eye with a foil-encased dog. Coomer suffered a detached retina due to the toss, and decided to sue the Royals for negligence.
During the first trail, the jury found Coomer to be 100 percent at fault due to the "baseball rule." Prior to nearly every game, a team will warn fans to "be alert for flying bats and balls." If fans aren't alerted on the video board, there are typically signs posted around the stadium with a similar message. The first jury ruled that Coomer should have been paying better attention during the hot dog toss.
Coomer appealed, however, and it turns out that neither he nor Sluggerrr are at fault for the incident. Coomer argued that while the "baseball rule" applies during innings, it doesn't account for mid-inning breaks, according to Brian Burnes of the Kansas City Star.
“We have a beautiful new stadium with a lot of things to look at,” Coomer said. “We were looking at the scoreboard and ribbon boards. I understand what happens within a game, during the course of action, with bats and balls. This has nothing to do with that.”
He is not advocating that the hot dog launch be retired, Coomer added.
“I just think they could be done responsibly.”
Byron Shores, the man who portrayed Sluggerrr for around 14 years, had to testify during the hearing. He said he was just trying to do his job when he hit Coomer with a "no-look, behind the back" throw.
Due to his injuries, Coomer has had to pay around $16,000 in medical expenses since 2009.
“I was injured at the game, by their hand, and I was hoping that I could get at least my medical expenses taken care of,” he said.
Now that he's lost twice, Coomer says he does not plan to sue again. Coomer's attorney, Bob Tormohlen, said he's hoping Major League Baseball will use more caution moving forward.
“We always viewed this as a case of fan safety,” Tormohlen said. “If baseball teams are going to have their employees throwing things to their fans, it’s been our position all along that they should do so in a careful manner, which didn’t happen in this case.”
There you have it. After six years and two trials, Sluggerrr has finally been acquitted. He's now free to continue throwing hot dogs, albeit more carefully, to his loving fans.
Sure, he was cleared of any wrongdoing, but this whole Sluggerrr situation has us wondering what the other mascots around the league are hiding. What secrets are buried in Mr. Met's past? Was he the brains behind the Madoff scandal? We want answers!
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