A fan who attended a Los Angeles Angels game last season is suing the team and journeyman outfielder Juan Lagares after the player allegedly threw a baseball into the stands and struck him. He claims that he was blinded in his left eye as a result of the incident.

David Mermelstein, 55, claims that he was sitting with friends in the outfield bleachers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 22, 2022, for a game between the Angels and Kansas City Royals. He said that he was distracted eating peanuts at the end of the top of the sixth inning.

Lagares allegedly threw a ball into the stands around this time and Mermelstein could not react in time. Some reports claim that Lagares, who is no longer a member of the team, caught the last out of the frame, but the top of the sixth inning in that game ended by a double play in the infield, so it is unclear how the outfielder received a ball to throw.

In any case, Mermelstein claimed that he received surgery to repair his “ruptured” eye but it was unsuccessful. He stated that he already suffers from a degenerative eye disease in his right eye and considered his left eye to be the good one before this alleged incident.

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According to the complaint, submitted by California attorney Rob Marcereau, Mermelstein went to the game in an attempt to alleviate stress following a diagnosis for brain cancer. His father had also recently died.

“This was a man who was already at one of the lowest points of his life,” Marcereau said, according to the Orange County Register. “He went to the Angels game to get his mind off his troubles, and what should have been a good time and a diversion for him ended up being one of the most horrific experiences of his life.”

All MLB tickets include a clause with purchase which states that a fan in attendance “acknowledges and assumes all risks and dangers associated with: (a) being a spectator before, during, and after a baseball game (including all warm-ups, practices, pre-game, post-game and between-inning activities, promotions and competitions).” Mermelstein and his attorney argue that the nature of this incident fall outside these terms and conditions, however, as they consider a throw into the stands between innings “at high velocity” leaves the player and team liable for damages.

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