Spring is in the air and so are a lot of foul balls. But a recent ruling by the Idaho Supreme Court might change the way foul balls are treated at baseball games. Bud Rountree was injured while attending a Boise Hawks game with his wife and grandkids back in 2008. Rountree left his seat in the mesh netting protected section of the stadium and was talking to someone in an area not protected by netting when he heard the crowd begin to roar. That’s when Rountree turned toward the field and was stuck in the face with a foul ball. He ultimately lost an eye due to his injury.

Rountree sued the Boise Hawks, the stadium owner and others (probably the guy selling hot dogs, too), alleging their negligence was to blame for his injury.

Lawmakers in some states, including California and New Jersey, have created laws specifically to shield stadium owners from being held liable for injuries like this. But Idaho lawmakers never created such a rule and Idaho’s state court rulings on other kinds of liability cases have found that companies can’t get blanket protection from liability simply by printing a disclaimer on the back of a ticket.

What is unfortunate is that the Idaho Supreme Court had the power to adopt what is known as the “baseball rule,” and say that the holder of the ticker assumes all risk and danger incidental to the sport of baseball. The court in this case declined to do so and ruled unanimously in favor of Mr. Rountree.

It will be interesting to see how this impacts baseball and other sports, especially in light of the recent NASCAR accident that injured 33 people. Concerns over liability have ruined enough things in life. Let’s make sure it does not ruin baseball!