Fatal fall at Braves game prompts fan safety questions

ATLANTA - A baseball fan plunged to his death over the weekend from the upper deck of Atlanta's Turner Field. Fan safety is a growing issue for Major League Baseball, and this death may increase the call by critics to add safety features to the ballpark.

In the seventh inning on Saturday, Greg Murrey somehow lost his balance. The 60-year-old season ticket holder fell at least 40 feet to his death. Donnie Marley sat behind Murrey.

"The rail is low at that level if you are at a decent height and he just, [for a] lack of better words, like Superman, he had both of his hands out in front of him and his feet were straight up behind him and he went completely over the girls in front of him and completely over the rail," Marley told CBS News.

But foul balls are the ballpark's biggest threat. Every year, batted balls strike an average of 1,750 fans.

One hit a woman in the head earlier this month at Chicago's Wrigley Field. In June, a fan in Boston was critically wounded by a flying broken bat.

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CBS News

"This is a topic that is of serious concern not only to me but, you know, more importantly to all 30 owners," Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred told CBS News.

Every ballpark's safety design is tied to local building codes, which vary. But at all of them, the protective netting behind home plate stops before the dugouts, leaving fans exposed.

"You want, obviously, safety, but I don't know if having nets up around the whole place is going to, I mean, obviously it is going to make it a little bit safer but it's going to take a lot away from the game," Marley says.

The back of every ticket warns fans about the risks.

Major League Baseball, now under growing pressure, says any needed safety changes will be proposed after this season ends.

  • Mark Strassmann
    Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001 and is based in the Atlanta bureau.