KANSAS CITY — Baseball fans who sit six rows behind the third-base dugout at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium know there's a chance they might have to duck a few foul balls from time to time.
But a Kansas man said it was a flying hot dog, not a baseball, that almost put his eye out while watching a Royals game late last summer.
John Coomer filed a lawsuit against the Kansas City Royals earlier this month seeking more than $25,000 for injuries he sustained Sept. 8 when he was smacked in the eye with a hot dog chucked into the seats by the team's mascot, Sluggerrr.
Coomer said the wayward wiener caused a detached retina and the development of cataracts in his left eye, forcing him to undergo two eye surgeries. In his lawsuit, Coomer claims he suffered permanent impairment of his vision and is at a greater risk of future eye problems.
Royals spokesman David Holtzman said the team does not comment on pending litigation. He also declined to discuss whether the lawsuit is the reason the team is looking for a replacement for its large lion mascot.
"We're not going to comment on any legal issues," Holtzman told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "This is a pending investigation, a legal matter."
In his petition, filed Feb. 8 in Jackson County Circuit Court, Coomer says he was attending a Royals game when Sluggerrr climbed on top of the third-base dugout and started shooting hot dogs into the stands with an air gun.
The mascot then put down the air gun and began heaving hot dogs into the stands, including one he threw behind his back, striking Coomer in the eye as he sat six rows from the dugout.
In addition to seeking restitution for medical expenses, Coomer is seeking damages for the team's failure to adequately train its mascot on the proper method of throwing hot dogs.
The suit accuses Sluggerrr of battery because he intentionally threw the wiener that struck Coomer's face and caused bodily harm.
Coomer's attorney, Scott A. Wissel, said he wasn't commenting on the lawsuit and had advised his client to avoid speaking to the media.