Former San Francisco Giants outfielder Mac Williamson is suing the franchise over concussion-related injuries he suffered after tumbling over the home bullpen mounds and crashing into the side wall at Oracle Park on April 24, 2018 in a game against the Washington Nationals.
Williamson maintains he is still dealing with concussion symptoms more than two years later and said, "My life hasn't been the same since suffering the injury."
"The concussion ended my career and left me with life-long injuries that have also taken a significant toll on my personal life," Williamson said in a statement released by a public relations firm on behalf of Randy Erlewine, Williamson's lawyer. "I'm fortunate to have such an understanding fiance who has been there every step of the way and helps me get through the days I suffer nausea, trouble sleeping, mood swings, and other issues. I wake up every day hoping that today is a better day and that I will get closer to how I felt before the injury."
Williamson filed the lawsuit in Superior Court in San Francisco on Tuesday against China Basin Ballpark Company LLC, the owner and operator of Oracle Park which is controlled by the Giants' ownership group. The Giants' late owner, Peter Magowan, apologized to Williamson following the incident and Williamson alleges Magowan told him the mounds were located on the field against the wishes of former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.
In a statement provided to the Bay Area News Group, the San Francisco Giants said, "MLB and its clubs have a long-standing practice of addressing claims from player injuries through the collectively-bargained grievance process and workers' compensation system. Williamson's claims are properly resolved through the grievance or workers' compensation process, not through the courts."
Williamson missed a month of games following the injury, struggled upon returning to the field and ended the 2018 season on the injured list. The outfielder was designated for assignment in March, 2019, but earned the chance to rejoin the big league club with a dominant showing at Triple-A Sacramento.
Upon receiving another promotion to the big leagues from the Giants in May, 2019, Williamson called on the Giants to move the bullpen mounds off the field of play and prioritize player safety.
"What's it going to take?" Williamson asked at the time. "Is it going to take somebody to seriously, seriously get hurt? Break a neck or something? For me, there's room. Somewhere. If you take out some seats. Yeah, it sucks. You've got less capacity for fans, but you've got safety for players. You can't say you don't have room, in my opinion. There might not be an ideal spot for it. But at the end of the day, if it's important enough to you, you'll find it."
Under the direction of president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, the Giants relocated the bullpen mounds beyond the center field fence at Oracle Park ahead of the 2020 season. Williamson and his attorney say they should have never been on the field at all.
"Since the collision, Williamson has fought through the everyday obstacles that accompany the long-term effects of concussions. He also championed the relocation of the bullpens to protect other players," Erlewine said in a statement. "His injury should never have happened, and we believe that CBBC's decision to use on-field bullpens, and its failure later to move them, put his and other players' careers in jeopardy."
Williamson hit .156 with a .508 OPS in 40 games for the Giants in 2019 and spent the second half of the season with the Samsung Lions of the Korean Baseball Organization. He did not play in 2020 and is currently an unsigned free agent.
At the time of Williamson suffered his concussion, Oracle Park was one of three major league ballparks with bullpens located in foul territory. The Oakland A's and the Tampa Bay Rays still have bullpens on the field.
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