Ex-San Francisco Giants Outfielder Sues Stadium Owner Over 2018 On-Field Concussion
On Tuesday, Jonathan “Mac” Williamson — a former San Francisco Giants outfielder — filed suit against the owner and operator of Oracle Park over a concussion he suffered in 2018 at the stadium.
According to the complaint, the 30-year-old outfielder was playing during an April 2018 game against the Washington Nationals when he crashed into the bullpen mound while running after a foul ball at full speed. The crash resulted in Williamson hitting the left-field wall headfirst.
Williamson claims that the bullpen mound’s location – being placed within the field of play – equals an act of negligence on the part of the park owners. The accident allegedly resulted in lifelong injuries, including vision problems, nausea, sleeping troubles, and mood swings, ultimately curtailing a promising career.
The lawsuit is against the China Basin Ballpark LLC. The company is a subsidiary of the Giants franchise and has both ownership and operational authority of the Oracle Park waterfront stadium.
A Wake Forest University alum, Williamson played 160 games from 2015 to 2019 throughput five MLB seasons. He was drafted by the Giants in 2012 in the third round, making his major league debut in 2015. In the five games he played in 2018 before his injury, Williamson batted .316 and hit three home runs for the Giants, according to the suit.
Following the accident, Williamson only played in 15 games with the Giants in 2019, hitting .118 before his reassignment to Seattle. He hit .182 with three home runs in 25 games for the Seattle Mariners that year. Williamson was subsequently released and played in South Korea for a period of time. He then attempted to play with the Washington Nationals in the spring but never made the team. In 2020 he did not play in any MLB games.
In 2018 the Giants were one of only three teams using bullpens within the playing field. Prior to the 2020 season, the team relocated the bullpens behind the outfield wall.
In a recorded statement released by his representatives, the ex-San Francisco Giants outfielder declared, “My injuries could have been avoided but for the park’s failure to relocate the bullpens to where they belonged in the first place.” Williamson added, “Trying to fight through the concussion over the last 2.5 years has been difficult, both personally and professionally.”
Williamson claims that he continues to experience nausea and suffers from major vision impairment. “Everyone’s career ends at some point, but to have it taken from me because the bullpen mounds were unnecessarily placed on the field is very hard to cope with,” he said.
“Since the collision, Williamson has fought through the everyday obstacles that accompany the long-term effects of concussions,” Randy Erlewine, Williamson’s lawyer, said in a statement. “He also championed the relocation of the bullpens to protect other players. 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.”
The Giants also released a statement on the matter.
“MLB and its clubs have a long-standing practice of addressing claims arising from player injuries through the collectively bargained grievance process and the workers’ compensation system,” the statement read. “Williamson’s claims are properly resolved through the grievance or workers’ compensation process, not through the courts.”