The Warning Track
The space just before the outfield wall is designed to provide a warning to ballplayers that they are getting close to coming into contact with the wall. There is no universally accepted size of a warning track. In Major League Baseball, it is supposed to be 15 feet in width. In some instances, it might be a little as 6 feet in width.
Some outfield walls have padding to protect players from a collision. Other outfield walls serve simply as a boundary and offer no protection if a collision occurs. Most outfield walls bear some sort of signage acknowledging the support of local businesses.
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The warning track is so important because the players’ eyes are looking upward, but their feet are telling them they are about to be out of room.
The best strategy for players to avoid a collision with the wall is to become familiar with the nuances of the playing field and know exactly how much room there is on the warning track. The best players do not shy away from the warning track but embrace the confines of their environment.
Good claims handling has many similarities to the role of an outfielder when a ball is hit to the warning track.
Some fly balls are high, loopy and are easier to catch. Other fly balls are sharply hit screamers that require the outfielder to make split second decisions about angle and velocity to try and make the catch. The last thing anyone wants is to run into the outfield wall while running at full speed.
In today’s legal environment, we are seeing more situations where the opponent is “swinging for the fences” regardless of the likely value of the claim at trial. In defending against these situations, we recommend taking the time to learn the nuances of the warning track in the venue where your claim is pending.
A fly ball to the warning track at Minute Maid Park must be handled differently than a fly ball to the warning track at Plano Senior High School.
Either way, a fly ball to the warning track is still an out if caught.