Former Giant Mac Williamson sues Oracle Park owners after 2018 diving crash

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Photo Courtesy of Mercury News

Kiana Thelma Devera, Sports Editor

During the bottom of the sixth inning of the Apr. 24, 2018 game against the Washington Nationals, the former San Francisco Giants left fielder, Jonathan “Mac” Williamson had crushed a 423-foot blast straight into left field making it his third home run of that season. The score was left to be 4-3 in the Giants favor and ultimately a win by the end of the night. 

That very same game, however, only an inning before, the right handed hitter had chased a fly ball hit by Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper into foul territory, only to have tripped on the pitching mound placed there and collide straight into the sidewall barrier. 

On Nov. 10, 2020, it was made known to the public that Williamson had filed a lawsuit in the San Francisco Superior Court against the China Basin Baseball Park Company LLC which owns and operates the waterfront stadium. His intent, he said, according to KPIX CBS SF Bay Area, is to hold the park owners accountable for taking away his career and carelessly risking the careers of every other great ballplayer that plays on their homefield. 

“My life hasn’t been the same since suffering the injury,” Williamson said in a statement through this attorney, Randy Erlewine.

After that fateful game, the then rising star outfielder had only played 38 more games with the team, cutting his promising career short due to said situation which he had little control over. The late owner Peter Magowan had even apologized to Williamson months after the incident.

“The concussion ended my career and left me with life-long injuries that have also taken a significant toll on my personal life,” said Williamson. “I’m fortunate to have such an understanding fiancé who has been there every step of the way and helps me get through the days [where] 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.”

Oracle Park, which had been called AT&T Park at the time, had been one out of three teams — which included the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays — that had bullpens on the field. This past summer after 20 years of the park’s existence, the mounds have begun relocating behind the centerfield fence to avoid incidents such as this in the future. 

“…Williamson’s claims are properly resolved through the grievance or workers’ compensation process, not through the courts,” the Giants said in their statement according to KPIX CBS SF Bay Area. 

While apologies can be made for Williamson’s poor performance for the remainder of his career, such words cannot encapsulate the devastating consequences of an injury that can permanently affect the rest of one’s life. Many others like Williamson, including Brandon Drury from the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2016 and Ramón Flores from the Milwaukee Brewers during the same year, have attempted to make basic plays but have tripped up because of a poorly placed bullpen. These players are executing plays that could have been their last with the remainder of their life constantly dealing with concentration and memory problems, personality changes, light and noise sensitivity and a long list of many more symptoms. 

The home of the SF Giants has many staples that hold a special place in the hearts of many fans — from the statues that scatter the outside of the ballpark, the Barry Bonds Junior Giants Field, McCovey Cove, the oversized old-fashioned glove, the towering Coca-Cola bottle slide and even the Ghirardelli pop up shop just to name a few. The pounds of dirt sitting behind the left and right field foul lines on the other hand, however, are not. While this needless placing of a simple stack of sand, silt and clay may not have severely injured many other players such as Williamson, it has for years been a safety hazard for all and with moves to rid of it, the other two ballparks should as well.