KANSAS CITY (AP) -- The Kansas City Royals aren't liable for injuries to a fan hit in the face by a hot dog that was flung into the crowd by the team's large, furry lion mascot named Sluggerrr, a jury found Wednesday.
The plaintiff, John Coomer of Overland Park, Kan., said he was "hugely disappointed" in the Jackson County jury's verdict but respected it.
Coomer's attorney said his client suffered a detached retina that required three surgeries to fix when he was hit by the wayward wiener during a September 2009 night game. He was seeking more than $25,000 in damages.
The Royals argued that Coomer, a longtime Kansas City fan who says he has attended 175 games, was sitting six rows behind the third-base dugout and should have taken more responsibility for his personal protection.
"Obviously we are happy with what the jury decided to do," Scott Hofer, a lawyer who represented the Royals, told The Kansas City Star.
Byron Shores, who played the role of Sluggerrr from February 1996 and October 2009 and flung the fateful frank, took the stand Wednesday and said he didn't recall the incident. He said he didn't even know about the accusation against him until he was fired, an action the team said was not related to the hot dog case.
While the lawsuit sought damages from the team for failing to adequately train its mascot on the proper method of throwing hot dogs, Shores testified that he spent two years traveling across the country teaching mascot classes that included safety training.
Shores, who also wore the Truman the Tiger costume for the University of Missouri and once was named Big 8 Mascot of the Year, said he always tried to toss hot dogs safely. At Kauffman Stadium, he fired some franks into the stands using an air cannon and others by hand.
Scott Hofer, a lawyer representing the Royals, showed Shores a video of a toss he made during a 2009 game and asked him to discuss the wiener's "arc" and "velocity" as it sailed away.
"I would try and put more mustard on it," Shores said. "I guess that's appropriate for a hot dog."