While batting against Wade Miley in the 4th inning Wednesday night, Albert Almora Jr. fouled a cutter into the stands. If you had glanced away for just a second or were just flipping back from American Ninja Warrior, you’d have thought he’d fouled a ball off his foot or some other sensitive area. After all, the broadcasters offered nothing in the way of description.
The whole ballpark had gone oddly quiet as well and players from both teams coming over to console Almora confirmed that something was not right. The outfielder, who has two small children, was shaken up because his foul ball had struck a child — reportedly a 4-year-old girl — in the stands.
That was tough to see. Hard liner into the stands from Almora apparently hit a small child. Albert was clearly shaken up and took a knee as Heyward, who was on deck, talked to him. Maddon came out as well and Javy came of second to talk to him. Awful. Hope the child is all right
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) May 30, 2019
Upon returning to the field, Almora made his way over to the security guard near the area where the child was struck and sobbed into his glove while the woman consoled him. It was initially surprising that he was able to stay in the game at all, though subsequent updates revealed that his tears may not have been of fear and sadness.
A really tough scene at Minute Maid Park over the last inning. Albert Almora Jr. of the Cubs hit a hard line-drive foul into the stands that hit a young child. Almora Jr. was extremely shaken up and after the next half inning, he was consoled by MMP security personnel. pic.twitter.com/2hfHX4hvNd
— SportsTalk 790 (@SportsTalk790) May 30, 2019
The following comes from redditor Matts290, who shared updates in the Astros’ game thread.
She is going be OK according to my mom. She was 4 rows away and just talked to security guard who said they are taking her to hospital for precautionary reasons but early signs are good.
Edit: Little girl is 4. She is talking and awake. Security let Almora know too and he was emotional and thankful.
Edit 2: the Almora hug with female security guard was one of joy. That female security guard is who gave my mom the update. She is 2nd row on the 3rd baseline.
Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle spoke with David LeVasseur, the fan who recovered the ball that hit the young girl, shortly after the incident. Though Rome was not able to get a direct update on the child’s health, the initial reports seem to corroborate those above.
“All we heard was screaming,” LeVasseur explained. “We saw this dad pick up a child and run up the stairs. He took off running.”
“I (came) upstairs and see the first-aid guys up there and the dad is holding the girl. She (was) alert, she’s conscious, she’s fine. I was just going to give somebody in the family the ball. They kind of, naturally, shook it off. I asked the first-aid guy if she was OK and he said he didn’t know.”
All we can do at this point is hope these reports are accurate and that the girl is indeed perfectly fine. Let’s also hope MLB considers extending the protective netting even farther than just the end of the dugout. While I understand the importance of being vigilant, there’s something to be said for protecting fans.