Cubs, Astros players wear their emotions after child was hit by foul ball

Mark TownsendYahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

The game between the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros took a scary turn Wednesday night after a young child was struck by a foul ball.

The incident occurred in the fourth inning when the Cubs’ Albert Almora Jr. hit a line drive beyond the netting on along the third-base line at Minute Maid Park. The incident led to a brief delay and an emotional scene as concerned players attempted to process the situation.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan was seated near the third-base dugout when the incident occurred. He provided a positive update on the child’s condition during the national broadcast.

“Down in the Cubs dugout, they were told that the child who was struck is awake, is conscious and is on the way to the hospital. That information was confirmed by ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, whose source told him that the child is getting care at a local hospital. Jesse asked his source if the signs were positive, and he was told that they were.”

After the game, which Chicago won 2-1, the Astros released a statement that understandably did not disclose any new details.

Houston resident David LeVasseur was sitting in the first row of section 111 when the baseball ricocheted in his direction. He attempted to describe the scene to the Houston Chronicle.

"He rips a line drive down the third-base line and it comes in and it looks like it hits someone hard. It bounces, comes down and hits the guy to my left off ricochet and the next thing you know it's at my feet. I pick it up and all we heard was screaming."

"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."

Cubs, Astros players get emotional

Albert Almora Jr. is comforted by Jason Heyward after a young child was injured by a foul ball off his bat in the fourth inning on Wednesday night. (Getty Images)
Albert Almora Jr. is comforted by Jason Heyward after a young child was injured by a foul ball off his bat in the fourth inning on Wednesday night. (Getty Images)

Players from both teams were shaken up by the incident. There were many concerned looks as the players glanced into the stands.

Almora understandably took it the hardest. He immediately went to one knee and needed a few moments to collect himself.

An inning later, Almora was still wearing his emotions as he sought information on the child’s condition.

Almora, who has two children of his own, said the incident “puts life into perspective.”

Protective netting would have helped

MLB put out a mandate in December 2015 that required teams to extend protective netting at their respective ballparks. By February 2018, all 30 teams had met the suggested distance by extending netting to each dugout. Some have exceeded it by going behind the dugout.

But there has still been plenty of debate over whether even that distance is enough. Wednesday's scary incident in Houston would indicate that more could be and should be done to protect all fans, and especially those who are very young.

After the game, the Cubs Kris Bryant told ESPN he believes more protection is needed around the entire ballpark to protect fans.

“I don’t know what we can do,” Bryant said. “Let’s just put fences up around the whole field. It’s so sad when you see stuff like that happen.”

Asked if he really believed fencing should be put up around the field.

“Yeah, absolutely. You can see through these fences here. There’s a lot of kids coming to the games. Young kids, wanna watch us play. And the ball’s coming hard. The speed of the game is quick. I think any safety measure we can take to make sure that fans are safe, we should do it.”

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