During tonight’s MLB game between the Chicago Cubs and the Houston Astros, fans at home were shocked to see Albert Almora Jr. look to the stands in horror after he hit a line drive foul ball down the third base side of Minute Maid Stadium.
In a clip shared on Twitter by @MikeDubsRadio, Almora is seen looking to the third baseline stands immediately after he hit a foul ball in their direction. He gasps and throws his hands over his heads as he realizes what happened, as the fans behind the plate all rise in an attempt to see what happened. The televised coverage of the game did not cut to the stands where the ball made contact and avoided replaying the scene.
Following the incident, Twitter users who were at the game used the social media platform to let fans know what had happened. An initial report from @brianmctaggart shared “Tough scene here at Minute Maid Park. Albert Almora Jr. hit a foul ball into the stands that hit a child. Almora is really shaken up. An adult ran with the child up the seats and out of view.” Subsequent tweets clarified that the child struck was a young girl.
Play was stopped on the field as Almora took to a knee and appeared to be crying as he was consoled by Joe Maddon. When he resumed his at-bat, still visibly shaken, he struck out at the plate. The Astros, who were on the field at the time, were also noticeably upset.
When he finally got a break between innings, Almora went over to the security guard working in the section of the stands where the little girl was hit and was caught on camera hugging the guard and crying.
@MarkBernachea offered an update on the little girl’s condition, writing on Twitter “According to a source that was 4 rows away and just talked to security guard. Said they are taking her to hospital for precautionary but early signs are good.”
On Reddit, user matts290 wrote “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.” The user then added that the little girl is 4 years old and “talking and awake,” and that the hug shared between Almora and the security guard was “one of joy.”
Fans and critics alike also took to Twitter to praise Almora’s handling of the incident, and the genuine care and concern he showed. Although the incident was not his fault (baseball game-goers are aware of the risks associated with sitting in a section of the stands where foul balls could potentially be hit), his shock and sadness and the impact they had on his ability to continuing playing the game served as a reminder that professional athletes, while so readily glorified by their fans, are people who experience and are overcome by emotion. @LarryMayer remarked “I’ve never seen an MLB player more distraught on field than Cubs’ Albert Almora after he hit a liner into crowd that apparently injured a young fan.”
Kyle Schwarber was praised, too, for standing in front of Almora to give him privacy as the cameras attempted to zoom in on his face as he processed what happened in the dugout.
The Cubs beat the Astros with a final score of 2-1. After the game, the Astros Twitter account shared a brief statement about the incident, which the Cubs retweeted from their own account. It said “The young fan that was struck by a foul ball during tonight’s game was taken to the hospital. We are not able to disclose any further details at this time. The Astros send our thoughts and prayers to the entire family.”