A little girl ended up hospitalized after getting hit by a foul ball off of Albert Almora Jr’s bat during a Cubs versus Astros game in Houston on May 29, leaving Almora Jr. in tears.
During the game on Wednesday, Almora hit a foul ball traveling at “approximately 100 miles per hour” that hit a little girl under the age of five in the stands, according to Today.
As soon as Almora realized what had happened, the 25-year-old “kneeled down with his head in his arms” as teammates consoled him, according to the report.
Fans & players sat in stunned silence after little girl was hit by foul ball tonight at Minute Maid Park. The #Cubs’ batter Albert Almora Jr. was devastated & checked on her later. Word is she’s going to be ok but waiting to hear from @Astros. Photos via @AP_Images #abc13 pic.twitter.com/3En6XKiCSY
— Jessica Willey (@ImJessicaWilley) May 30, 2019
“Albert is an emotional young man with children, so this made it even more real to him,” manager Joe Maddon told WMAQ. “I understood exactly what he was going through right there.”
A man rushed up the steps to the little girl as she burst into tears. The game paused while the stadium stood still and watched. Players on both teams seemed shaken up.
Even after the game ended, Almora still seemed close to tears as he haltingly answered questions for WMAQ.
“Just the way life is,” he said. “As soon as I hit it, the first person I locked eyes on was her.”
After the fourth inning, Almora approached a security guard to get an update on the little girl, according to Today.
“Right now I’m just praying and I’m speechless,” he said. “I’m at a loss for words.”
— NBC Sports Chicago (@NBCSChicago) May 30, 2019
Following the game, the Astros issued a statement about the incident.
“The young fan that was struck by a foul ball during tonight’s game was taken to the hospital,” the statement reads. “We are not able to disclose any further details at this time. The Astros send our thoughts and prayers to the entire family.”
The Astros released the following statement. Our thoughts are with the entire family. pic.twitter.com/f1VGVP1kiu
— Houston Astros (@astros) May 30, 2019
Almora added that he hopes the girl will recover and that he can be involved somehow in her life as she grows up.
“God willing I’ll be able to have a relationship with this little girl for the rest of my life,” he said. “But just prayers right now and that’s all I really can control.”
Maddon added that Almora can’t beat himself up over the incident.
“I just want him to understand that this is not under your control,” Maddon said. “There is nothing that you could have done about that differently, so please don’t blame yourself.”
He added, “Of course, it’s an awful moment, but this is a game and it’s out of your control, and you have to understand that.”
After Albert Almora Jr. struck a young fan with a foul ball, in between innings he went immediately over to that section to ask about the situation. You can see he is overwhelmed with emotion as him and the security guard have a moment. This is just a terrible & sad situation. pic.twitter.com/Yh3wWmDjhx
— Cubs Live (@Cubs_Live) May 30, 2019
The stadium at Minute Maid Park, like all major league stadiums, does have netting to protect fans near the field from foul balls. However, the little girl happened to be sitting in a part that did not have netting, according to WMAQ.
After the game, Almora was asked if he thought the netting should be extended.
“Right now obviously I want to put a net around the whole stadium,” he said.
As for teammate Jason Heyward, he said he also thought the netting should be extended, according to the report.
“Just safety,” he said. “Well-being of people, because people don’t realize how hard it is to react to a baseball. We go through that. I know they don’t get it. But it’s that hard to react to it. So it would help people. But we know we can’t control it. Stadiums know they can’t necessarily control how fast the game is. But if there’s anything they can do, I guess that would be it. I’m not the stadium police, but I don’t know any other way to stop that from happening.”
In the Cubs’ matchup against the Astros, outfielder Albert Almora Jr. hit a hard line-drive foul ball into the stands that struck a young child. Almora Jr. was visibly shaken by the incident and was consoled by teammate Jason Heyward. https://t.co/r6ciMgtvlR
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) May 30, 2019