It’s not very often we’re used to seeing baseball players reduced to tears on the field, which is exactly what happened during Wednesday’s match between the Chicago Cubs and the Houston Astros.
Albert Almora Jr. fell to his knees and began sobbing when his line-drive collided with a toddler sat in the crowd behind third base during the fourth inning.
The Minute Maid Stadium fell to silence as the father of the child was seen rushing his crying four-year-old daughter up the stairs and out of the stands.
The reaction of not just Albert Almora Jr., but all the players, after a kid is struck by a line drive. 😢
Hope the young fan will be alright. Prayers to them. pic.twitter.com/CaFelDguCR
— Chris Dixon (@cdixon25) May 30, 2019
It took a while for Almora Jr. to compose himself after the shock of the incident, meanwhile Jason Hayward and Cubs manager Joe Madden followed the 25-year-old father to console him during the unexpected break.
But it wasn’t just the Cubs who appeared shaken from the accident, Astros players were also visibly concerned by the turn of events.
Eventually Almora Jr. returned to bat but struck out before walking off the field still sobbing over what had happened earlier.
The Cubs center fielder rushed to a security guard during a break between innings to get an update on the toddler’s condition. It’s reported he was told although she was hurt, she was still conscious, which prompted him to sob with relief.
The security guard then put her arms around Almora Jr. to comfort him as he cried on her shoulder, as his teammates rallied around him in support.
While officials have not yet given a public update on the little girl’s condition, reports from witnesses sound positive.
David LeVasseur, who caught the ball after the collision, said there were no traces of blood on it, and there were none near her seat either.
He told the Houston Chronicle:
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 okay and he said he didn’t know.
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
Almora Jr. was still visibly shaken by the series of events, in tears, as he gave a post-game interview.
[It’s] just the way life is. As soon as I hit it, the first person I locked eyes on was her, so… With God willing I’m going to be able to have a relationship with this little girl for the rest of my life, but just prayers right now, that’s all I really can control.
I’m speechless, at a loss of words. Being a father of two boys, I want to put a net around the whole stadium. I’m sorry.
— NBC Sports Chicago (@NBCSChicago) May 30, 2019
Social media users rushed to praise Almora for showing so much compassion for the toddler.
One fan tweeted: ‘I want teammates with hearts like Almora, Heyward and Schwarber showed tonight,’ while a second added: ‘I’ve never seen a reaction like that before. Albert Almora has heart. Shows he’s human and he cares. My heart goes out to him and the injured fan.’
Our thoughts are with the little girl, wishing her a speedy recovery.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.