Renewed calls for extended netting at MLB parks after young Astros fan injured

HOUSTON — A young fan is recovering after being hit by a foul ball during Wednesday night's Astros game at Minute Maid Park.

The Chicago Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. who hit the foul ball was visibly shaken up, and the incident has renewed calls for extended protective netting at Major League Ball parks.

Almora was up to bat in the fourth inning when he sent a foul ball flying into the stands, hitting a young girl. You can see he immediately realizes what happened and is shaken up. He put his hands on his head, fell to his knees and was comforted by his teammates.

Albert Almora Jr. #5 of the Chicago Cubs, center, is comforted by Jason Heyward #22 and Javier Baez #9 after checking on a young child that was struck by a hard foul ball off his bat in the fourth inning. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

"I'll be the first to know, but right now, I'm just praying and I'm speechless," Almora said after the game. "I'm at a loss of words, being a father of two boys."

You can hear in his voice how upset he is. In a photo taken by the associated press, you can see the girl crying but conscious. ESPN said initial reports on the girl’s condition were positive.

“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,” Astros officials said in a statement.

"The events at last night's game were extremely upsetting," MLB said in a statement Thursday shared with ESPN. "We send our best wishes to the child and family involved. Clubs have significantly expanded netting and their inventory of protected seats in recent years. With last night's event in mind, we will continue our efforts on this important issue."

More netting at ball parks had been a topic of discussion especially since 2017 when a foul ball at a Yankees game hit a toddler in the face. Thankfully, the little girl did survive her injuries.

2015 was when the MLB first suggested that teams extend safety netting to the edge of both dugouts—by 2018, all 30 teams had done so.

Of course, that can’t prevent everything.

But after what happened last night, that’s what people are talking about: what can be done so this doesn’t keep happening.

 

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