During Albert Almora’s at-bat in the fourth inning of the Cubs-Astros game he hit a foul ball that hit a young girl in the stands.
Almora fouled a ball down the third base line and was immediately distraught, putting his arms on his helmet. Play was stopped for two minutes. Players from both teams were visibly upset.
After the game, the Astros released a statement about the situation.
The Astros released the following statement. Our thoughts are with the entire family. pic.twitter.com/f1VGVP1kiu— Houston Astros (@astros) May 30, 2019
An AP image from photographer David J. Phillip shows the child crying after being struck by the foul ball.
Almora's quick reaction was due to the fact that he saw where the ball was going right off his bat.
"That's probably what sucked the most," Almora said. "It's just the way life is. As soon as I hit it, the first person I locked eyes on was her."
Manager Joe Maddon and fellow outfielder Jason Heyward, the on-deck hitter, consoled Almora quickly after the play. Almora said Astros pitcher Wade Miley went up to him and tried to calm him down as well.
"It's an awful moment," Maddon said. "Albert is an emotional young man with children so that made it even more real to him. And I got it. I understood exactly what he was going through right there. I knew he needed somebody to walk up there."
After the stoppage, Almora returned to the plate and struck out on a pitch in the dirt on the next pitch. He finished the game. Maddon said he was prepared to take Almora out, but Almora gave him a thumbs up and said he wanted to play.
"The rest was kind of a blur, the rest of that at-bat," Almora said. "I kind of came to my senses the next half inning when I went over to the stands."
When Almora went to the stands he was seen breaking down in the arms of an on-field security guard.
"I just couldn't hold it anymore," he said. "I had to try to keep my composure during that at-bat, but when that half inning was over I just couldn't hold it anymore."
Despite being clearly rattled in the moment, Almora said it was better to stay in rather than sit out and have more time to think about what happened.
"I think it would have been worse for me mentally if I had gone out of the game," Almora said. "Unofficial reports of how she's doing kept me going."
Almora, a father of two boys, struggled to compose himself during the postgame interview.
Maddon said that he emphasized to Almora that what happened was not under his control.
"There's nothing that you could have done about that differently so please don't blame yourself," Maddon said. "Of course it's an awful moment, but this is a game and it's out of your control and you just have to understand that part of it. Listen, I have kids. I have grandkids. It's a real awful moment for a player to go through something like that.
"It's a human moment and I'm actually really proud of the way he reacted."
Almora said he hopes to have a relationship with the girl, but all he can offer for now is prayers.
"It puts life in perspective," Almora said. "We get upset when we don't hit, when we make errors. Like I was, I was upset I didn't make that play. Life just put things in perspective."