Tonight, Thursday, May 29th the Chicago Cubs faced off in the final game of a three-game set with the Houston Astros. Having lost two of three to the Cincinnati Reds, and the first two against Houston the boys were looking to get back on track, and they did with a 2-1 win.
The Cubs had the right man on the mound in Kyle Hendricks, who was his usual dominant self. He fired off a huge 8IP 7K 1BB and 1ER, and other notables included a Kyle Schwarber tater to lead off the game and a solo shot from Kris Bryant in the third. Jason Heyward hit into a double play, so par for the course, right?
Tonight we got one of the very unpleasant reminders that some things are bigger than the game. In the top of the fourth inning, Chicago Cubs CF Albert Almora hit a foul ball into the stands, and a lot of players worst fear became a reality. The ball struck a young fan in the stands. The eerie hush that took over the crowd made all the more sullen by the emotions pouring out of Almora Jr. His teammates came to his side to console him.
While the young fan was taken to the hospital, those who are reporting on it say it is precautionary and that it is expected she will be ok. The news was relayed to Almora and he shared another moment of pure emotion with the security staffer in the section where the little girl sat. It’s raw and it’s real.
Tomorrow the seemingly annual debate about fan safety/netting will be renewed, just like when the guy took a ball to the face in Wrigley, or when the young girl took a missile to the face at Yankee Stadium, and literally every other time this happens. We go through the same exercise every time, and while recent efforts to lengthen the netting to the outfield side of the dugouts are great this will honestly continue to happen. Faster pitches + launch angle revolution, and the fact that doing so to your pull side is apt to yield better results makes me think more may be needed. Whether or not you want it, this debate is back again. I don’t have the answer, but young me would not be pleased that dad me is leaning towards a more robust netting solution.
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