I was on the first base line at Great American Ballpark on Saturday and a pop fly foul ball came my way, about three rows back and 25-30 feet beyond where we were sitting. It wasn’t caught on the fly. A few moments later I heard some commotion, looked back and saw a girl a little older than my daughter holding her face, her nose bloody. Medical folks came down and with the help of some ice and a towel, she seemed generally OK.
But a lot of people who get hit by foul balls — especially liners as opposed to that pop up in Cincy — aren’t so OK. And that can get into the heads of players, reports Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune, who spoke with some Padres players about it:
“When you are hitting, you are so in the moment,” Denorfia continued. “When you foul one off like that, it changes everything. There’s a deafening silence. You can hear the screams of the fan that’s been hit. It takes you out of what you are doing, changes the perspective.
“It’s hard to continue the at-bat with the focus you originally had.”
We have some great ballparks these days. But the fans are also way closer to the action than ever. I don’t feel like a lot of people who sit down low and close realize how much damage a batted baseball can do.