Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. breaks down in tears after his line-drive strikes a toddler sitting in the stands
During the end of the fourth inning of a match between the Cubs and Astros, things took an emotional turn when a young girl in the stands was hit by a foul ball.
Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr.’s line-drive stuck a toddler sitting behind Chicago’s third base, causing the Minute Maid Stadium to fall silent, Daily Mail reports.
Almora was shaken as he looked up to the stands in horror. A panicked father was seen rushing his screaming four-year-old daughter up the stairs and out of the stands as Almora dropped to his knees and sobbed on the outskirts of the batter's box.
Jason Hayward and Cubs manager Joe Maddon rushed to assist and console the father-of-two during the unexpected interval; Almora took several minutes to get himself together and players from Astros also appeared shaken.
Almora eventually returned to bat, albeit still rocked from the incident. However, he struck out and walked off the field in tears.The 25-year-old returned to the scene of the incident during a break between innings and spoke to a security guard about the toddler's condition.
When the security guard told Almora the little girl was hurt but appeared okay and conscious, he buried his head in his glove and started sobbing uncontrollably. The security guard then hugged Almora to comfort him. His teammates rallied around him in support as he proceeded to cry into the crest of her shoulder.
The center fielder's heightened emotions are warranted, considering him and his wife recently welcomed their second son into the world.
While officials are yet to provide an update on the little girl's situation, nearby fans said early signs were positive.
According to David LeVasseur, who caught the ball after it ricocheted off the toddler, there were no traces of blood on the ball nor on her seat. He said the girl was conscious when she left with her father.
"All we heard was screaming," LeVasseur told 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 OK and he said he didn't know."
Social media showered Almora with praise for his compassion. "I’ve never seen a reaction like that before. Albert Almora has heart," Kristina Ralston tweeted. "Shows he’s human and he cares. My heart goes out to him and the injured fan."
"I want teammates with hearts like Almora, Heyward, and Schwarber showed tonight," Dustin Cordier added