Glovin: Baseball caught looking as fouls injure 1,750 fans a year

From David Glovin at on September 9, 2014:

From his perch in the Atlanta Braves infield on May 20, third baseman Chris Johnson heard what sounded to him like the crack of two bats in quick succession. The first was a line drive off the bat of Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez. The second was the ball smashing into the head of an 8-year-old in black shorts and a blue shirt, who was seated in the first row behind first base.

Johnson watched as the boy’s father and a stadium first-aid crew carried him away. After the game, Johnson and catcher Gerald Laird, toting an autographed bat and ball, visited the hospital, where the boy, barely awake, was hooked up to monitors and an intravenous drip.

“It was just a little kid, man,” Johnson said. “It happens every game — somebody gets hit. Whether it’s a bad one or not, somebody gets hit in the stands every single game.”

Johnson isn’t far off. About 1,750 spectators get hurt each year by batted balls, mostly fouls, at major-league games, or at least twice every three games, a first-of-its-kind analysis by Bloomberg News has found. That’s more often than a batter is hit by a pitch, which happened 1,536 times last season, according to Elias Sports Bureau Inc. The 8-year-old boy was one of four fans injured at the May 20 game, according to a “foul-ball log” and other first-aid records at the Braves’ Turner Field.

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Originally published: September 9, 2014. Last Updated: September 9, 2014.