Contrary to a famous quote from a certain legendary baseball film, there absolutely is crying in baseball — and for good reason. Chicago Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. broke down in tears when he hit a 4-year-old girl with a foul line drive during Wednesday night's game against the Houston Astros.
The little girl, who was sitting along the third base line past the existing safety netting at Minute Maid Park in Houston, took a line drive during the fourth inning of the game, causing the entire stadium to fall silent and causing Almora to nearly fall to pieces.
Visibly shaken, Almora slammed his bat on the ground, fell to his knees and began crying when he realized what happened. His teammate Jason Heyward and manager Joe Maddon came over to console him.
"As soon as I hit it, the first person I locked eyes was on her," Almora said in a post-game interview. "Just praying. I'm speechless. I'm at a loss of words. Being a father, two boys..."
In a photograph captured after the incident, the young girl can be seen in tears, but alert, being held by a man who is believed to be her father. The Astros infield also dropped to their knees as the man rushed her up the stadium stairs; she was immediately taken to the hospital.
After several minutes, Almora went back up to finish his at-bat. "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," he said.
He went over to the third base line to check on the little girl and again broke down crying, this time in the arms of a security guard. He said when the child feels well enough, he wants to reach out to her.
"God willing, I'll be able to have a relationship with this little girl for the rest of my life. But just prayers right now. That's all I really could control," Almora said.
The extent of the young girl's injuries is unclear, although initial reports detail that she is expected to be OK.
David LeVasseur, a fan who was sitting near the little girl, told the Houston Chronicle that "All we heard was screaming. We saw this dad pick up a child and run up the stairs. He took off running."
The ball eventually landed at the feet of LeVasseur, who said he went "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."
After Albert Almora Jr. struck a young fan with a foul ball, in between innings he went immediately over to that section to ask about the situation. You can see he is overwhelmed with emotion as him and the security guard have a moment. This is just a terrible & sad situation. pic.twitter.com/Yh3wWmDjhx— Cubs Live (@Cubs_Live) May 30, 2019
The Astros confirmed in a statement that the girl was taken to the hospital but offered no details on her condition. "We are not able to disclose any further details at this time. The Astros send our thoughts and prayers to the entire family," the team said.