by Sean R. Sedam
It seems like the only hits at Nationals Park these days are the ones the Nats don’t need.
Such was the case in the ninth inning of Saturday night’s game against Los Angeles when, the Associated Press reported, the Dodgers’ Jerry Hairston Jr. (a former Nat and former Baltimore Oriole whose brother Scott recently became a National) fouled a ball back—and through—the screen behind home plate.
The ball struck a woman seated behind the plate on the hand, which, fortunately, appeared to be pressed to her face and to deflect the ball. (See the YouTube video above.)
Andrew Tabach, a Nats fan from Potomac, tweeted a photo of the hole in the screen, followed by another of a member of the Nationals ground crew repairing the hole. Tabach tweeted that he was seated five rows behind the woman who was hit. She wound up with an ice pack from an usher and the ball from a man who retrieved it, Tabach tweeted.
In recent decades, professional sports leagues have looked for ways to keep fans safe while putting seats closer to speeding players, balls, pucks and cars.
The 2002 death of a 13-year-old girl who was struck in the head by a hockey puck at a Columbus Blue Jackets game led the National Hockey League to install nets behind goals at arenas league-wide.
Earlier this year, Daytona International Speedway made changes to gates that give fans access to the infield after a crash in a Nationwide Series race on the eve of the Daytona 500 injured more than 30 fans, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Have you seen any “close calls” at sporting events? Have you, or someone you know, been less fortunate? Tell us in the comments.