Rays fan hurt after being struck by foul ball – Picture

Updated: April 17, 2016
Rays fan hurt after being struck by foul ball - Picture

A Rays fan was seriously hurt when a foul ball escaped through a gap in the protective netting that was tiny in size.

A woman sitting behind the extended netting to the right of home plate was struck on the side of her head near her eye with a foul ball off the bat of Rays right fielder Steven Souza Jr. during Friday night’s game against the White Sox.

She was attended to by paramedics and removed from the stadium on a stretcher. Saturday, Rays officials said the fan, whose name has not been released, was in stable condition.

Souza told the Associated Press team officials have been providing him with updates after remaining in contact with the woman’s husband.

“He’s been positive,” Souza said. “She’s in stable condition. Obviously, he’s pretty concerned for his wife. I’m hoping that everything goes well and that nothing serious is coming out.”

Souza said as soon as possible he will visit the woman in the hospital.

Friday’s game was delayed 12 minutes before the start of the eighth inning because the stretcher had to go through the door behind home plate.

“Totally unfortunate,” Souza said. “I would never wish that upon anybody. Obviously, my intent was not to do that, but when something like that happens, I feel I’m called to love God and love others. People are just a little more important than that game right there. That woman’s health is way more important than my results in that game.”

Souza went into the stands and spoke with the woman as she was being placed on the stretcher.

“She was beat up pretty good,” Souza said. “It looked like it caught her right in the eye, which wasn’t a good sight. It’s just so unfortunate. I’ll be praying for her, hoping that she’s OK. She was able to talk to me and say a few things. Never a good sight to see.”

At the suggestion of Major League Baseball in December, the Rays extended the protective netting behind home plate across the photographers’ wells on both sides to the dugouts.

There is a triangular cutout about 4 feet wide at the bottom that allows access from the wells to the stands. Souza’s line-drive foul ball in the bottom of the seventh apparently made it through the triangle on the first-base side and struck the fan.

“I don’t even know the odds,” Souza said. “It’s got to be astronomical to get through there, and not only to get through there but to go straight for someone’s eye. It’s just unfortunate. It’s one thing in baseball that obviously is still dangerous to the game. There’s not a whole lot you can control there.”

Souza was still shaken when talking to reporters after the 1-0 loss. He said he plans to visit the woman in the hospital or, at the very least, follow up with her after he learns of her condition.

“That’s just the way Souza is. A pretty caring guy,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Obviously, I think anybody who hit the ball would have been a little rattled, shaken.”

The game was delayed momentarily during Souza’s at-bat until paramedics arrived. Players and coaches watched the activity in the stands before play resumed.

“It has an effect, for sure,” Cash said. “You feel for the lady and her family. The last thing you want to do is come to the ballgame as a player, as a coach, as a fan, and see anybody get hurt.”

– See more at: http://www.tbo.com/sports/rays/rays-fan-leaves-game-on-stretcher-after-being-hit-by-foul-ball-20160415/#sthash.oBmR1Ko7.dpuf