An Incident For Houston Haters To Consider Before Acting On Anger
Albert Almora Needed Solace From Teammates As Well As The Astros
As the baseball season begins, the newest trend appears to be villifying the Houston Astros. Granted, they have been found guilty of stealing signs electronically, calling into question the validity of their 2018 World Series Championship.
The backlash has come from fans and players alike, its most extreme
example being a death threat against outfielder Josh Reddick. Less threatening reactions, but nevertheless overblown, have been warnings of brushback pitches and fan-generated hate signs displayed at Spring Training ballparks.
Before the situation gets more vindictive or violent, opposing players and angry fans should consider the humanity of both sides. If you find yourself wanting to join in on the desire to punish the Astros, you should stop and think about a game played in Minute Maid Park back on May 28.
Not only was it a matchup of two recent World Series Champions, but it was also highlighted by a pitchers duel between Chicago's Kyle Hendricks and Houston's Wade Miley. Those two factors, however, became secondary thoughts by an occurrence in the top of the fourth inning, which caused a long stoppage in play.
Albert Almora stepped up to the plate, seeking to take advantage of Chicago's first chance at a big inning. Javier Baez led off with a single, and he was followed by a walk to Wilton Contreras.
Hoping for a line drive, Almora did indeed mash a rope. Unfortunately for him and the Cubs, it was sent into foul territory.
The next thing TV viewers like myself could see was Almora breaking down in despair, having seen the foul ball strike a young fan seated beyond the netting. So distraught was Almora that he could not regain his feet, even as he was consoled by Baez and several other players.
And they were not all Cubs. Several Houston players offered emotional assistance to Almora and, more importantly, authentic concern for the girl who had been struck. In fact, All nine Astros on the field knelt in silent prayer for her, a touching reminder that baseball is merely a game.
They remained on bended knees while he girl, who was being carried by her father, was attended to.
"It was a line drive down the third-base line and it looked like it hit somebody hard," Houston resident David LeVasseur told the Houston Chronicle the next day. "It ricocheted and the next thing I knew it was at my feet. I picked it up and all we heard was screaming."
Once the girl was helped out of the park, play resumed. Almora struck out, and immediately tried to find out the condition of the girl. He ended up leaving the game, his grief rendering it impossible for him to continue.
The 2-1 victory for the Cubs was a mere afterthought, and the family has not publicly disclosed the extent of the girl's injury. What was disclosed for anyone who watched was the sincere display of humanity by both teams that day at Minute Maid Park, a far more lasting image than the sound of someone banging a garbage can.