Spring training is one of the best periods of baseball for a fan. Teams flock either to Florida or Arizona, depending on if they’re Citrus League or Cactus League, play in small stadiums and do split-squad games, and generally try to work themselves back in shape for the upcoming season while giving fans a way to see their favorite players up close and personal. I know folks who go on vacation based around Spring Training and it always seems like a lot of fun for baseball fans, but a Cactus League game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Kansas City Royals went from fun to horrifying in a single moment. Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman was hit in the face by a line drive during a spring training game. Here’s the disturbing moment as caught on tape by a fan at the game.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOYnuUhgqQM
Chapman, 26, is the Reds’ closer and the hardest-throwing guy in baseball’s history. He’s also a two-time All-Star and one of the Reds’ most popular players thanks in no small part to his incredible fastball skills. The pitch he dealt to Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez was reported to be a 99-mile-an-hour fastball that was hit straight back at Chapman. When you’re dealing with speeds like that, there’s no possible way to react fast enough to get out of the way if it’s coming right at your face. Chapman was reportedly hit above the left eye and was immediately rushed to the hospital; the game itself was cancelled after that horrible moment.
When asked about Chapman’s condition, Reds manager Bryan Price said, “Not good. He left the field on a stretcher, took a line drive just above his left eye is what it looks like — a contusion, a laceration, and certainly needs to be taken to the hospital and checked. We’ve got Tomas Vera, an assistant trainer, is going to be with him. And then we’ll get our updates from there.” Price added, “I know this isn’t uncommon as we would like it to be, but it was frightening, certainly frightening.”
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