Bat Batter

June 12, 2015

AcrobatNo fog this Friday morning along California’s north coast — all semi-clear skies and sunshine for a change. A light cloud layer hanging to the east the only filter — and the air seems to be already getting warm, too, but that’s just skin deep as we’re not expected to top 65 degrees.
Extreme heat is expected today within the interior, though, with temperatures reaching triple digits just a short space from the shoreline.

A brutal incident last week that’s stayed in my mind was the woman hit by a piece of bat during a game at Boston’s Fenway Park — yesterday, officials at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center upgraded Tonya Carpenter to a ‘good condition,’ as she continues to improve.

(Illustration: Pablo Picasso’s ‘The Acrobat,’ found here).

Carpenter, 44, was seriously injured last Friday when Oakland Athletics player Brett Lawrie’s bat shattered and pieces slivered up in the stands near the visitor’s dugout on the third base side, where a chunk hit Carpenter in the face, halting the game as emergency workers rushed to her aid.
She was taken to the hospital with what was then considered “life-threatening” injuries, but she seems to have gradually improved over the past week. Lawrie sent flowers and a message, too.
Friends of Carpenter have started an online fundraiser to help with her medical expenses.

From Yahoo Sports:

A wider discussion about general fan safety has taken off in the days since the unfortunate incident, with MLB announcing they were taking steps to reevaluate fan safety measures at all stadiums.
A report from Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal suggests the MLBPA has proposed to extend the protective netting around the field of play on two occasions, only to have the owners reject the idea both times.
Changes are likely coming to ensure a similar accident doesn’t happen again.
Thankfully though, after battling through an early scare, Carpenter appears to be on her way to making a full recovery.

Supposedly, people are hit by foul balls and such a lot at baseball games, but with only one fatality, according to baseball researchers  — a 14-year-old boy killed by a foul line drive off the bat of Manny Mota at Dodger Stadium in 1970.

The situation reminded me of another bat striking fan story, this one from long, long ago, and not faraway at all — from the Boston Globe, Sept. 22, 1958:

A bat thrown by Ted Williams at Fenway Park yesterday afternoon struck a woman spectator and resulted in her being hospitalized over night.
Apparently disgusted for taking a called third strike in the third inning, Williams flung his bat toward the Red Sox dugout.
It sailed into a box seat and struck Mrs. Gladys Heffernan on the left side of her forehead.
Williams was obviously distressed by the incident.
He shook his head in sorry when he realized his bat had struck and injured a grey-haired lady.
He went over to Mrs. Heffernan and expressed his regrets.

When Ted first went over to Mrs. Heffernan to offer his regrets, Umpire Summers reported he was nearby.
“Ted told her,” Summers revealed, “that he’d do anything for her that has to be done.
“Mrs. Heffernan told Williams not to worry that she knows he didn’t mean it.”

A way-different era, huh?

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