Cubs fan hit by bat, taken to Chicago hospital
Russell loses grip during seventh-inning at-bat
CHICAGO -- A fan was carried out of Wrigley Field on a stretcher after being hit by a bat in the seventh inning during the Cubs' 4-0 victory over the Pirates.
Addison Russell, making his Wrigley Field debut, swung at a fastball and the bat slipped out of his hands and into the seats near the Cubs' dugout.
"It just slipped," Russell said. "I saw a fastball and wanted to hit it and the bat slipped. I saw it connect with his face. I felt so bad. Words can't describe how bad I feel.
"I found the bat in my locker, so if you see that guy out there, I'm willing to give him a bat and sign it," Russell said. "I feel terribly bad about it."
While the two teams resumed play, medical staff tended to the fan. Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney, who was sitting a few rows in front of where the accident occurred, got some towels from the dugout.
Was it tough to focus on the game again?
"Some things you just have to block out," Russell said. "Whenever the bat was in mid-flight, in my mind I'm screaming, 'Watch out, watch out,' and then I saw the dude's glasses fly, and it just wasn't pretty. I feel really bad."
The Cubs issued a statement, saying the fan was transported to first aid, then transferred to an ambulance and taken to a nearby hospital. According to the Cubs, he was "conscious and communicating with staff while being transported from the stands."
"It's awful," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "What I see is that I never want my kids sitting unprotected, even though it's a good seat."
Maddon recalled a Minor League game in the Quad Cities in 1976, when he was catching and a father and son were sitting to the left of the screen behind home plate. The young boy was struck in the face by a foul ball. Maddon says he's never forgotten that incident.
"You come to the game, please pay attention," Maddon said. "It's a crazy game, things fly in the stands. It's awful, but we all know it can happen."