Albies kisses opponent's helmet after HBP

May 29th, 2022

There may not be crying in baseball, but sometimes, there is kissing in baseball.

On Sunday afternoon at Truist Park, Marlins catcher Nick Fortes was hit in the helmet by a pitch from Braves reliever Jackson Stephens in the top of the seventh inning. Fortes, Miami’s No. 29 prospect, is relatively new to the Majors -- the 25-year-old was playing in his first game of the 2022 season and just his 15th career game.

Stephens’ first pitch of the afternoon was a 93.5 mph sinker that did the opposite of sink. It sailed high and hit Fortes on the side of his batting helmet, which is not what you want in any game, never mind your season debut.

Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud immediately abandoned his crouch to check on Fortes, who popped up quickly. The Marlins’ training staff also came out of the dugout to take a look at Fortes, but he seemed none the worse for wear as he stayed in the game and trotted to first.

"[The pitch] didn't hit me square, just kind of grazed off my helmet," Fortes said after the game, "so all good there."

The next batter, Jon Berti, grounded out, advancing Fortes to second base. There, he received an affectionate greeting from Atlanta second baseman Ozzie Albies, who inspected his helmet and pointed out a baseball-shaped mark on its side. Looking perhaps to smooth over any potential hard feelings between Fortes and the Braves, Albies gave the helmet a kiss right on that mark.

Fortes smiled, seeming to have completely shaken off the impact of the hit-by-pitch, and scored later in the inning on Jorge Soler’s two-run homer.

"[Albies is] a funny guy. All you can do is laugh," Fortes said.

What could have been a scary situation for the Marlins’ young catcher turned into a tender moment between two division rivals, sealed with a kiss.