Ever see something during a ball game that defies explanation? That occurred yesterday when Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier learned that the batter’s box is not a safe haven from a foul ball.
Every once in a while, we see a player foul a ball off themselves in the batter’s box. Typically, this ball hits off a leg or a foot, a stinging reminder that the batter’s box is not safe. On occasion, that foul ball may hit the ground before bouncing up, or come off the bat at the right angle to hit a batter in the head.
However, to see a ball fouled off the ground, pop up in the air, and then hit a batter in the head? Now, that is a far rarer incident. In fact, it is one that one could go through quite a few seasons without seeing. That is, until Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier did exactly that yesterday.
The unique moment came in the fifth inning. Facing CC Sabathia, Kiermaier fouled the pitch down into the batter’s box. and then it went up into the air. It would eventually land somewhere, and that would be the end of the play, right? Nothing more to see there.
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Well, the ball eventually came down, and hit Kiermaier in the head as he finished his swing and turned around. It was obvious that no one involved had any idea where the ball was, from the umpire to Gary Sanchez to Kiermaier himself. Of course, even if someone yelled a warning, it is not as though Kiermaier would have expected the ball to land on his head.
Unfortunately, the at bat would not end well for Kiermaier. After that glancing blow to the top of his head, he would strike out on the very next pitch. Even though Derek Norris followed with a home run, it was still a painful plate appearance. The rest of the game did not get much better, as Kiermaier was 0-3 with that strikeout, and the Tampa Bay Rays lost 3-2, as they were unable to complete the sweep.
Sometimes, there will be something that happens at a ball game that had not been seen before. In this case, Kevin Kiermaier hit a foul ball into the ground, and it spun up to hit him in the top of the head.