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Pujols = Class act


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Bryson King left the hospital Wednesday evening with a major-league welt and a Major League goody bag, both delivered by a star Cardinals baseball player.


The 2-year-old boy was drilled in the forehead by a line-drive rocketed foul by Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols in the sixth inning of Monday night's game against Pittsburgh.


It was Bryson's first Cardinals game, but his parents say it won't be his last.


Bryson was standing against the seat next to his father and cousin in the field-level section, just beyond third base. Bryson's father, Michael King, watched Pujols fire two foul balls into the stands and thought about putting Bryson on his lap.




Before he could act, the ball was headed toward them.


"I saw it off the bat," said Michael King, 38, who is a Navy petty officer 1st class and lives at Scott Air Force Base. "But the next thing I knew, it hit his head. It was quick."


Bryson screamed from the blow as blood trickled down his nostrils. Michael carried his son to a nearby concession stand where a fan handed him a bag of ice.


"It's scary - seeing his face when I picked him up," Michael King said Wednesday with tears welling in his eyes. "Wow - that was the scary part."


Health professionals at Busch Stadium attended to Bryson until an ambulance arrived, Michael King said. The toddler was treated at St. Louis Children's Hospital for a fractured skull. He was given a CT scan but did not require surgery.


Bryson was released Wednesday but not before he got a special visitor.


Pujols stopped by with a box of personalized memorabilia. He brought Bryson an autographed wooden baseball bat, an autographed blue Cardinals cap, an autographed baseball card, two autographed baseballs, two soiled batting gloves he wore in a recent game and a pair of red-and-white Nike baseball cleats - size 13. He also posed for a Polaroid photograph with Bryson and told his parents they could get free game tickets anytime.


As he was leaving the hospital, Pujols said visiting Bryson wasn't a call for publicity.


"I'm just here to pay some family some respect," Pujols said. "I'm glad he's doing better. He's a nice little kid."


The baseball that struck Bryson hasn't turned up, but Bryson left the ballpark Monday night with a ball signed by Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen and Red Schoendienst, special assistant to the general manager.


Despite swollen eyelids, a bruised forehead and a scab from the baseball's stitching, Bryson was active and playful at the hospital Wednesday. He spent the afternoon playing with toys and running up and down the 12th-floor hallway. He refused his lunch, opting for gummy bears and lollipops instead.


The Kings say there's no hard feelings against the Cardinals. Ticket holders waive their legal rights by sitting in the stands. Every ticket is printed with a disclaimer stating that ticket holders assume all risk and danger at Busch Stadium before, during and after the game.


But it's not the first time Cardinals fans have become targets of foul balls.


At a Cardinals home game against the Seattle Mariners in July, a woman sitting with her boyfriend behind the first-base dugout in Busch Stadium was struck twice during the same game. Sarah DeNoyer, 25, of O'Fallon, Mo., was hit in the neck by a fourth-inning foul, hit by Seattle's first baseman John Olerud. In the ninth inning, Seattle third baseman Scott Spiezio hit a ball that popped DeNoyer in the head.


DeNoyer said Wednesday that she held an engagement party with her fiance, Tim, at Busch Stadium last month. Both are still Cardinals fans.


In the history of Major League Baseball, only one fan is known to have died from a batted foul ball. The man was struck in 1970 at Dodger Stadium by a foul ball hit by outfielder Manny Mota. In 1999, the Detroit Tigers paid $5,000 to a woman who lost an eye from the impact of a foul ball.


"I'm tough," Bryson said - but not ready to attend another baseball game. His parents still hope to turn him into a lifelong Cardinals fan, like them.


"We'll sit up higher next time," said Bryson's mother, LaTonia King, 37. "I can't wait to get him back to his second game so he won't have that fear, and he'll know that everything is OK."


Bryson's favorite baseball player? Just take a wild guess.

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I have small kids, and I take a little extra precaution and do a consious effort on where I'm going to sit.


Not slamming these parents or anything. But sometimes is better to assume worst case scenario on these situations. Something like this could have killed this little young boy.

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Nice gesture by Albert.



On another note, I often worry when I see parents bring their infants to the games and sit them in places where reaction time to foul balls / flying bats is reduced to near zero (like the field-level seats where Bryson and his family were seated).


If I had to bring my toddler to a ballgame, I would try to pick a section where I'm either behind the netting or at a safe enough distance so that I, or the child, can react in time.


What do others here think? I'd like to hear from those who are parents, especially.




EDIT: I wrote this post before FreshFish posted his, but was interrupted before I could hit "Submit". Guess we're both thinking along the same lines.

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I went to the D-Rays/A's game the other night, and a girl around 5 was sitting between her parents. Anyways, a foul ball line drive was coming right at the group and the parents both got out of the way. The little girl ended up having the ball hit the seat right next to her head...scary stuff.


Anyways, parents should work hard to protect their kids from that kind of stuff.


Oh, and Albert Pujols is an awesome guy.

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Guest Juanky

Pujols is one of the classiest men in baseball today. Just an all around great guy who really deserves everything he gets with how he conducts himself on and off the field.

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He does things like this without even making it a big deal. Albert Pujols is a fantastic example for Major League Baseball.



Exactly. Pujols does stuff like this quite a bit that you don't hear about. He doesn't care if people hear about his good deeds, which is part of what makes him even better.

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