Howard Johnson, Texas Rangers minor league instructor, was hospitalized today after being hit by a foul ball that went into the Ranger’s dugout in today’s game. Johnson was taken off the field in a stretch, though per the beats on Twitter, Jeff Banister says the reports on Johnson from the hospital were generally positive.
Reports indicate that Johnson was hit in the left cheek, but remained conscious, which is a good sign. This is, though, a reminder of why major league baseball has encouraged teams to install netting down the foul lines in their parks. Balls come whistling into the stands (and dugouts) at high speed, and even coaches and players, who are watching the game, can be hit and injured. The folks who say fans should just pay attention to the game and they won’t get hurt are not only being unrealistic about expecting fans to keep their eyes on the action every second of the game (the beer and peanut guys, for example, continue to transact sells during pitches), but are also making erroneous assumptions about whether focusing on the game will eliminate the risk of injury.