Eager fan falls onto field at PNC Park
Pirates-Cardinals delayed briefly after man flips over rail
PITTSBURGH -- A fan that fell onto the PNC Park field in the bottom half of the seventh of Friday's 6-4 Cardinals win was reported to be in stable condition shortly after sustaining a head injury.
With the game tied at 4, Pittsburgh and St. Louis endured a 10-minute delay after a fan wearing a Cardinals shirt and seated in the first row along the right-field line lunged for a foul ball that came his way. The man lost his balance and flipped over the protective railing and onto the field. He landed on his face.
Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols and Pirates first-base coach Perry Hill immediately signaled for medical help when the man did not get right back up.
"I said, 'Don't move. Don't move,'" Hill said. "And by the time I said, 'Don't move,' Albert picked up his head. He wasn't talking very much. He just kept [moaning]."
"Obviously he was reaching for a ball and it could've been worse," Pujols said. "Hopefully he's OK. Any time you fall like that and you hit your face first, all you think about is your neck. And the way that we fell, it was pretty ugly."
Both Pujols and Hill stayed with the man -- a Cardinals fan visiting from New York -- while the medical crew raced onto the field and throughout the entire ordeal. Both also comforted the man's son, who has Down Syndrome and was attending the game for his 21st birthday, according to Pujols.
"Once the medical people got there, I was just scared for his kid," Hill said. "I just leaned around and talked to his kid until somebody else got there because he was scared to death."
The medical staff stabilized the injured man's neck as a precautionary measure, though Pirates president Frank Coonelly said later that the man did not sustain a neck injury. Coonelly and Dennis DaPra, the general manager of PNC Park, were among those from the Pirates' front office who escorted a doctor onto the field.
With his face covered in blood, the fan was eventually put on a stretcher. He gave a thumbs-up signal as he was wheeled off the field and was then taken to nearby Allegheny General Hospital. The man's son left on a cart next to him and, thanks to Pujols, a souvenir in hand.
"Tim [McClelland], the umpire, told me if I can bring a ball out there, for him, and I was like, 'Yeah, yeah,'" Pujols said. "We got him one. It was pretty sad, because he was trying to catch that ball for his son."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.