Fan saves kid from flying bat to the face

Posted at 4:19 PM, Mar 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-07 17:32:54-05

As winter turns to spring and baseball season draws near, it's important to remember that fans who attend games should always be on the lookout for flying bats and balls.

One young boy almost learned that lesson the hard way Sunday - but an alert fan nearby saved him from what almost certainly would have been a traumatic injury.

An errant swing from Danny Ortiz in the spring training game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Braves sent the bat flying. Just look at how close it got to the boy's face, in photos from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Christopher Horner:

According to NBC News, Ortiz wasn't even aware his swing had resulted in a viral moment at the time.

"I didn't know what happened, if it (hurt) the boy or anything," he said. "I went home and my wife said to me, 'You almost killed that kid!'"

Just last year, Major League Baseball recommended that all teams extend the length of their protective netting after an in-depth study. A 2014 Bloomberg News study found about 1,750 spectators per year are injured by foul balls.