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Spectator tumbles over railing in Philly bullpen


PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A spectator has been taken to a trauma center after falling over a protective railing and falling into the Red Sox bullpen while reaching for a baseball in the first inning of Boston’s game against Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night .

The ventilator was taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, according to medical personnel on the scene, after he tumbled down one level of an open concourse in the Boston bullpen into right center field.

The injury occurred when the fan reached over the railing in an attempt to retrieve a ball thrown at him, the Phillies said in a statement. The Phillies said the fan was conscious and reacted as he left the ballpark. His injuries have not been disclosed.

Later in the game, a Phillies employee was removing blood from the concrete in the area where the fan fell.

Boston second hitter Masataka Yoshida faced Philadelphia’s Zack Wheeler as Phillies reliever José Alvarado ran off the bullpen to the outfield to draw attention to the incident. Medical workers quickly raced to the second level of the bullpen as Red Sox relievers watched nearby.

Security personnel immediately removed fans from the railing in Ashburn Alley, which is close to the visiting bullpen, while medical workers attended to the fan, who was wearing a Phillies jersey. Red Sox relievers watched with concern as a hush fell over the nearly sold-out ballpark hyped for the game and Bryce Harper’s first play in Philadelphia since off-season elbow surgery.

The spectator was tied to a backboard and taken off the bullpen and field on a stretcher and cart.

“It was definitely scary for a lot of us,” said Boston reliever Josh Winckowski. “We were all quite worried and uncomfortable.”

Winckowski said he was concerned the fan might have died from the fall. He and the other Boston relievers were able to relax after receiving a call that the fan was conscious and responding.

“That meant a lot,” Winckowski said. “Totally helped.”

After a break of about 10 minutes, the game resumed.

Red Sox relievers Richard Bleier, Chris Martin and Kenley Jansen eventually combined for three scoreless innings in Boston’s 5-3 victory over the Phillies.

“Thank God,” said Jansen, who earned his seventh save. “God was on our side and saved the man.”

Fans remained on the railing at Ashburn Alley later in the game, named for Hall of Famer and former Phillies outfielder Richie Ashburn, which has been a popular gathering spot since the ballpark opened in 2004. In addition to the railing above the bullpen, which includes a ledge for food and drink, fans can also watch relievers up close from a seating area that also has a ledge.

Some fans wondered Friday night if they would be banned from watching the game from that area after the fan’s fall.

In the original plan for the ballpark, the Phillies’ relievers sat on the top portion of the bullpen, closest to the fans. But the visiting bullpen was switched to the top level and the home bullpen was moved down.



Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.