Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, isn’t exactly one of the more beloved stadiums in baseball.
The Rays usually have a hard time getting fans to come watch their home games, meaning their ballpark lacks the vibrant atmosphere that a stadium really should have.
Several years of mediocrity and a seeming lack of interest in professional baseball among Floridians might not be the only reason people don’t come to the stadium.
Tropicana Field itself is a rather dull park, with very few truly interesting standout features. And the one unique part about the indoor stadium, its four catwalks that hang from the ceiling, usually only make for trouble and controversy.
The catwalks struck again Tuesday night in the eighth inning of a game between the Rays and the Atlanta Braves.
Braves rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a high pop-up behind home plate, but the ball bounced off a speaker attached to one of the catwalks and came down in fair territory.
Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria saw the ball was going to land in the infield, so he ran to where he thought it would drop.
“I saw the ball go up,” Hechavarria said after the game, via an interpreter. “Obviously, I couldn’t tell whether it was going to be fair. I thought it was going to be foul, and then it started heading my way.”
Hechavarria dived, but to no avail. Making matters worse, the ball bounced off the ground and hit his left eye.
Watch below (the play in question can be seen at around the 2:50 mark):
“I was 100 percent sure I was going to make the play,” Hechavarria said. “I was going for it. But out of the corner of my eye I saw the first baseman (C.J. Cron) and I hesitated and that’s what caused me to have to dive for it.”
Hechavarria had to come out of the game with a left-eye contusion. He put ice on the injury in order to alleviate the swelling, but wasn’t sure if he’d be back in the lineup for Wednesday’s game, The Tampa Bay Times reported.
The ball, meanwhile, was ruled foul.
“The home-plate umpire didn’t (call the ball foul), he didn’t see it, but the first-base umpire did,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “As soon as it hit, he was running and pointing up at where it hit.”
“I don’t think any of the fielders knew at the time when the ball landed whether it was being called fair or foul. I don’t think that was anybody’s fault,” he added.
It’s hardly the first time one of Tropicana Field’s catwalks has turned a routine play into an adventure, but Cash thought what happened Tuesday night was particularly strange.
“For it to knock a guy out of the game, that’s pretty odd,” he said, according to MLB.com.
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