The Major League Baseball clash between the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals was held up amidst worrying scenes on Monday night.
Play was delayed after umpire Junior Valentine was floored by a stray throw, which left him bleeding from the side of his face.
Fielding a ball struck by the Mets’ Francisco Lindor in the bottom of the second inning, Cardinals shortstop Edmundo Sosa gathered before frantically spinning and slinging it towards Paul Goldschmidt on first base.
However, instead of finding Goldschmidt, Lindor hurled the ball directly into the head of Valentine, whose attention was already fixed on the base and the runner.
In a disturbing moment, Valentine collapsed straight to the floor but then allayed fears by getting up and wiping blood from the side of his face. Play at Citi Field Park was held up for 10 minutes while he received treatment.
It did at least mean a rare round of applause for the umpire and to his credit, he proceeded to officiate for the remainder of the match – as The Mets were routed 7-0 by the Cardinals in New York as the two sides opened their three-game series
Jerry Meals, Valentine's umpire crew chief, said he is "doing well" and did not suffer any broken bones from the accident.
Should the umpire have been looking at the ball? Let us know in the comments section.
"He was incredibly alert from the get-go," said Meals.
"The blood seemed to stop fairly quickly, thankfully, and he was adamant that he was fine."
Indeed, Valentine was even seen joking with players after the incident although Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright admitted afterwards the noise made by the impact of the ball striking Valentine has caused concern.
"That was loud, too," he told reporters.
"No one was expecting that. He was pretty far over there."
"That was louder than I've heard an umpire be hit. I felt really bad for him. What a stud to stay in the game as his face was bleeding pretty good. The ball centred him up."
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Outkicks writer Gary Sheffield Jr was one of many to tweet about the unique incident.
"Never seen an umpire get rocked in the face by an infielder’s throw. Wow," he wrote.
Some fans however, were left divided over the incident.
Many praised his courage for continuing with a facial injury while others argued he should have been paying more attention to Sosa's throw.
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