Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Rays

Garcia’s bat flies into stands Saturday night, striking White Sox fan

Outfielder Avisail Garcia lost his bat in a second inning at-bat on Saturday, sending it sailing over protective netting and into the stands.
ALLIE GOULDING | Times Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Avisail Garcia (24) lines out at the bottom of the sixth inning against New York Yankees on Saturday, July 06, 2019 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
Published Jul. 21

ST. PETERSBURG - Avisail Garcia swung and missed at a Lucas Giolito changeup in the bottom of the second inning on Saturday night. The outfielder lost grip of his bat, sending it high above the protective netting at Tropicana Field.

The bat soared over foul ground, clearing the netting and helicoptering into section 119 on the left side of the infield. Robert Lyons, of Chicago, spotted the bat flying toward his seat and knew immediately that he wouldn’t be able to make the catch.

Robert Lyons, left, and Maria Kokkinias, right, of Chicago, watch the Rays game against the White Sox at Tropicana Field on Saturday, July 20. Lyons was struck by Avisail Garcia's bat as it flew into the stands in the second inning.

“It flew over the net and was moving so fast,” Lyons said. “There was no way I was going to stand up and grab it.”

Lyons sid that his first instinct was to turn his back to the bat and protect his girlfriend, Maria Kokkinias.

“I moved over, blocked her, and then it hit me on my back,” he said.

The bat left a brown stain of pine tar on Lyons’ blue and white collared shirt before it fell to the aisle.

Avisail Garcia's bat flew into the stands and struck Robert Lyons in the second inning on Saturday, July 20. The bat left a brown stain of pine tar on Lyons' shirt.

Lyons was unhurt and remained at the game with his family and friends. The Chicago native came to St. Petersburg for the three-game set between the White Sox and the Rays. He will fly home to Chicago on Sunday night.

Alex Rowe attended Saturday’s game after playing a baseball tournament in Sanford. The 14-year-old followed the bat from his own seats in section 119. He immediately stood up as the bat flew through the air, planning to track it down.

“If I made the wrong move the bat would have come up and hit me in my nose,” Rowe said. “If I made the right move, I get the bat, and I ended up doing that.”

After the bat settled on the stairway, Rowe ran up from his seat to grab it. Although Lyons was the victim of the airborne bat, he offered it to the young fan.

Alex Rowe, 14, holds Avisail Garcia's bat that sailed into the stands during the Rays game against the White Sox on Saturday, July 20 at Tropicana field.

Rowe, a diehard baseball fan from Coral Springs, said that he goes to dozens of major league games every year and collects sports memorabilia. He has a tennis racket from Serena Williams, a hockey stick from Sydney Crosby and a signed baseball from Adrian Beltre.

“I collect a lot, so getting the bat was kind of a big thing for me," Rowe said.

The incident comes just one day after a fan in section 129, also on the left side of the field, was struck by a foul ball and required medical attention.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Pat Williams, co-founder of the NBA Orlando Magic basketball team, kisses a baseball at a news conference to announce a campaign to bring a Major League Baseball team to Orlando, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019 in Orlando, Fla. Williams brought good luck to the Orlando Magic by kissing ping pong balls before the NBA draft two years in a row bringing the number one picks twice. (AP Photo/John Raoux) JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    John Romano | While communities across North America are gearing up for MLB expansion or relocation, Tampa Bay seems to be reacting with indifference to Rays attendance and stadium concerns.
  2. Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Matt Duffy (5) singles in the fourth inning against the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the American League Division Series Monday, Oct. 7, 2019 in St. Petersburg. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    Jose De Leon is traded; Vidal Brujan, Jake Cronenworth, Lucius Fox, Ronaldo Hernandez, Kevin Padlo are added to roster.
  3. The home page for the website orlandodreamers.com, launched this week after an announced effort to try to attract a Major League Baseball team to Orlando. orlandodreamers.com
    Longtime sports executive Pat Williams’ pitch to get an MLB team starts with fans showing interest. Stadium, owners ‘"not pertinent right now."
  4. Catcher Ronaldo Hernandez, shown at the 2019 All-Star Futures Game, is one of the Rays top prospects. MARC TOPKIN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Teams have until 8 p.m. Wednesday to decide which prospects are added to 40-man roster and protected from Rule 5 draft.
  5. Pat Williams is the former GM of the Orlando Magic basketball team and was involved in unsuccessful efforts to lure an expansion team in the 1990s. JASON DECROW  |  AP
    Longtime sports exec Pat Williams is holding a news conference Wednesday to talk about getting a team.
  6. Tampa Bay Rays' Carlos Pena hits a sixth-inning solo home run off New York Yankees pitcher Sidney Ponson in their baseball game at Yankee Stadium on July 9, 2008. KATHY WILLENS  |  AP
    Just the other day, Pena’s son asked him about being considered for the Hall.
  7. FILE - In this Sept. 20, 2019, file photo, Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter smiles as he speaks during a news conference in Miami. Derek Jeter is among 18 newcomers on the 2020 Hall of Fame ballot, announced Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, and is likely to be an overwhelming choice to join former New York Yankees teammate Mariano Rivera in Cooperstown after the reliever last year became the first unanimous pick by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File) WILFREDO LEE  |  AP
    Former Rays Carlos Pena and Heath Bell are also among the 18 up for election for the first time.
  8. Long faces dominate some of the remaining Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans during the fourth quarter of the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, November 17, 2019, in Tampa. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: What remaining game will Tampa Bay be favored to win?
  9. The cover of the book Grassroots Baseball: Where Legends Begin Courtesy Jean Fruth
    The 224-page book features a chapter on Tampa, and an essay by Hall of Famer Wade Boggs.
  10. Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) delivers a pitch in the fourth inning against the Houston Astros in Game 5 of the American League Division Series on Oct. 10 in Houston. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    Rays Tales: Team execs on Houston’s big problem, a base for winter acquisitions, trophy time and an upcoming owners meeting.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement