Dad's Quick Reflexes Save Son From Flying Bat But Not Internet Shame

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A dad saved his son from getting hit by a bat at a Pirates-Braves baseball game

Baseball all-stars are usually found on the field, but this weekend a dad in the stands earned the title after he saved his son from a rogue bat that flew into the crowd during a spring training game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Atlanta Braves.

In a series of images captured by photographer Christopher Horner of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, you can see the barrel of a bat flying directly at an eight-year-old’s face. Luckily, CBS Pittsburgh reports the kid had a guardian angel in the form of his dad, Shaun Cunningham, who reached out and used his seriously impressive arm muscles to shield his son.

Baseball bats in the major leagues can weigh upwards of two pounds, so this dad who spared his kid a bat to the head actually performed a pretty impressive feat. Of course, the only thing the internet has noticed about the photos is that the kid is holding a smart phone in his hands.

In the discussion on Facebook, dozens of people were quick to point out that the kid “wasn’t paying attention” and should be “looking at the game instead of his phone.” Presumably, if you dare to divert your eyes from home plate for even a second, you deserve to get hit in the head with a block of wood flying at an incredibly high speed. Here’s just a taste of the vitriol being hurled at this little boy:

“Good lookin out. But I think the real lesson here is that if you spend too much time with your eyes fixated on the miniature idiot box, life WILL smack you in the face.”
“To All Imbecile Fans that use a Ball Park as their Personal Phone Booth… You Ruin the Game for the Rest of Us and Foul Line Drives and Flying Bats are Baseball’s Retribution ! LEAVE THE PHONES AT HOME !!!”
“Why is he even at the game if he’s going to play on his phone?”
“Kids these days. Back in my day it was a treat to attend a game.”

Yes, some guy actually used the phrase “kids these days,” and they were being completely serious. I guess back in his day, he never got bored at a baseball game like pretty much any young kid would. I’m sure he also never stopped to bite a hot dog, glance at the scoreboard, or even just look over at the third baseman for a split second while the ball was in play — all things that could be equally as dangerous as glancing at a cell phone.

As a hardcore, life-long baseball fan, I can attest that bats and balls come flying at you pretty fast, and it always pays to be on alert. That said, it’s a dick move to shame a little kid based on a snapshot of a single second. Maybe he was just texting his mom, or maybe he wanted to take a picture — there’s no way of knowing. Either way, let’s applaud both the dad who prevented a terrible accident and the photographer who captured a once-in-a-lifetime shot, and let’s please leave this poor kid alone.

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