This Is What a Foul Ball Does to Your Face

Sep 11, 2014 at 3:00 PM ET

Only in the delusional mind of a sports fan would a broken nose be an acceptable price to pay for a souvenir baseball. First touched by a man paid to throw it and then hit by a man paid to hit it, any ball that enters the stands has a mystical energy not present in the millions of identical balls for sale at sporting goods stores. And so we chase baseballs, both home-run and foul, with little regard for our physical well-being. A deep thigh bruise, a broken bone, a sprained thumb—these are temporary. Catching a foul ball, or even better, a home-run, is forever.

Earlier this week, Bloomberg attempted to quantify the danger inherent in baseball’s souvenir distribution system, and it wasn’t pretty. Balls that enter the stands injure more than 1,750 people each season. As Bloomberg says, that’s “at least twice every three games.” To get that number, they analyzed in-house statistics kept by several MLB teams and extrapolated those figures to the league as a whole. What Bloomberg did not do, however, is show us what those devastating face-beanings look like. That’s what Vocativ is here for. We scoured social media for photo documentation of what happens when fans go to great lengths to take home a souvenir that costs a few bucks at Sports Authority.

But before we begin, here are two quick clips to remind you of what foul terror really looks like:

And here’s what you get to take home with you:

Face Shots


Body Blows

Fingers, Hands and Toes