At least for one inning, Cubs fan Naila O'Connell was in baseball heaven at the home opener at Wrigley on Monday — the first she'd ever attended.
But she was hit in the face by a foul ball off the bat of Anthony Rizzo in the second inning and had to be taken to the hospital, where she was treated for a broken nose.
"We were all standing up looking and it seemed like the ball took a turn, and next thing I know, I'm gushing blood," O'Connell said.
She's 5-foot-2 and had figured other fans would catch the ball.
Her husband and other fans tried to help O'Connell as her nose gushed blood.
"She was calm. I was the panicky one," Jim O’Connell said.
Paramedics took her from her seat in Section 104, near left field, to Illinois Masonic Hospital, so Naila O'Connell missed the rest of the 10-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. She said she's been told she needs surgery after the swelling goes down, but still considers herself lucky: "It could have been worse."
Major League Baseball extended protective netting at all 30 ballparks for the 2018 season, after a girl was hospitalized by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium in New York.
O'Connell didn't catch the ball that hit her, but she ended up getting it anyway, after someone else caught it and gave it to her, she said.
"I would love to have this ball be signed by Rizzo. That would be amazing," she said, adding, "I'm Cubs for life, this wont change anything."
NBC 5 has reached out to the Cubs for comment.