Sometimes we are reminded that the sport we love so much can be horrifically dangerous. That reminder comes as a shock — a snap back into reality — and it’s something that you’re never really prepared for. In baseball, there are moments that make us hold our breathe: a long ball sailing toward the left field wall.. does it have the distance? Or the split second a ball ricochets off a bat back to the pitcher’s face and the hurler falls to the ground.. will he get back up?
Monday morning, the Liberal Bee Jays of Liberal, Kansas faced one of those unexpected realities. Nine-year-old bat boy Kaiser Carlile passed away after a night of critical condition in the Via Christi-St. Francis hospital.
The Liberal Bee Jays kneel in prayer after discovering the tragic news of Kaiser Carlile’s passing after the game. pic.twitter.com/OEMrHXiQrU
— Taylor Eldridge (@teldridge24) August 3, 2015
Carlile while struck near the on-deck circle by a practice swing during a National Baseball Congress World Series game Sunday afternoon. He was retrieving a bat from the previous out when hit by the swing, and he was wearing a helmet. “The bat boy retrieved the other bat and he just ran right by him, and he was swinging, and it hit him in the helmet,” Jim Parks told KSNW.
The NBC, which operates the summer tournament for college players, released a statement via KWCH:
The National Baseball Congress has experienced tragedy many times in 84 years, however, it’s difficult to remember a day that is darker than this one. On Sunday, we lost a member of our family and it will hurt for a very long time. With heavy hearts, we send our thoughts, prayers and condolences to the Carlile family and Bee Jays organization. Sometimes life doesn’t make sense and this accident certainly is a memorable example. Kaiser was simply doing something he loved. He was simply doing a job most kids across America dream of having for one night or multiple summers. That’s the part that makes us all wonder “why” and while it may never be answered, now is the time to support the city of Liberal, the BJ’s organization and Kaiser’s family. The NBC and the NBC World Series looks forward to honoring Kaiser in the near future. During this tragic and emotional time, may God bless Kaiser and his baseball family.
We at Baseball Essential extend our deepest condolences to the family of Kaiser Carlile, both biological and baseball. Tragedies like these can silence even the most profound of writers. We understand that accidents happen in baseball, but as Bee-Jays player Kadon Simmons said, “It is terrible to see you leave in such a way, but knowing your last moments were on the baseball field makes it easier through this whole process, because you were doing what you loved.”
The Bee-Jays set up a GoFundMe account for the Carlile family titled BigHits4Kaiser to help the family with financial needs.