Matt Fortese was nearly killed this week when the MLB fan was beaten at an Orioles game for wearing a rival’s hat.
Police said the 25-year-old from Hagerstown, Maryland, was wearing a New York Yankees cap to Wednesday’s Orioles-Nationals game at Camden Yards in Baltimore. Fortese was on his second date with Taylor Queen, who traveled three hours to meet him at the game, but the two were heckled for nearly an hour by two angry fans.
After one of them threw a beer on him, Matt Fortese went to confront the hecklers. One of them punched Matt, sending him toppling over onto concrete and leaving him with severe head trauma.
Police identified the two who attacked Fortese as Michael Bell, 21, and Gregory Fleischman, 22. Both have been arrested and charged with assault.
The story of how the MLB fan was saved makes the incident even more bizarre. The off-duty police officer who performed performed CPR was actually a childhood friend of Matt, though they hadn’t seen each other in years.
They spoke briefly at the game, then met again when the officer saw Fortese being assaulted.
“You just heard it,” said Nathan Steelman. “I rushed over, and I realized it was Matt. He wasn’t breathing. He was unconscious. Blood was coming from his nose.”
Steelman believes Fortese went without breathing for about 45 seconds before he could free the chewing tobacco that was obstructing his airway.
The MLB fan beaten at the game is still recovering from his injuries.
“It’s very serious,” said his brother, Jimmy Fortese. “They’re not saying he’s out of the woods yet. They tell us we have to wait and see.”
The incident involving Matt Fortese is reminiscent of another MLB fan who was beaten for supporting a rival. In 2011, San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stowe was severely beaten at a Los Angeles Dodgers game, spending months in a hospital and still suffering long-term effects.