To celebrate his son Landon’s ninth birthday this weekend, Shaun Cunningham took him to his first baseball game. It was a spring training game, between the Atlanta Braves and the Pittsburgh Pirates, at a stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Pirates outfielder Danny Ortiz was swinging when he lost control, letting the bat slip from his grasp and hurtle toward the stands. At the same time, Landon was texting a photo of the game to his mother. “Look how it turned out!” he typed into a cellphone. It could’ve been bad if that bat would’ve caught him. As the bat flew toward them, seemingly honed in on Landon’s face, the 37-year-old Cunninghim went into dad mode. “I didn’t have a whole lot of time to think about it,” he told the news on Tuesday. “It was dad mode, you know, protecting my son. So I just did what I could.” Thrusting out one arm, Cunningham deflected the bat. It hit him, leaving a deep bruise, then continued flying over Landon’s head. Down went the arm. Up went Landon’s gaze, his son was safe.
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