Matt Fortese, a 25-year-old lifelong Yankees fan from Hagerstown, Maryland, took a trip to Camden Yards last Wednesday to take in the Nats-Orioles game with Taylor Queen, a girl he had just begun dating. Fortese wore his Yankee cap to the game and to no surprise, dealt with some predictable taunting from nearby fans. Sadly, it didn’t end there. One of the men who had been taunting Fortese threw a beer at the couple, and that’s when things turned ugly.
Fortese’s family and Queen told the Sun that one of the men threw a beer at the couple, resulting in an argument. Police said that [Gregory] Fleischman punched Fortese in the head, sending him over the railing to the ground about five feet below. Nathan Steelman, an off-duty state trooper came to Fortese’s aid. In a strange twist of fate, Steelman is a childhood friend of Fortese’s who hadn’t seen the man in years before running into each other earlier at the game. Steelman told the Sun that Fortese had gone as long as 45 seconds without breathing. Steelman, who received emergency medical training as a soldier deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, removed a wad of chewing tobacco from Fortese’s mouth that had blocked his airway.
Gut-wrenching. Is it even worth going to a game at this point? This is just awful.
Fortese reportedly suffered a skull fracture and was rushed to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. The men who assaulted him, Greg Fleischman, 22, and Michael Bell, 21, have thankfully both been charged in the attack.
Fleischman has been slapped with first and second degree assault and disorderly conduct, and Bell with second degree assault and disorderly conduct
Fortese remains hospitalized in serious condition.