September 11, 2000
The Daily Prospectus
All the many positive and exciting things that happened this weekend were overshadowed by the horrifying event of Friday night. Red Sox reliever Bryce Florie was hit in the face by a line drive off the bat of the Yankees' Ryan Thompson. Florie suffered a broken orbital bone and damage to his right eyeball, and there is a chance he will not regain full vision in his eye.
When you think of bad sports injuries, you generally don't think of baseball. For me, the first one that comes to mind is the Knicks' Bernard King, who I saw blow out his knee on television in the early 1980s. Joe Theismann's broken leg on Monday Night Football in 1983 is often mentioned, and hockey has had some skate-induced incidents--there was one in the last couple of years in which the player's throat was cut; the player's name escapes me--that stick in the memory.
For its part, though, baseball has seen more than a few gruesome moments. Jason Kendall's broken ankle in 1999 and the broken arms suffered by Dave Dravecky, Tom Browning and Tony Saunders on the mound all caused observers to recoil. Going back further, the beaning of Tony Conigliaro and the line drive that hit Herb Score are atop the list of famous baseball injuries.
For some reason, these injuries seem to impact baseball fans, at least the ones I know, more than fans of other sports. We remember them more vividly. Perhaps it's because baseball players aren't supposed to get hurt as often, or as badly, as their counterparts in the more violent sports. Perhaps it's because baseball players look more like "us", or perhaps it's that many of us played the game, or still do, and can only whisper a silent prayer of thanks that it wasn't us.
What happened Friday night in Boston will be with us for a while. Still, I can only hope that the memory of the incident sticks with those who saw it longer than Bryce Florie has to live with its actual effects. To Bryce and his family, my best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.
Joe Sheehan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.