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.
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