Bock’s Score: Baseball Players, Be Careful

Today’s advice for Major League baseball players is to be careful. Be very careful. Seems simple enough but sometimes it gets complicated for this community of athletes.

This is why the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs are currently piecing together the end of ballgames. Their closers are on the disabled list because … well, because they weren’t very careful.

Giants closer Hunter Strickland is sidelined because he got angry with a wall after a disappointing outing and punched it.

 Punched the wall!

 This led to a broken hand. That is usually the outcome. Ask AJ Burnett and Kevin Brown, who also had unsuccessful encounters with walls, when they pitched for the New York Yankees. At least Brown had the good sense not to use his pitching hand when he unloaded on the offending wall.

Strickland claims he does not have an anger problem but he does have  a history. He has previously had unpleasant encounters with Bryce Harper and Salvador Perez, who had the nerve to tag the reliever for big hits. He waited two years to get even with Harper after the Washington slugger annoyed him with a couple of home runs. The wall, however, was just standing there, not doing or saying anything to the Giants reliever. Strickland clocked it anyway.

Then we have Cubs closer Brandon Morrow, who is also on the disabled list. It seems that he tweaked his back while getting undressed, taking off his pants.

The joke is that athletes are like everybody else. They put on and take off their pants one leg at a time. Who knew this could be so dangerous?

But it was for Morrow, whose injury triggered considerable sympathy from Cubs fans and the recommendation that while on the DL, he go shopping for a new pair of pants.

Pitchers, it seems, are particularly vulnerable to bizarre mishaps.

Carl Pavano, who spent most of his Yankee career on the disabled list, once slipped on ice while shoveling snow and jammed the shovel handle into his midsection. Four days later, they discovered a ruptured spleen.

Joba Chamberlain was working his way back from elbow surgery when he tore up his ankle jumping on a trampoline with his son.  It was not part of his recommended rehab.

The American League designated hitter rule protects pitchers from batting and perhaps having to run the bases. Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees found himself on third base in an inter-league game and tried to score on a sacrifice fly. He strained both hamstrings and landed on the DL.

Hitters get hurt, too. Luke Scott of the Orioles pulled a hamstring during a home run trot and was unavailable for a couple of weeks.

And, of course, there is Kendry Morales, then with the Angels. He hit a walkoff home run against Seattle and was so excited by the accomplishment that when he reached home plate, he jumped for joy. When he landed, the diagnosis was a broken ankle and he was done for the season.

Be careful, guys. Just be careful.


About the Author

Hal Bock

Hal Bock is a contributor with NY Sports Day. He has covered sports for 40 years at The Associated Press including 30 World Series, 30 Super Bowls and 11 Olympics. He is the author of 14 books including most recently The Last Chicago Cubs Dynasty and Banned Baseball's Blacklist of All-Stars and Also-Rans. He has written scores of magazine articles and served as Journalist In Residence at Long Island University's Brooklyn campus where he also served on the selection committee for the George Polk Awards.

Get connected with us on Social Media