Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Rant #1,295: A Baseball Tragedy
Yes, today is another sports story, but not really.
It is really a tragedy.
Last week, a coach of a youth baseball team died on Long Island doing what he loved to do best.
He was pitching batting practice to his son's team.
He was behind the contraption that is used to ward off balls hit directly through to the pitcher's mound.
It is expansive, but it doesn't protect all parts of the pitcher's body.
Anyway, the pitcher threw a pitch to a young batter, the kid hit a line drive through the box, somehow it got past the protection, and hit the pitcher squarely in the head.
He was knocked down, was out, and numerous adults applied CPR and did what they could to revive the father.
He was literally a dead duck. He pretty much died right on the spot.
The baseballs they use in Little League are a bit spongier than those they use in the major leagues, but they still can pack a punch if you get hit with them, as happened here.
And this happened at a very modern baseball facility out in Yaphank, so they had all the devices--and safety measures--in tow to prevent something like this from happening, but it happened anyway.
There really isn't any more than anyone could have done for the man, and I know it is simplistic to say, but when you play sports, accidents do happen.
This is just a very, very tragic one.
And no, his son did not hit the ball.
The kid who did this will have to live with this the rest of his life, and I feel sorry for the kid, sorry for the son, and sorry for the families involved.
When I was a Little League coach, I, too, sometimes pitched batting practice.
You just don't think of protection when you are doing this, you just are thinking about helping your kids out at the plate.
Some have suggested that it be mandatory that batting practice pitchers where helmets with protective guards when doing this, and that is a good idea.
Major league hitters wear helmets while rounding the bases, and there have been several incidents where pitchers have been hit in the head with batted balls, and there is a slight move to have pitchers wear helmets while pitching.
So far, that hasn't happened.
It has to happen in the youth leagues first.
When I was a coach, I had one kid get hit in the head with a line drive.
He was knocked down, but happily, not out. He had a nasty gash, but otherwise, he was OK.
I don't care what sport you play, injuries are part of the game. Some are minor, some are severe.
This one was a tragedy, period.
I guess you could list it as a freak accident, but whatever it was, it is so sad that this guy, doing what he loved, also died because he was doing what he loved.
Police are investigating, but there really isn't much to investigate.
He got hit by a batted ball in the head, and he died.
That is a real shame, and it could have happened to any one of us, including myself.
As a kid, I know I got hit in the mouth with a ball. I don't exactly remember the circumstance, but I did see stars, but then got up and played.
I guess I was lucky, and I guess I was lucky that as a pitcher to my son's team, I didn't get hurt in any way, shape or form.
These things do happen, but it is a real shame, and I do feel for everyone involved.
Posted by Larry at 1:54 AM