Friday, June 4, 2010

Why Kendry Shouldn't Have Happened

A few days ago, Angels first baseman Kendry Morales hit a walk-off grand slam. He happily ran all the way around the bases, threw off his helmet, jumped onto home plate, and promptly broke his leg. He's most likely done for the season.

So now, a big deal is being made over walk-off celebrations. You know, the kind of thing where the person who had a game-winning hit goes flying at full speed into the middle of a group of teammates, who then jump up and down and repeatedly smack the game's hero in the head. I know what you're thinking: there is no way that something like that could end poorly.

So what's the big deal? Teams will adjust their celebrations now, because this is the first time something like this has happened. Well, isn't. Let's go back to 2004:
Tagg Bozied could hardly wait to get home. Rounding the bases, he saw his Triple-A Portland teammates gathering, waiting to celebrate his game-winning grand slam in the bottom of the ninth. "It was probably the coolest moment I've had on a baseball field," the San Diego Padres' prospect said. Then suddenly, agony. Because as Bozied jumped for joy at the plate, just like the big leaguers do, he felt his left knee give way Monday night. He blacked out before landing and when he came to, there was no doubt: He was done for the year. "It was real scary. I saw my kneecap pushed up into my quadriceps. I thought my career was over," Bozied said Tuesday in a telephone interview from Oregon. "To go from hitting a walkoff home run to being wheeled off the field in an ambulance, it's unbelievable," he said. "Guys were hitting me on the helmet, kicking me, congratulating me, and I was down in the dogpile. Then one of them saw the look in my eyes and realized I wasn't kidding, that it was serious.
Bozied, who had been honored in the pre-game that very night for being the Pacific Coast League batter of the week, had ruptured his patella tendon. Once a promising prospect, his career was never the same after the injury. He's now a 30-year-old playing Double-A ball in the Phillies organization.

So this had happened before, yet for years, players have still felt compelled to Superman their way into their teammates to celebrate. Yes, something like this is a freak injury, but why even risk it? It's unnecessary. The game is over. So where they didn't learn from Bozied's injuries, teams are going to learn from Morales', because Morales is famous and Bozied isn't.

No, I don't think that teams should feel the need to set celebration rules. I just think that players should use common sense and not needlessly risk their bodies over a celebration. Touch home plate, do your ridiculous choreographed high-fives, and then hit the town and get drunk. Simple as that.

We'll be back later on today to set up the weekend. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh.

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