Erick Aybar was at the plate for the Angels facing off against Brandon McCarthy of the Oakland Athletics. The score was 3-1 Angels in the top of the 4th and Aybar was ahead in the count three balls to one strike. What ensued after was a sobering reminder that baseball can be just as dangerous as any contact sport.
-Don't watch this if you get squirmish because it is not a good sight.
According to a statement released by the Oakland Athletics, “the surgery included the evacuation of an epidural hemorrhage and stabilization of the skull fracture.” The statement also said that “McCarthy is currently resting in the critical care unit of the hospital. He is alert, awake and has shown signs of improvement.”
While McCarthy is on the road to recovery, however long or short it may be, his injury raises two serious issues as far as baseball is concerned. The first of those issues is that baseball is much more dangerous than people think. Since it isn’t a contact sport and injuries are generally ligament or muscle related, people tend to view baseball as a sport that doesn’t come with hazards. It does though, as shown in the past few seasons by collision related injuries to Carlos Santana and Buster Posey. In the case of the comeback liner, it is generally caught, or hits a non-life threatening body part and the pitcher continues pitching. Now this comebacker off of McCarthy’s head brings to the surface the fact that shots right back to the pitcher are among the most dangerous things in sports.
Another issue that rises with this is the issue of people wanting there to be more PED use in baseball. After Bartolo Colon was suspended 50 games for violating MLB’s drug policy, I heard some people say that PED’s should all be allowed. People would say they prefer big home runs, and that it makes the game more fun if everyone is juiced out. I guarantee pitchers don’t agree, and it has nothing to do with an inflated ERA. Or FIP, or xFIP, or SIERA, or whatever stat is used to measure pitchers.
Having stronger batters means harder hit balls. Not every ball is going to go over the fence, and the ones that don’t could potentially pose a greater threat than the ones already there. Steroids are dangerous on several levels, and have no place in baseball. Players hit the ball hard enough and far enough under the current rules and regulations. Taking away those rules and regulations, if nothing else, presents an even greater threat to player safety, namely pitchers that are less than 60 feet away from home plate when a ball is smashed right back at them.