If you haven’t seen it, Brett Lawrie dove over a short fence in an attempt to catch a foul ball at Yankee Stadium and had to leave the game after missing the ball and taking a scary looking fall down some kind of pit of death in the bottom on the third inning.
He was removed from the game with a “right calf injury” and will receive precautionary x-rays, according to the team.
Update: The club’s official Twitter account gives us some good news: the x-rays came back negative, and the injury is being called a right calf contusion. Lawrie is day-to-day.
Here’s an image from the beginning of his dive, via @glogan86, followed by another, a fraction of a second afterwards, showing the point of impact on the calf, via @Minor_Leaguer. (You can also view an animated GIF of the incident at Getting Blanked).
Very quickly on Twitter the conversation turned away from concern about Lawrie– who appeared to be in a considerable amount of pain, and not just from a bloodied elbow, after getting up from the fall– or what remains of the Jays’ hopes for the season, but to just how preventable this injury may have been.
The Brett-Lawrie-can-never-do-wrong set, in particular, seem to wonder about the configuration of Yankee Stadium, and the closeness of this weird, empty concrete pit that appears to be between the camera bay and the field, in an area where players are likely to be hurling their bodies around in attempts to gain every possible inch towards turning a foul ball into an out– and they’re not wrong.
Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus takes it the other way, tweeting that “Brett Lawrie’s effort is always fantastic, but the risk of injury is always there because of it.” He adds, “Guys who play 150+ games a year know when to let that ball go.”
Thing is, he’s not wrong either. And while it makes some fans’ heads spin that anyone could do anything but praise Lawrie for the tremendous effort, there is most certainly a point where Lawrie’s admirable all-out play shifts into reckless abandon. It’s something that he needs to work harder to keep in check, because this kind of scary incident is bound to happen again, and he’s far too valuable to the Jays to continue running such high risks of putting himself out of the lineup.
That’s not to say that they ought to tell him not to play hard, to somehow rein in this behaviour by force, or that he ought to be a finished product in this regard at 22 years of age, but as he matures the line between hard and reckless is something it’s best for everybody that he gets a better feel for. That maturation starts with making sure this is understood now.
It wouldn’t hurt for a lot of fans to hear the message too.
Fortunately, the initial reports indicate that this was just a frighteningly close call, not a catastrophic wake-up.
Image via Jim McIsaac/Getty.