If you were at the game between the Timber Rattlers and the Cedar Rapids Kernels last Thursday night, you may have witnessed a gruesome injury. Kernels clubhouse manager Ron 'Roady' Plein broke his ankle going after a dead ball behind home plate. He tried to put the foot back in place as it flopped around before medical staff could reach him.
If you had trouble finishing that last sentence, this column may not be for you. Because it is about the five worst sports injuries I've seen in person.
#5.) It was a rare hot and muggy day at Wade Stadium in Duluth during my time as an announcer for the Duluth/Superior Dukes. The team had just picked up a new mascot costume -- an ape for some reason -- but had no one trained to wear it. So, they stuck a kid in the suit and told him to have fun.
Well, he was dancing and jumping and doing the things that mascots do. The microphone was out behind home plate for the national anthem singer and the kid in the ape costume went to it and pretended to sing along with the song on the PA. He then went face down on the ground.
It took everyone awhile to figure out if this was part of the act. But, when the kid didn't move after about 15 seconds, medical personnel rushed the field. Dehydration and a nasty bump on the forehead.
#4.) Another one from my Northern League days. Al Barsoom was a pretty good shortstop and part of a good Dukes team in 1997. The team was in Winnipeg playing on the artificial turf of Winnipeg Stadium, a Canadian Football League stadium. During batting practice -- again not actually in the game -- Al was at second base and was looking for something to do. He went back after a fly ball in shallow right. But, a catcher in right field was charging after the same ball. The catcher slid and Barsoom jumped over him to avoid the collision. But, Al landed on his shoulder and didn't get up right away. Separated shoulder, a long bus ride home from Manitoba, and out for the rest of the season.
#3.) Tyler Sawchyn was a defenseman for the Green Bay Gamblers when I was their announcer. We were in Ann Arbor, Michigan for a game against the US National Team Development Program. Sawchyn got taken into the boards and tried to brace himself with his hand. Arm broke in two places between the wrist and the elbow with bone sticking out of the skin. He was down for awhile and had to be taken off the field.
#2.) Roady debuts on the list at #2
#1.) Craig Italiano. The Kane County pitcher threw a pitch to Carlos Triunfel in 2007. Triunfel hit the ball right back at Italinao and it hit the Cougar pitcher right in the head. The ball bounced out of play. I don't think there is any more that needs to be said about that. He missed the rest of the season. Italiano came back the next season and made the Midwest League All-Star Game. He is currently in Stockton, Oakland's California League affiliate.
I'll try to have a happier topic next week.
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