Through decades of watching sports, and literally thousands (I guess) of great finishes and brilliant comebacks, I’ve always felt when seeing out-of-control celebrations, that someone was going to get hurt. Bad.
Well, it happened to today, and the Angels season might be over because of it.
The Angels slow start was never a worry here, due to their outstanding roster and great manager. Brandon Wood not hitting? Doesn’t really matter. Joe Saunders under .500? Relax, it’s still early. Brian Fuentes blowing saves? Par for the course.
But today, when Kendry Morales followed his walk-off grand slam home run with an awkward jump next to home plate, the Angels season blew up just like a BP gulf oil rig.
Morales suffered a broken left leg, and chances are he’s played his last game for this year at least.
When Juan Rivers broke a leg in winter ball a few years back, it took him almost two full seasons to heal and return to form.
After waiting a near-eternity for Morales to mature as a major leaguer, he rewarded the Angels with a brilliant 2009 (34, 108, .306) and was off to a sizzling start in 2010 (11, 39, .290 in the first 51 games). There is no one on the current roster that can replace Morales, and even if the injury is “not that bad” and he can return late in the season, they will miss his bat terribly until then. Neither Texas nor Oakland has the personnel or experience to compete for a full season with a healthy Angel team, but these upstarts just got a new life, and for the first time in almost 10 years, I can see the Angels finishing second or third behind one or both of them, and out of the playoffs.
In a couple of other notes from an immense day in baseball, another player suffered a major injury when Indians’ pitcher David Huff was lucky to have not been killed when the scumstripes’ Alex Rodriguez hit a line drive off Huff’s forehead, hard enough to ricochet into right field. It will be a surprise if Huff returns any time soon, if at all this season, and there will be a big question as to what success he will be able to achieve in the future.
And in the piece of good news today, Roy Halliday pitched the 20th perfect game in baseball history, a scant 20 days after Oakland’s Dallas Braden pitched the 19th. This would be the first season ever to see multiple perfect games. No disrespect to Braden, but it’s great to see one of true veteran stars of the game achieve this feat after years of competing at the highest level, rather than a young guy like Braden who was a virtual unknown until May 9.