The Chapman Crisis

Maybe more aptly named “The Pitchers’ Living Nightmare.” It can even be fined down to the title: “A Fan’s Living Hell.”

Within the last five seasons, there have been an uncomfortable string of occurrences where pitchers are left defenseless as a baseball is headed straight for their head. With speeds traveling at over 120 mph off the barrel of the bat, there is a slim-to-none chance that even the most coordinated baseball players would be able to move out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, it happened again this week.

On March 19th 2014, Cincinnati Red’s famous flamethrower, Aroldis Chapman, was struck in the face with a screaming line drive over his left eye. Chapman was eventually placed onto a stretcher, but not after allowing the fans to sit through a gut-wrenching 11 minutes of disbelief looking at his injury. Chapman now looks at a two month recovery after receiving word that a metal plate will be placed above his injured eye. Chapman received a number of fractures in the bones surrounding the left eye and nose. A bone graft might be in the future for Chapman as he continues to get tested further.

This recent string of occurrences is a crisis unlike any I have seen in sports. There is a constant threat to arguably the most vital organ of your body in this game, and the crisis does not seem to faze anyone. Yes, there are talks of introducing a head/brain protection cap for the pitchers to wear and even those are tossed to the side by the players because of “comfort” issues.

An area that I wanted to touch on is the reaction of the fans. During the video, the entirety of the crowd gasps as Chapman fell to the ground writing in pain. Some were vocally distraught while others just fell silent after a few seconds. Going to a spring training game may feel like a safe haven for most fans. The weather is prime, the seats are plentiful, and everyone gets to see their favorite team play their favorite sport. Then your star relief pitcher goes down after one crack of the bat and falls down to the mercy of immense pain. That seemingly perfect game of baseball has now transformed into a certain kind of torture to watch.

My response is this. How many more instances of this magnitude can happen before a regulation will be put into place? Aroldis Chapman may be one of the three or so relief pitchers that is recognized by fans nationally. He has a huge name, a huge brand, and a huge fan base. Once one of baseball’s more popular players goes down, you would think this would incite some sort of frenzy. Well, this frenzy has ceases to exist. The crisis still stands, constantly staring down the MLB to make the first move.

So what will the MLB do? Will they create a regulation? Will they do something drastic and move the pitcher’s mound back? Will baseball as we know it turn into a glorified game of machine pitch little league? We do not have those answers now, but answers need to come before the best of the best of the pitchers falls to the worst of the worst of circumstances. As of right now, we can only wait patiently for the MLB to make a stand so the pitchers won’t fall.

 Aroldis-Chapman-Hit-By-Pitch

 

Sources:

 

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/10636821/aroldis-chapman-cincinnati-reds-hit-face-line-drive-carted-off

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2014/03/20/aroldis-chapman-surgery-broken-bone-out-2-months/6653347/

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/10638900/cincinnati-reds-pitcher-aroldis-chapman-undergoing-surgery-insert-plate-head

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/21/sports/baseball/reds-closer-aroldis-chapman-hit-in-face-by-line-drive.html?_r=0

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2014/03/19/aroldis-chapman-leaves-game-after-being-hit-in-head-by-line-drive-game-cancelled/6638029/

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