Results tagged ‘ Christian Yelich ’

The Tommy John Epidemic Not Letting Up

First it was Corey Luebke. Then it was Luke Hochevar. Following soon after was Kris Medlen, along with Brandon Beachy, Jarrod Parker, Patrick Corbin, Bruce Rondon, David Hernandez, Peter Moylan, Erik Davis, Cory Gearrin, Bobby Parnell, Matt Moore, Josh Johnson, Ivan Nova, Pedro Figueroa and A.J. Griffin.Jose Fernandez

And now, reportedly, it’s Jose Fernandez.

Though it’s officially being classified as just an elbow strain, Fernandez would become the 18th major league pitcher to be forced to undergo Tommy John surgery (assuming the reports are true, and he has to have the surgery) since February 18th of this year. Meaning, Fernandez’s quest to win the 2014 National League Cy Young award, after placing third in 2013, would come to an end, as would his season.

While you don’t want a season ending injury to occur to any pitcher, you especially feel for Fernandez. Regardless of the fact that he has come across wrong in the past to a few, select players, he has a ton of fun out there on the mound and is an extremely humble guy. You don’t find both qualities all too often nowadays in major league players.

Coming off a career worst start in San Diego on Friday, in which Fernandez went just five innings, giving up five runs and raising his ERA from 1.74 to 2.44, the poor outing was the first indication that there was something wrong with Fernandez. Normally topping out at around 98 miles per hour on his fastball, Fernandez was throwing at around 91 when he was pulled from Friday’s game, and that drew a ton of attention his way as to what might be wrong. Now we know that there indeed was an issue.

If Fernandez has to undergo Tommy John surgery, it would be the first time in around a year that the Marlins have had to experience games without him toeing the rubber every fifth day. Without Fernandez for an extended period of time, it should be interesting to see how the Marlins fare. They’re off to a great start to the season, and if the pitching performances of Henderson Alvarez, Nathan Eovaldi and Tom Koehler can continue, as well as the hot bats of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, the Marlins should be able to hang in there.

But even so, the loss of Fernandez isn’t something you want to brush off too lightly, because, as stated, he’s not the only pitcher who has been lost from their team for the season. In addition to the 18 major league pitchers previously listed who have fallen victim to Tommy John surgery, 16 minor league pitchers have been faced with the crushing news as well — all since February 18th, which averages out to a new pitcher having to have Tommy John once every 2.5 days.

Something is obviously wrong, and something needs to be done.

The most Tommy John surgeries in a single year since it was first performed on Tommy John himself back in 1974 was 46 in 2012. Sitting just 12 away for 2014, with several months left to go in the season, it’s likely that the number 46 could be surpassed, and that should be enough to tommy-johnmake people pay attention.

With there having only been 31 pitchers to have the surgery from it’s debut in 1974 all the way up until 1997, there have been more pitchers so far (33) in 2014 to have the surgery than there were in that 23-year span. That’s a definite problem.

Though the cause for the need of the surgery has been debated, from a pitcher’s mechanics having an impact, to the number of pitches thrown in an outing, or the innings pitched in a season playing a role, more and more people are beginning to look into the stress put on a pitcher’s arm in their youth.

The theory is that with young pitchers, in Little League and such, throwing too hard, too often, and adding in breaking balls too early in their playing years, their arms can’t handle the stress, and they begin to break down long before they reach the majors and have a season ending injury. With year round leagues becoming more popular, as well as multiple leagues for some pitchers, everything combines together for something bad to happen, and that is appearing to be the case.

One solution being pointed out by a lot of people (other than telling kids to lighten up with their velocity and number of games pitched) is for young pitchers to pitch off a flat mound instead of one that’s the same height as a major league pitcher. As Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci put it, “[it] makes no sense that 13-year-old kids are pitching off the same size mound as major league pitchers. Little Leaguers should be throwing off flat ground”. I have to agree with Verducci, and if that would help minimize injuries, then I’m all for it.

While Tommy John surgery is now becoming a routine surgery, and one that many pitchers have successfully come back from (a study showed that 97 percent of pitchers make it back to the minors, with 83 percent getting back to the majors, including Tommy John who pitched 14 more years and won 164 more games after his surgery), if it can be avoided altogether, obviously, that’s the more appealing alternative.

Whatever it takes, things need to change.

If you need to lower the mound for Little Leaguers, and perhaps even the major leagues down the road — lower the mound. If you need to issue a plan for young kids with what they’re allowed to do before a certain age — issue a plan. Do something that turns around this increasing Tommy John epidemic. There are far too many of the game’s greatest pitchers having to sit out a season in their prime, and that’s beginning to get very tiresome for the fans, and, I imagine, the players themselves.

NewBridge Bank Park–August 16, 2011

My grandparent’s and I arrived to the ballpark at around 6:00. The gates where just being opened, and I wanted to be one of the first people inside so that I would have the best chance of getting some autographs.

So imediately after my ticket was scanned, I headed down to the railing next to the tunnel in which every player, from both teams, has to walk through, to get to the dugouts from the locker room.

There were three players that I wanted to get autographs from the most. They were: Christian Yelich (top ten prospect for the Florida Marlins), Marcell Ozuma (top ten prospect for the Florida Marlins), and Brett Bochy (son of San Fransisco Giant’s manager, Bruce Bochy).

I saw all three of them as they came through the tunnel, but was only successful in getting one of their autographs. It came from Christian Yelich:

One out of three isn’t bad. And besides, I’d have another chance after the game as the players went to the locker rooms.

Below is the first picture that I took at the game:It shows Marcell Ozuma in the on deck circle.

I took another picture of a player in the on deck circle later in that inning. It was of Christian Yelich:

Here’s the zoomed out view, I had from my seat:

Notice the railing directly next to me. I picked to sit in this spot due to the fact that it was next to the tunnel in which the players enter and exit. This way, I wouldn’t have to run down to the tunnel after the game.

Out in right field foul ground, there is a hill, in which anyone that has a ticket to the game can go and sit/stand on:Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to leave my seat for a few minutes to go watch the game from the hill. This was my view:

Not bad.

I was a little nervous during the time I spent on the hill. It’s very easy for lefties to pull a ball and send it zipping towards the hill. I wasn’t wearing a glove, and didn’t want to end up with a sore hand, so I stood towards the back of the hill.

I took this time at the back of the hill to photograph the outfield wall. Take a look:

Pretty cool area.

It’s hard to tell, but behind the right field wall there is a gap where fans can stand. If a home run is hit to that area it is fairly easy to get the ball. Keep that in mind, as it will come into play later.

After around 10 minutes on the hill I headed back to my assigned seat. To my surprise there was a large cockroach in the tunnel next to me. No, not a real one. But a man in a cockroach outfit:

Did you notice the blue boxing gloves he had on? (They’re kind of blurred because he was moving his hands all around.) The kid in the tunnel, as you can see, also had boxing gloves. It turns out the cockroach and the kid where going to fight it out on the field inbetween innings:

The kid won.

As for the game, it wasn’t even close:Yeah, you read that right. 13 to 2.

That photo was taken in the bottom of the eigth inning, and that’s how things ended.

A complete blowout by the Grasshoppers.

Remember earlier in the entry when I told you to keep in mind that if a home run was hit over the right field wall it was fairly easy to catch? Well, a player for the Grasshoppers name Noah Perio, hit two home runs over the right field fence during the game. One of the home run balls ended up in the possesion of a guy, who after the game came over to try to get Noah to sign the ball. Here’s the conversation that went down between the guy and Noah:

Random guy: “Noah, this is one of the two home runs balls that you hit tonight. Will you sign it for me?”

Noah: “Hold on a second, and I’ll go get you another ball and sign that one.”

Random guy: “I’d rather you sign the home run ball.”

Noah: “Are you sure?”

Random guy: “Yes.”

So the guy handed the ball to Noah to sign. But there was a slight problem. The guy didn’t have anything for Noah to sign it with. So the guy glanced over at me and said, “Hey. Could I borrow your sharpie?”

I wanted to tell him that if he was stupid enough to not bring anything for a player to sign with, that he didn’t deserve the autograph at all. But being the kind, generous person I am, I smiled and said, “Sure.”

The guy was happy, and after seeing that it was MY sharpie that the man borrowed, Noah gladly signed my program. So I was happy too.

I later got the manager of the grasshoppers, Andy Haines, to sign my program. Here’s Andy’s and Noah’s augtographs on the cover:

Andy’s is the one that you can read, and Noah’s, well, I’m not really sure what his says. Looks like a bunch of random lines to me. But hey, getting an autograph from a guy on THE night he hits two home runs is pretty cool. So I can’t complain.

After getting the autographs from Noah and Andy, my grandparents and I made our way towards the exit.

We would be back at 11:30 the next morning……

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