On Wednesday evening I found myself feeling sick and angry all at the same time. No I wasn't watching a Jersey Shore re-run, I was watching the Jays and their inexplicable inactions regarding one of their own players.
Before I continue I want to stress that these are only my opinions and they are not necessarily shared by my fellow writers and bloggers here on the site. So please don't go e-mail Tom and telling him we are idiots when it is something I'm writing (e-mail Hugo instead).
During the game which I am assuming most of us here saw, one of our top players ended up leaving the game for precautionary reasons and dizziness. Yunel Escobar in a play that unfortunately could have been avoided was injured on a slide into third trying to leg out a triple. Had Escobar hustled out of the box he could have jogged into third easily, but since he just walked out of the box since it looked like a sure catch he didn't turn on the jets until the ball was lost in the lights and bounced to the fence.
I want to be very clear the moment that really got to me so I figured it would be best to break down the play. First Escobar hits the line drive that ends up squeaking to the wall, obviously catchable but these things happen. Escobar books it around the diamond and slides weirdly into 3rd. Drew from Ghost Runner on First had a good piece up on the slide with screenshots. Unfortunately Escobar slides right into the knee cap of the defender LaRoche. After play is called the Jays staff take to the field to see if he is alright as he is still lying on the ground. After some initial testing they conclude he is showing no signs of a concussion and he stays in the game. At this point I'm relieved he looks ok. Then it all goes to hell.
In the next half inning Escobar takes his normal spot on the field and while I am obviously no Doctor he showed every sign of a concussion you have ever heard of, minus throwing up right on the field. I sat there trying to figure out why exactly he was still on the field. I watched as Escobar rolled his head back and forth, tried to fan himself off with his hat, closed his eyes and grabbed the bridge of his nose like he was having a headache. He looked very uncomfortable and was getting worse by the minute. Sportsnet then panned to the dugout and we saw as George Poulis starting to talk to John Farrell. Mid sentence you see Farrell's eye dart up and look out at Escobar.
At this point I am thinking perfect, they hadn't seen him before and the symptoms are just presenting themselves now. I fully expect Farrell to walk out of the dugout and pull Escobar with symptoms of concussions. Especially considering the attention that has been paid to concussions lately in sports including MLB and the creation of the new seven day DL. But what actually happens? Farrell decides to keep Escobar in the game for next 5-10 minutes until the inning ends, and then tries to slow down the game to see if they can get him back into the game in time.
WHY?!?!? Why would you sit there and watch as one your top players sits there with obvious signs of a concussions or at least dis-comfort after hitting his head. What could possible be going through Farrell's mind at that moment that he decides its better to risk the health of Escobar on game 5!
This was the first time in a long time I can remember actually being disgusted by the actions of the team I was watching, and that is saying something since I watch just about every Leafs game. There is absolutely 0 reason to not pull Escobar from the game at that exact moment. And just to top off everything, once they actually do pull him they say its for precaution and dizziness. NO! Precaution would have been pulling him immediately after the slide before he showed signs of any concussions just to be safe. What happened here was he was pulled because he had symptoms.
Farrell has said that it was up to medical staff in these situations, but when clearly there is something wrong with your player in the field and you CLEARLY see it, how do you not take it upon yourself to say "Look its only game 5 lets make sure he is perfect and ready to go". I know we were only up by 1 run at that point going into the 7th, but again, its game 5.
I hope Escobar is fine and this is all a big scare over nothing, but I can help but feel that in the short career of John Farrell this was a massive error on his part. I know that the extra few minutes likely wouldn't have made things any worse, but that isn't the point. It shouldn't have happened and I hope the next time a Jays player gets hurt, the team can know where to draw the line and act in the players best interest.
Title from Dark Knight
EDIT: After writing this out, Shi Davidi said on twitter, that the physical activities caused no further problems and after a few tests on Saturday we could see Escobar on Sunday. Good news from this potentially horrible situation.