Gene Collier: Time for baseball to curb outlandish injuries
March 3, 2016 12:00 AM
With Pirates pitcher and resident pie man A.J. Burnett retired, the team might not have to worry about banning post game hi-jinks, unlike the Baltimore Orioles.
By Gene Collier / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
As the retirement of A.J. Burnett is apparently holding firm — there having been no mentions from Bradenton of the tattooed right-hander — the Pirates’ policy on pies to the face isn’t the burning issue it might have been this spring.
As Burnett was the Pirates’ principal pie man, the most prolific protagonist of the standard postgame prank of shoving a plate of shaving cream into the unsuspecting physiognomy of the star of the game during his on-field interview, the Pirates probably needn’t take a stance on the continuing advisability of such hijinks.
But rather than wait for center fielder Adam Jones to retire, the Baltimore Orioles opted for being pro-active on the matter.
Jones, the A.J. Burnett of the Inner Harbor, announced on Twitter recently that the club would no longer abide his facials, citing safety concerns.
“It’s no one’s fault,” Jones tweeted. “At the end of the day it can be dangerous so we’re just being smart.”
If you look closely at that tweet, you might presume that Jones just wants to be among the millions of Americans in the public square who say “at the end of the day,” because they can no longer help themselves, but in this case, it might not be a cliche at all.
Most of these pieings happen, in fact, at the end of the day, usually around 10:30 at night, and at the end of the day, a lot of dangerous stuff happens at the end of the day.
I’ve done plenty of dangerous things at the end of the day, to say nothing of the end of the night, yet very few have involved pie.
Much as everybody, often including the victim, enjoys a good pie in the face, I’m afraid the Orioles are right on this.
The 21st century ballplayer is so fragile and just as often so star-crossed that the elimination of any conceivable danger to him is merely prudent corporate management, particularly at an average salary of $4 million plus.
Do you need to be reminded of the ways in which some of these guys have hurt themselves?
Me neither, but I cannot resist.
The ballplayer’s existence is no day at the beach, and that’s a good thing, because Anaheim Angels pitcher Mike Morin, strolling the beach on a trip to Tampa, Fla., cut his foot on a shell and went straight to the disabled list. Los Angeles Dodgers’ catcher A.J. Ellis leaped in the air (never a good idea for a catcher) to celebrate a no-hitter and landed on the catcher’s mask. Disabled list. Pablo Sandoval, when he was with the San Francisco Giants, strained his elbow swinging at a pitch. A pitch that hit him. Disgraced slugger Sammy Sosa once strained a lower back muscle sneezing.
All right that’s enough.
No, couple more.
Former Giants outfielder Kevin Mitchell chipped a tooth on a frozen doughnut that was not quite microwaved to specifications. And former San Diego Padres pitcher Adam Eaton once stabbed himself in the stomach trying to open a fresh DVD.
It’s a wonder that doesn’t happen more often. How often have you taken a knife to a new CD? The people who wrap those things should be running Homeland Security.
So again, the Orioles are right, and they’ve been well ahead of the curve on the safety of pieing for some time. It was in April of 2014 that the Orioles switched from shaving cream to actual pie from a place called Dangerously Delicious pies, which for most of two seasons supplied banana cream, orange cream and chocolate cream pies for postgame use.
The impetus for all of that was that some of players complained about shaving cream burning their eyes, and if you don’t want to know the ingredients of shaving cream, read no further because it’s pretty horrifying.
It also says this: “Keep out of reach of children.”
So there’s that.
I guess they’re not children, technically, but you might have noticed that they act like it as they pile on top of each other after every walk-off victory, like they’ve just won the World Series.
Obviously there’s no danger in that, or teams would have banned it, right?
It would be irresponsible of us to leave this topic, of course, without pointing out the most dangerous and potentially costly activity any baseball player can engage in right now, by which we mean, obviously, pitching.
Don’t even think about it.
Gene Collier: email@example.com and Twitter @genecollier.
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