Sunday, May 27, 2012

Umpire Odds & Ends: Danley Down, But Not Out

As Close Call Sports discussed earlier this week, umpire injuries are a part of the game. There is equipment, positioning and mechanics that can lessen one's chances of being injured during the course of a game, but injury is not always avoidable. Eventually, for all (whether it be player, coach or umpire), the ball, bat or injury bug will find its way to someone on the baseball field. However for some, they are bitten by the injury bug with greater occurrence than others.

Take for instance, the oft-injured Kerwin Danley. Lady Luck and the baseball gods have not been too friendly to the veteran umpire in his 15th season as a full-time Major League umpire. Danley has suffered two major injuries in his MLB career that resulted him being taken off the field in a stretcher. The first and most serious, was when he was struck by a 96 mph fastball from Brad Penny to the jaw at Dodger Stadium in 2008, that required him to be taken off by amublance. The second incident was nearly a year to the date of his concussion in Los Angeles where he took a broken Hank Blalock bat to the head in Texas that left him with a mild concussion and required him to leave by stretcher.

On Sunday, Danley suffered another injury that was not as severe or threatening, but certainly painful. Although he was able to continue and complete the game as the plate umpire, Danley took a not so pleasant shot to the groin during the Sunday Night Baseball match up between the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves. Danley took the hit off a direct pitched ball in the dirt off the hands of Atlanta Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy. With Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper batting, the 85 mph slider from Beachy managed to find its way under the legs of Braves catcher J.C. Boscan to find Danley's groin. Danley quickly went to the ground and stayed down on the ground for moments, while he was tended to by the Braves medical staff. He was able to recuperate and remain in the game to completion. What the hit to the groin made noticeable on the play, was Danley's mechanics and setup, with his inner leg (leg closest to the plate) set on the ground. Did this mechanic and setup contribute to Danley being hit in the groin. Could he have avoided such hit, if his knee were not set on the ground? It is quite possible, however could he have taken a hit elsewhere? Luckily for Danley (or maybe not) this time, he was able to keep consciousness and remain in the game.


Arik said...

Would help if F2 actually decided to get down and block the ball.

MattAB said...

This is purely anecdotal, but it seems like every single time I watch a game with Danley behind the plate he takes a hard foul off of some unprotected part of his body. It sure seems like he is the absolute unluckiest ump out there.

Anonymous said...

Whatever the receiving end of dangerous lumber is, Danley has it.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe his stance contributed to whether or not he was hit. The ball can find any spot on any stance. HOWEVER, stances with flexed knees (eg the box) allow an umpire to have a little "give" when they are hit. The knee flexion will absorb some of the shock. When an umpire has his knee planted on the ground with his weight on it, he has NO "give", and ALL the force is absorbed at the point of contact.

Gil Imber said...

What the hit to the groin made noticeable on the play, was Danley's mechanics and setup,

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