Braves minor league manager hit by foul ball in dugout, airlifted to the hospital

6 Comments

A scary scene in Orlando as the Braves play the Cardinals this afternoon:  a foul ball came screaming off the bat of Brian McCann and into the Braves dugout.  It struck Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar, who was face down on the ground for several minutes after it hit him. An ambulance crew took him away in a stretcher, and he was then airlifted to an Orlando hospital.

UPDATE:  Mark Bowman from MLB.com reports:

Salazar was hit as he stood along the rail of the dugout in the first inning of Wednesday’s game against the Cardinals. He appeared to be stiff-legged as he fell back and seemingly struck his head against the hard dugout floor.

This is sounding worse and worse.

UPDATE II:  Dave O’Brien reports that Salazar was unconscious for as long as 20 minutes, but when he regained consciousness he was breathing on his own.  Real life isn’t like the movies. Being knocked unconscious for even a few minutes is scary stuff.  Twenty minutes is an eternity. Still, guardedly good news so far.

UPDATE III:  Salazar has multiple facial fractures and an eye surgeon is currently examining him. He was hit in the left side of the face by the ball, and then fell and hit the floor of the dugout face-first.

Javier Baez: “This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it.”

Denis Poroy/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.

While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.

Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”

He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”

Mike Trout proposes change to spring training umpiring

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
3 Comments

Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.

According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”

Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.