By Lenn Robbins
My stepson is a Red Sox fan which is why he’s referred to as stepson.
This has led to some uncomfortable moments in the living room. And a couple of educational ones.
It was in late July that Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly threw at the heads of Houston’s Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa. As he stalked off the field, Kelly spewed greetings at the Astros dugout, almost starting a brawl.
“I love Joe Kelly,” said Boston Stepson.
“Why,” I asked.
“Because the Astros are cheaters,” he said. “They deserve what they get.”
“Ever hear of Tony Conigliaro?” I asked.
“No, who’s he?”
The montage of the former Boston slugger, of course, contains several photos of the most gruesome black eye you’ll ever see. It’s as if his left eye was replaced by a rotten avocado. Even today a Hollywood makeup artist would be hard-pressed to recreate that horrific image.
Conigliaro had been hit by a pitch thrown by the late Jack Hamilton in August of 1967.
“He was bleeding from the ear, the mouth, the nose,” then Angels’ catcher Buck Rodgers told reporters.
Conigliaro made a remarkable, albeit, brief recovery. By 1975 he was out of baseball, his compromised eyesight unable to pick up pitches like he once had. Tony C suffered a heart attack and then a stroke in 1982. He was 37.
There’s no direct proof that the horrific injury led to the clots in Conigliaro’s body that led to his physical ailments but it’s a good bet. Ironically, Hamilton died from heart ailments. Karma? A lesson? It should have been. A deadly lesson.
“That’s why you don’t throw at a guy’s head,” I told Boston Stepson. “Ever.”
Which brings us to the sudden end of the Yankees latest failed quest to win a 28th World Series title. The only thing worse, if you’re a Yankees fan, would have been if Mike Brosseau’s eighth inning home run off Aroldis Chapman had been a walkoff killer Friday night in San Diego.
As it was it Brosseau gave the Rays a 2-1 series clinching win and impaled the Yankees with a season-ending loss. The first thought? Karma.
It was Chapman, of course, who threw a 101 miles per hour pitch at Brosseau’s head in a September 1st game this season. The Yanks were leading and would go on to win that game 5-3. Chapman’s head hunting came in the ninth inning with the Yankees three outs away from the win. There’s no amount of, “Trying to go inside,” or “It just got away,” BS spin that can make any sane-thinking baseball person believe Chapman’s pitch wasn’t intentional.
Karma has never been so visible. Chapman threw a 101-MPH pitch at Brosseau’s head a month ago. A month later Brosseau ended the Yankees season by lifting a 100-MPH pitch just over the leftfield wall.
“The baseball gods answered that one,’’ Rays reliever Pete Fairbanks told reporters. “You watched it. I watched it. We watched it.”
Yep, you never throw at someone’s head.