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But in the next half inning, he went from enlightened analyst to schoolyard bully Nelson “Ha-Ha!” Muntz. SNY presented a photo of Padres pitcher Alex Torres from the night before, wearing a cap that bulged at its sides from a protective liner.
Yes, Torres looked odd. Yet, clearly, if he were determined to diminish the chances of a fractured skull or brain injury from a line drive to the side of his head, his head, if not his cap, was on straight.
Well, Hernandez took a macho, style-over-function stance, mocking Torres for looking “absurd.” (The same was heard when batting helmets arrived then grew larger until they included earflaps and would be worn by base coaches.)
He wasn’t done. He suggested Torres and anyone who would wear such a thing are cowards: “If you’re scared, get a dog.”
Ugh! Either Hernandez was unaware of the dozens of annual, all-levels episodes that have pitchers rushed to hospitals — some with permanent neurological damage — or such episodes have not yet left an impression on him.
In Torres’ case, last year with the Rays, he replaced Alex Cobb after Cobb was nailed in the head with a line drive. After Saturday’s game, Torres recalled he still could hear the crack against Cobb’s head — and Torres was in the bullpen. “I’m glad he’s alive.”
Cobb, depending on how one looks at it, was lucky — he was out just two months.
Good Keith, bad Keith. For better and worse, he keeps both in the game.
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