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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Curtis Granderson to visit eye specialist after strikeout-heavy season

Ohh, so visionary Dr. Kevin Long mistakenly performed Carrotoplasty instead of Keratoplasty. I see…

Perhaps Curtis Granderson’s swing wasn’t what needed fixing this postseason.

After watching Granderson swing at balls out of the strike zone for several months, some within the Yankees organization believe the center fielder might be having trouble with his eyes.

With that in mind, a source said the team plans to send Granderson to an eye specialist to see if his eyesight has been the source of his problems at the plate.

The Yankees conduct standard physicals on their players each spring, including an eye test. The source said Granderson did not have his eyes checked again during the season, prompting some inside the organization to speculate that his vision could be at the root of his struggles.

This isn’t the first time Granderson’s eyes have been an issue. In February of 2010, Granderson told the Daily News that he had been diagnosed with 20/30 vision shortly after being traded to the Yankees, prompting him to try wearing contact lenses for the first time in his career.

Repoz Posted: October 20, 2012 at 06:51 AM | 52 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yankees

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   1. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 20, 2012 at 10:29 AM (#4277331)
"Brian Cashman to visit 9th grade math student, to learn what small sample size is."
   2. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 20, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4277341)
Curtis Granderson was 3-for-30 with 16 whiffs in 30 postseason at-bats


In 2011, Granderson had a near-MVP season and nobody was complaining. Kevin Long was being hailed as a genius.

Well:

From June 1 to June 9, 2011, Granderson was 3-27 with 14 whiffs.

From July 19 to July 29, 2011, Granderson was 5-33 with 18 whiffs.

From September 2 to September 11, 2011, Granderson was 4-33 with 14 whiffs.

It is hilarious that so many people, including those whose job it is to know, don't understand what they are watching in the playoffs.


   3. Adward Posted: October 20, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4277345)
My endpoints could beat up your endpoints.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4277347)
It is hilarious that so many people, including those whose job it is to know, don't understand what they are watching in the playoffs.

Ray, when you're whiffing at three straight breaking-balls in the dirt, repeatedly, there's more going on than small sample size. Either the hitter isn't seeing the ball, or he's so mentally screwed up he can't restrain himself from flailing.

You can tell a lot from a player's approach at the plate, and Granderson's was complete ####. Swisher, on the other hand, looked decent while sucking up the joint. But he's sucked for multiple post-seasons, so I'm going to say something mental is going on there as well.
   5. winnipegwhip Posted: October 20, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4277349)
The specialist came highly recommended from CB Bucknor.
   6. jmurph Posted: October 20, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4277351)
Ray, it's not like Granderson only slumped in the playoffs. He had a career-worst OBP in the regular season. He k'd 195 times.
   7. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 20, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4277352)
It is hilarious that so many people, including those whose job it is to know, don't understand what they are watching in the playoffs.


The article specifically states that the Yankees feel that the problem had been ongoing "for several months", not just the playoffs, and that Granderson had previous concerns with his eyes. It seems perfectly prudent just to check if that is indeed part of the problem.
   8. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 20, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4277360)
My endpoints could beat up your endpoints.


And that's exactly the point: that players go through stretches like this during the regular season, but since nobody is really paying attention, nobody notices.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2012 at 11:09 AM (#4277362)

And that's exactly the point: that players go through stretches like this during the regular season, but since nobody is really paying attention, nobody notices.


As jmurph said, he K'd 195 times, and can't recognize a breaking ball in the dirt. That would seem like a hint that he's not seeing the ball real well.

If they had concerns, I don't know why he didn't see the doctors months ago. It's not like one of the best hospitals in the world isn't about 3 miles from Yankee Stadium. He could have had the tests done during pre-game warmups for heaven's sake.
   10. Chip Posted: October 20, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4277363)
Ray, it's not like Granderson only slumped in the playoffs. He had a career-worst OBP in the regular season. He k'd 195 times.


His OBP was a whole five points lower than his OBP in his first year with NYY.

As for the strikeouts, we're talking about a former AL strikeout king (a runaway winner in '06) who has finished in the AL top ten in that category four other times in his career besides 2012. Last year he was 4th in Ks, this year 2nd.

   11. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 20, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4277364)
The article specifically states that the Yankees feel that the problem had been ongoing "for several months", not just the playoffs,


That's why I pulled my endpoints from 2011. In 2011, an MVP quality season, where everyone was praising Kevin Long and nobody thought Granderson was blind, he went through some of the same whiff-happy stretches.

But magically, because the calendar said October, people think he has an eye problem.

"Hitter who strikes out a lot strikes out a lot. Film at 11."
   12. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 20, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4277366)
As jmurph said, he K'd 195 times, and can't recognize a breaking ball in the dirt. That would seem like a hint that he's not seeing the ball real well.


It shouldn't come as news to people that Granderson is prone to the strikeout.

Strikeouts, Curtis Granderson

2006 AL 174 (1st)
2007 AL 141 (7th)
2009 AL 141 (9th)
2011 AL 169 (4th)
2012 AL 195 (2nd)


EDIT: Or, what Chip said.
   13. jmurph Posted: October 20, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4277367)
I'm not saying I buy the bad eyes theory, we obviously can't know enough to judge that. I'm just saying it's clear that his struggles didn't start in October.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4277368)
It shouldn't come as news to people that Granderson is prone to the strikeout.

Are you saying that they shouldn't have his eyes checked because he's K'd a lot before?
   15. Chip Posted: October 20, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4277369)
I'm not saying I buy the bad eyes theory, we obviously can't know enough to judge that. I'm just saying it's clear that his struggles didn't start in October.


Yes, they started on or about 9/13/04, when he broke in with the Tigers.

Although probably before then, since his high K rate has not been confined to the majors. The season after he made his MLB debut, he spent a full season in Triple A at Toledo and K'd 129 times in only 503 PAs with the Mud Hens.
   16. bunyon Posted: October 20, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4277371)
I'm on record as saying that if I were a MLB team (or NFL team, etc.), I would have an MRI onsite and my own team of techs. I would scan guys routinely.

Given that, I think it's safe to conclude that I'm onboard with checking out his eyes. I mean, I have a job in which I could be mostly blind and, yet, it's recommended I get an annual eye exam. I guess you can carp about press releases all you want but it seems to me suggesting players whose livelihood depends on excellent eyesight shouldn't have an eye exam frequently is silly.

And I did think Swisher looked like he was having eye trouble. He was stabbing at balls in the OF, swinging at bad pitches and missing badly. Maybe that's just him, but I think he ought to tag along with Curtis.
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4277374)

And I did think Swisher looked like he was having eye trouble. He was stabbing at balls in the OF, swinging at bad pitches and missing badly. Maybe that's just him, but I think he ought to tag along with Curtis.


Why not? It's not like it's odd for the eyes to deteriorate in your 30's.
   18. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 20, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4277377)
Are you saying that they shouldn't have his eyes checked because he's K'd a lot before?


Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. That is a silly reason to check someone's eyes. Has he been complaining of vision problems? Is he walking into walls and doors and oncoming traffic? Those would be reasons to have one's eyes checked. Not because you were a bad baseball player for two weeks in October.
   19. Chip Posted: October 20, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4277382)
I guess you can carp about press releases all you want but it seems to me suggesting players whose livelihood depends on excellent eyesight shouldn't have an eye exam frequently is silly.


Strawman, since this hasn't been suggested.

I wholeheartedly endorse annual eye checks as part of a physical (not just for pro athletes, but for anyone). Just mocking the belief that there was something new in Granderson's performance this year, or this postseason, that indicated a significant degradation in his eyesight. And that it was somehow missed because, according to the no doubt super-reliable unnamed sources inside the Yankees talking to the Daily News, his eyes weren't checked this year. If there's a vision problem, he's had it his whole career.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4277385)
Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. That is a silly reason to check someone's eyes. Has he been complaining of vision problems? Is he walking into walls and doors and oncoming traffic? Those would be reasons to have one's eyes checked. Not because you were a bad baseball player for two weeks in October.

Well that's just silly. There's zero reason not to get a thorough eye exam every offseason.

Do you know that Granderson hasn't complained about his vision? Maybe he wants to keep it quiet so he doesn't look like he's making excuses.

The guy has got every day off from now until ~Feb 20. I think he can fit an eye exam in between his golf rounds.
   21. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 20, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4277394)
I can't see why doing a vision check would be a bad thing, since the sort of difference in vision that you might not notice in everyday life might be much more critical to a Major League batter.

That said, I'm skeptical that this has anything to do with Granderson's strikeout problem, which has been a part of his baggage since his career in OB began. Combine his freeswinging approach with a bit of pressing when he feels himself getting into a slump, and to me that would explain his problems more than his vision. Freeswinging combined with a lack of plate discipline is a perfect recipe for tons of strikeouts.

But sure, check it out, and if his vision's anything less than 20/20, Tiger Woods and I can both recommend a terrific lasik surgeon. There's no excuse these days for any athlete to be out there with anything less than perfect eyesight.
   22. Swedish Chef Posted: October 20, 2012 at 12:14 PM (#4277398)
Strawman, since this hasn't been suggested.

What is Ray objecting so strenuously to then?
   23. bunyon Posted: October 20, 2012 at 12:23 PM (#4277402)
Strawman, since this hasn't been suggested.

I wholeheartedly endorse annual eye checks as part of a physical (not just for pro athletes, but for anyone). Just mocking the belief that there was something new in Granderson's performance this year, or this postseason, that indicated a significant degradation in his eyesight. And that it was somehow missed because, according to the no doubt super-reliable unnamed sources inside the Yankees talking to the Daily News, his eyes weren't checked this year. If there's a vision problem, he's had it his whole career.


Fair enough. But, geez, teams - businesses - put out all sorts of public consumption garbage. Who cares what they're saying in the press? Get his eyes checked. It's cheap, it might be a problem. As snapper says, people's eyes change as they age. For most of us, it takes some time to notice - who, who is 40, hasn't spent a couple years squinting and moving their glasses around and moving books to and fro before going for a checkup.

I'm saying more than he should get an annual eye exam. I'm saying I'd have an eye doc that would take a look at all the players - certainly anyone over 30 - every homestand. What is an insignificant, perhaps undetecteable, change in my vision might well be a big negative for a hitter. We all know hitting productivity dips with age and we think it's reflexes and strength. I'm certain that, in many cases, it's eyesight. Go to the damned eye doctor.

And everyone else stop worrying about press releases from teams who are no longer active.
   24. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 20, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4277405)
I'm objecting to the silliness of rushing him to the eye doctor because he had a bad 30 PA and so now you think his vision has deteriorated. Is there no end to the silliness of what people will believe in w/r/t the postseason?

If you want to give him annual eye exams, fine.
   25. Hack Wilson Posted: October 20, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4277410)
I believe by saying eye specialist he really means hypnotist, and that clearly is what every Yankee needs. (I really would like to see Jeter clucking like a chickem.)
   26. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 20, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4277421)
I believe by saying eye specialist he really means hypnotist, and that clearly is what every Yankee needs. (I really would like to see Jeter clucking like a chicken.)

I think we've pretty much reached the high point of this discussion, and give Hack Wilson the save.
   27. depletion Posted: October 20, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4277448)
If the eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
   28. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: October 20, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4277486)
I believe by saying eye specialist he really means hypnotist, and that clearly is what every Yankee needs.

"Losing is a disease... like... syphilis."
   29. JE (Jason) Posted: October 20, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4277523)
This sounds silly. Don't ballplayers get checkups once a year, including a look-see from an optometrist?
   30. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 20, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4277524)
If Granderson wants to rush to the eye doctor in the wake of a poor post-season what's the big deal? It's not like an eye exam is invasive surgery. What's the worst that happens, they do the puff of air into the eye thing they dilate his pupils so he's mildly inconvenienced for an hour and there is nothing wrong? Who cares? I'd rather my player thinking "something went wrong, let me see if I can find the cause" then "ah #### it, I gotta go cash this check."
   31. valuearbitrageur Posted: October 20, 2012 at 03:50 PM (#4277533)
If they had concerns, I don't know why he didn't see the doctors months ago. It's not like one of the best hospitals in the world isn't about 3 miles from Yankee Stadium. He could have had the tests done during pre-game warmups for heaven's sake.


Do you people think he was willfully refusing to get examined?

If not, then you know the answer, his eyes ain't the problem.
   32. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: October 20, 2012 at 04:26 PM (#4277553)
The guy hit 43 HRs with bad vision. That's quite a feat. How many would he have hit with better vision? 63? 73? 83?
   33. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 20, 2012 at 05:03 PM (#4277578)
Do you people think he was willfully refusing to get examined?

Of course not. The question is whether anyone asked him to get them examined. Few people in their 20's or 30's ever think to get checkups on their own, unless they already wear glasses or contacts.

If not, then you know the answer, his eyes ain't the problem.

Again, I doubt if his eyes are the problem---maybe a 5% chance that they contribute to it, if anything at all.

But vision can deteriorate gradually without one's knowing it.** It happened to me from the time I was 10 to the time I was 55, before I finally said the hell with it and got lasik. Before that, I must have had my prescription upgraded half a dozen times, as I developed progressive nearsightedness and then astigmatism. But since it usually happens quite gradually, I almost never had noticed any particular deterioration before the exam confirmed it. I guess all I'm saying is that if Granderson (or anyone, for that matter) hasn't had his eyes checked recently, it's only common sense for him to do so.

Beyond that, I'd hope he'd work on his pitch selection, but since that's often a matter of less than perfect reflexes, I'm not sure how much that can be improved to begin with. It's not as if hitting Major League pitching is exactly a cakewalk.

**Glaucoma in particular is something seldom noticed in the absence of an examination until it's well advanced. It's relatively easy to control with eyedrops if it's caught early enough, but if it's not caught early, well, look at Kirby Puckett.

   34. caprules Posted: October 20, 2012 at 10:00 PM (#4277727)
The guy hit 43 HRs with bad vision. That's quite a feat.


I heard, who knows how true it is, that Kirby Puckett would hang out with the team after he retired due to glaucoma and would occasionally take batting practice. The story was that he could still hit BP home runs, with no vision in one eye.

Here is a story about Jake Peavy having trouble seeing his catchers signals in 2006. A new prescription had been ordered for him in ST, but for some reason, he didn't get the order until August. I don't think its a coincidence that his 2006 looks like an outlier from the surrounding seasons.

   35. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 20, 2012 at 10:33 PM (#4277746)
I thought Tony Conigliaro was the poster boy for hitting home runs half blind. 20 in 1969, 36 in 1970.
   36. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: October 21, 2012 at 06:19 AM (#4277852)
The story was that he could still hit BP home runs, with no vision in one eye.

Which eye? A RH hitter's left eye is the important eye.
   37. Chip Posted: October 21, 2012 at 09:39 AM (#4277873)
Of course not. The question is whether anyone asked him to get them examined. Few people in their 20's or 30's ever think to get checkups on their own, unless they already wear glasses or contacts.


If you RTFA you know Granderson is an exception to this. He had an eye exam as recently as three years ago, was measured at 20/30, and was given contacts. The only thing we don't know from what's been reported is whether he renewed the prescription. If he did, he likely has been examined more than once since then.

But who knows, maybe he ditched the contacts. God forbid our intrepid Daily News reporters try to get an answer to this quite obvious question when Yankee front office types start anonymously leaking the news that his eyes weren't examined as part of his spring training physical in 2012. No, they just run with the single source blind paraphrase as the basis of the entire story.

What's amazing is that it took the diligent efforts of both Feinsand and Madden to turn up the one source. And to write this unprofessional horseshit line about a reporting failure a high school news intern would be embarrassed by: "It's unclear whether Granderson continued wearing the lenses during the past two seasons."
   38. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 21, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4277878)
Of course not. The question is whether anyone asked him to get them examined. Few people in their 20's or 30's ever think to get checkups on their own, unless they already wear glasses or contacts.

If you RTFA you know Granderson is an exception to this. He had an eye exam as recently as three years ago, was measured at 20/30, and was given contacts. The only thing we don't know from what's been reported is whether he renewed the prescription. If he did, he likely has been examined more than once since then.


You're right. I usually do RTFA, but in this case I didn't. All I'd say here, though, is to repeat the point that nearsightedness often gets worse with people in their 30's, and for a ballplayer who's wearing contacts I'd think that annual checkups would be extremely important. Not saying that Granderson hasn't been doing this.
   39. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 21, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4277880)
I thought Tony Conigliaro was the poster boy for hitting home runs half blind. 20 in 1969, 36 in 1970.

IIRC that was only because his beanball-caused vision problem had been thought to have been "cured" during those two years, only to go into remission. I could be wrong in my recollection, but nobody's who's "half blind" or with any significant loss of vision could ever hit Major League pitching at anything remotely approaching a normal 20/20 talent rate. Hell, that's hard enough to do in sports like golf or pool, where the ball presents a stationary target, let alone a sport like baseball with a rapidly moving one.
   40. McCoy Posted: October 21, 2012 at 10:19 AM (#4277883)
If I recall it was discovered that Kirby Puckett had horrible vision and he couldn't pick up the spin of the ball until it was almost at the plate.
   41. BDC Posted: October 21, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4277887)
nobody's who's "half blind" or with any significant loss of vision could ever hit Major League pitching at anything remotely approaching a normal 20/20 talent rate

Chick Hafey had the most storied bad vision among hitters. Photos of him typically show him in amazing goggles of eyeglasses. The glasses evidently helped, because he was a hellacious hitter for a few years.

By contrast, the faster the pitcher, the worse his vision is legendarily reputed to be. Ryne Duren and Steve Dalkowski were supposed to be extremely myopic; it added to their fear factor, naturally.

And of course there's the pitcher in Woody Allen's Radio Days.
   42. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 21, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4277943)
If I recall it was discovered that Kirby Puckett had horrible vision and he couldn't pick up the spin of the ball until it was almost at the plate.

Here's the thing about glaucoma, which I've got and which Puckett had. It's very easy not to know you've got it, since it doesn't affect your normal straight-ahead vision. If I cup my right eye, I can only see the bottom half of my field of vision out of my left eye; the top hemisphere is dark. If I cup my left eye, there are smaller random patches of blindness in my right eye's field of vision. And yet with both eyes open, I'm not aware of any of this, since one eye can "cover" for the other. It wasn't until I was given a field of vision test that I knew I had glaucoma, and was able to contain it with eyedrops.

What this means in normal everyday life in cases like mine is little, since your eyes can adjust easily to objects moving across your total field of vision at relatively slow speeds. But for someone like Puckett whose glaucoma was advanced by the time it was diagnosed, the disease can greatly diminish one's ability to follow rapidly moving and curving objects as they enter and exit one's blind spots. Think of it as a worse version of trying to hit a cut fastball or a late breaking slider, as late afternoon shadows advance from the mound towards home plate, with the occasional streak of sunlight in between, and you'll have some idea of the problem.
   43. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: October 21, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4277994)
He could always elect to have "non-performance enhancing" laser surgery on his eyeballs.
   44. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 21, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4278002)
Or just accept God's judgement and throw away his contact lenses.
   45. Steve Treder Posted: October 21, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4278035)
IIRC that was only because his beanball-caused vision problem had been thought to have been "cured" during those two years, only to go into remission.

That's correct.
   46. McCoy Posted: October 21, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4278046)
George Sisler
   47. Bruce Markusen Posted: October 21, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4278053)
I interviewed Bruce Fitzpatrick, the author of a biography on Tony C that was published earlier this year. Here's what he told me about Conigliaro's vision in 1969 and 1970. "What most people don’t know is that he [came back] with impaired vision. The sight in his injured eye never quite came back fully. He'd have to look slightly to the left of the pitcher to pick up the ball after it was released. Quite an accomplishment."

Fitzpatrick's remarks are consistent with research I've done about Conigliaro in the past. I believe that what happened after 1970 was a worsening of his already imperfect vision, to the point where he just couldn't see the ball sufficiently to hit.
   48. Steve Treder Posted: October 21, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4278055)
I believe that what happened after 1970 was a worsening of his already imperfect vision, to the point where he just couldn't see the ball sufficiently to hit.

That's my understanding as well.
   49. Zach Posted: October 21, 2012 at 04:26 PM (#4278151)
Having your own MRI machine might be going a little far -- you might even get some pushback from players who are paranoid they're going to get cut for minor injuries. But I don't see why every team doesn't make a deal with the local opthamologist and give every player a comprehensive eye exam every year. Every couple of years you hear about some minor leaguer who never realized he was blind as a bat and picks up 100 points of OPS for about a 20 dollar investment.
   50. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 21, 2012 at 06:14 PM (#4278199)

If you RTFA you know Granderson is an exception to this. He had an eye exam as recently as three years ago, was measured at 20/30, and was given contacts. The only thing we don't know from what's been reported is whether he renewed the prescription. If he did, he likely has been examined more than once since then.

In New York State you can't order contact lenses with a prescription that is more than a year old. It's possible that someone just wrote him a new prescription without checking his eyes, or that he was examined and settled for less-than-perfect vision rather than change to a new type of lenses.
   51. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: October 21, 2012 at 08:25 PM (#4278378)
The guy hit 43 HRs with bad vision. That's quite a feat


I mean, what happens? Does he only have the bad vision part of the time, and sometimes it clears up enough for him to hit 43 HRs? It kind of sounds like an excuse, frankly.

Brian Mc Cann had that a couple years ago; his hitting issues were supposed to be due to that, and then he got new contacts or something, had a brief renaissance and has been worse than ever after that.
   52. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: October 21, 2012 at 09:23 PM (#4278493)
I mean, what happens? Does he only have the bad vision part of the time, and sometimes it clears up enough for him to hit 43 HRs? It kind of sounds like an excuse, frankly.


How about his vision is plenty good to see the straight stuff, but not good enough to recognize breaking balls? Anybody know how many of those 43 HR came on fastballs?

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