“it’s worse than Tony C.” I would have packed up my duffel bag of life right then and there.
As it turned out, the ER doctors were wrong. Ten days after my injury, two specialists spent 11 hours reattaching my retina and fusing the fractures. Dr. Sean Lalin, the eye surgeon, told me I have an 80 percent chance of regaining good vision in the right eye by New Year’s. Today, I’m seeing images - blurry and unfocused, but at least the black curtain finally is lifting.
Still, I have a long, difficult road ahead of me: I’m going to need a cornea transplant in November, and will need a fourth surgery to repair a broken orbital bone at the floor of the eye socket. Parts of my face are still numb.
That’s a pretty steep price to pay for a hanging curveball. The obvious question, of course, is this: Was amateur baseball really worth it? The most obvious answer is no. As Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane - a friend for more than 20 years - told me on the phone, “maybe now you’ll stop living like Peter Pan.”
Beane is right in one sense: I’ve kept playing because I was afraid of what it would mean to stop. Peel away the layers of psychological flesh, and what awaits me is middle age.