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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Klapisch: Thrown a curve, kindness is my buoy

“it’s worse than Tony C.”  I would have packed up my duffel bag of life right then and there.

Welcome back, Klap!

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.

Repoz Posted: August 24, 2008 at 04:35 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. JRVJ (formerly Delta Socrates) Posted: August 24, 2008 at 04:57 PM (#2914585)
I read this story after it was linked to by Pete Abe. I was wondering if it was link-worthy here, and now I guess I have the answer.

Eye injuries are a major scare to me. Kapisch's partially explains why as humans get older, softball becomes more feasible an option than baseball.... (reaction times are not what they used to be, which is especially dangerous for pitchers and hitters).
   2. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: August 24, 2008 at 07:34 PM (#2914733)
Speaking of which, is Juan Encarnacion officially retired now?
   3. Guts Posted: August 24, 2008 at 07:38 PM (#2914739)
Speaking of which, is Juan Encarnacion officially retired now?

AFAIK his career is over, so I would assume so. Mozeliak thinks he is done.
   4. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: August 25, 2008 at 12:27 PM (#2915234)
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.

He could be a better ump than Doug Eddings <u>right now</u>.
   5. Belfry Bob Posted: August 25, 2008 at 06:06 PM (#2915582)
A couple of years ago when I was doing some rehab for a back problem, a really good PT guy told me that if it wasn't for 'over-40 would-be teenagers playing basketball', his patient load would be cut in half.

Maybe I was lucky that too many hours of playing ball on blacktop and concrete had ruined my ankles already, so I couldn't do anything more serious.

Good luck to you, Klap.
   6. sotapop Posted: August 25, 2008 at 06:32 PM (#2915596)
it's worth it to RTFA for the Piniella and Leiter anecdotes if nothing else. I'd seen the Leiter one, but not the Piniella. Also: if that's what you can get off a one-hop grounder, a liner's potential is downright terrifying.
   7. Cooperstown Schtick Posted: August 25, 2008 at 06:35 PM (#2915602)
I am really sorry for Klapisch's misfortune, and I sincerely wish him the speediest and fullest recovery, but I really think interpreting his story as a wake-up call for amateur baseball players, of any age, to recognize the foolishness of their pursuits is off base. If you continue to enjoy playing sports, you should be able to do it without feeling the looming threat of somebody putting somebody's eye out. This was a freak accident.
   8. The Good Face Posted: August 25, 2008 at 07:23 PM (#2915655)
it's worth it to RTFA for the Piniella and Leiter anecdotes if nothing else. I'd seen the Leiter one, but not the Piniella.


Yeah, I enjoyed those stories and they mesh well with my personal experiences. I have a cousin who was a pretty good college D1 pitcher for a decent but not elite program. Not quite good enough to be much of a pro prospect, and he eventually hurt his arm, graduated school and got a job like everybody else. He claims he can still throw in the mid-low 80s, and we were having a catch recently when I asked him show me his best stuff. His fastball, when it was coming straight at me, was terrifying. It hissed and sizzled and I could barely track it. His slider had a sickening, disorienting tilt and was still frighteningly fast. Even at his peak, he probably would have been organizational filler at best. Reminds you that even the fringiest big league players are incredibly talented.

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