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Juan Encarnacion drilled in eye with foul ball while on deck


STL FANATIC

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This happened during yesterday's (8/31) game.

Here's the video: http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/media/pla..._free&_mp=1

Juan was standing there getting ready to pinch-hit. It didn't appear he was watching the previous pitch. Aaron Miles was late on a swing and hit a laser right off Juan's left eye/orbital bone.

His orbital bone is broken in several places and his sustained a "serious" injury to his eye. Here's a link to a blog from the Post-Dispatch about it: http://www.stltoday.com/blogs/sports-bird-...iously-injured/

The scary thing is, even a career ending injury might be considered lucky with with what could have been.

I know there's some out there who feel like you shouldn't overreact based on one incident, but at what point does the MLB need to start making some changes to prevent this type of thing? Remember Mike Coolbaugh was struck and killed by a line drive coaching third base not long ago.

Helmets on the base coaches? Does on-deck HAVE to be on the field?

The thing about those two positions that differs from players and fans, is that they often have to split their attention on other things such as base runners or getting their practice swings in. But I even start to wonder if more caution shouldn't be taken for fans, too.

I'm a fan of safe over sorry myself.

My thoughts and prayers are with Juan. I'm glad he appears to be fine in terms of it being life-threatening, but it'd still be awful to have it end his career.

He's gotten plenty of flack for lack of hustle and whatnot from our fans here in St. Louis. I, myself, enjoy what he brings to the table. But regardless, this is just horrible to see and I hope he can have a full recovery.

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Ok...first things first. I'm one of those fans who gave him flack. While I am happy that he is not dead, nor lose the eye, and am somewhat upset that he is hurt, I will not be expressing sorrow over the likely end of his Cardinals career.

Personally, I feel that baseball doesn't have to make dramatic changes as a result of this fluke, and I emphasize fluke, incident. It should be emphasized that players need to always be alert when they are on the playing area in case a foul ball does come their way. As for the fans, they already have the nets in place for just that very reason. There is no need for additional precautions. In fact, maybe the fans should actually follow the admonitions that come at these events and pay attention.

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Good blog post by Bernie Miklasz of the Post-Dispatch discussing the issues I brought up a bit, as well as just commenting on the situation.

http://www.stltoday.com/blogs/sports-berni...mejores-pronto/

To Juan Encarnacion: Que te mejores pronto

By Bernie Miklasz

09/01/2007 1:54 pm

Please excuse my attempt at Spanish, but I hope Juan E. does get well soon, very soon, and that he will rebound from a frightening injury that threatens his career.

When Juan was felled after being struck in the left eye by a foul line drive during Friday?s win over the Reds, the sickening scene evoked sad historical memories and tragic names. Ray Chapman. Herb Score. Tony Conigliaro. Bryce Florie. Dickie Thon. Mike Coolbaugh. There have been many others, of course. Players are always in danger of being hit in the face by a fastball traveling at 93 mph, or nailed by a careening line drive. It?s a job hazard.

After Coolbaugh?s death earlier this summer ? he was struck on the temple by a foul ball while coaching first base in the minors ? some base coaches said they?d consider wearing helmets on the field for protection. But what can be done? Mostly, this is bad luck. When a screaming line drive unexpectedly heads your way, as human beings we simply lack the reflexes to fully protect ourselves. There?s been talk of putting coaches and on-deck hitters behind screens, but the idea has gained no traction. In some respects, it?s surprising that this doesn?t occur more often.

Overall safety is a larger issue that can?t be settled in this space, but I doubt that MLB will be erecting screens or issuing helmets for those coaching the bases or those seated in perimeter seats closest to the field. There has been some discussion of adding a plexiglass shield ring (not too high) to protect fans seated in harm?s way.

Saturday, manager Tony La Russa said they?ll discuss the possibility of moving the on-deck circle to a safer position, closer to the backstop. ?But wherever you put it, the potential is there for this to happen again,? he said.

For now, our concerns are with Juan De Dios Encarnacion.

A likable, laid-back guy. Popular with his teammates. Cool in his demeanor, and with his sense of humor. An easy rider. Sure, Juan?s casual mannerisms irritated a large number of Cardinals fans, his manager, and some media people. But the fact that Juan is more of a glider than a flat-out grinder is irrelevant now.

Reading the forums on STLtoday.com, it seems that many fans feel compelled to note that they criticized him, or didn?t like him, or wanted to get rid of him ? and now they feel remorse for thinking and stating those things.

Please stop that. There?s no need to have any guilt pangs, no need to put an asterisk by your words of sympathy just because you may have complained about Juan E in the past. So forget about issuing those disclaimers.

Scrutinizing Juan?s base running or defensive approach is a baseball thing. Players should be held accountable. As fans and media, we?re bugged by a lot of performance-related actions. But it doesn?t mean we harbor any bad wishes, or hope to see a player suffer an injury.

And when something like this happens, it touches our human side ? our irrational fan side slips into the standby mode.

Our reaction shifts to genuine concern and worry from one human being to another.

So if you are inclined to say a prayer for Juan, do it. If you just want to think positive things in your heart about Juan, do it. Doesn?t matter if you hollered at him before. He?s part of the baseball family. And we know what happens with families. We may argue and get mad and find fault in each other, but when it?s serious, especially if it?s related to health, we close the circle and rally around the person who needs our support.

Encarnacion is out for the season, and he will be missed.

Obtenga bien pronto, Juan.

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I seriously hope he is alright, he's a great baseball player and you hate to see these kinds of things happen, especially to players on your team. Thank goodness he was able to walk away, and I hope he is able to play again in the future, and do the thing he is best at, and the thing he loves As a Cardinal fan I know that everyone not only in the Cardinal nation, but also the baseball nation is praying for him, and wishing the best for a speedy and full recovery.

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This was a freak accident. I don't think things will or should change much when it comes to on-deck circles. I think the on-deck circles are at the right place. Line drives will go toward the dugout, the back stop, but not too often does it head toward the on-deck circle. You would have to hit the ball really late or at a unnatural position to hit the ball in that direction.

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This was a freak accident. I don't think things will or should change much when it comes to on-deck circles. I think the on-deck circles are at the right place. Line drives will go toward the dugout, the back stop, but not too often does it head toward the on-deck circle. You would have to hit the ball really late or at a unnatural position to hit the ball in that direction.

The death of that little girl at a Blue Jackets game a few years back from getting struck by a puck was also a freak accident, and they still put netting up behind the nets. In 1977, Gerry Dejardins was struck in the eye by the edge of a puck causing severe hemorrhaging which resulted in the mass movement towards cage style masks. To help that cause, Bernie Parnets career was ended by a stick making its way through that eye opening. Clint Malarchuk got his juggular severd by a skate and almost died as a result which pushed for players and goalies to wear neck guards.

Those are just a few examples I could recall off hand which shows freak accidents that have resulted in changes in their respective sports (pretty much hockey, lol). I would not be surprised if some players and fans try to push for the league to maybe move or protect the on deck circle so nothing like that happens again. Who knows though, they could just wait for it to happen again and result in a death for a change to occur.

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This was a freak accident. I don't think things will or should change much when it comes to on-deck circles. I think the on-deck circles are at the right place. Line drives will go toward the dugout, the back stop, but not too often does it head toward the on-deck circle. You would have to hit the ball really late or at a unnatural position to hit the ball in that direction.

The death of that little girl at a Blue Jackets game a few years back from getting struck by a puck was also a freak accident, and they still put netting up behind the nets. In 1977, Gerry Dejardins was struck in the eye by the edge of a puck causing severe hemorrhaging which resulted in the mass movement towards cage style masks. To help that cause, Bernie Parnets career was ended by a stick making its way through that eye opening. Clint Malarchuk got his juggular severd by a skate and almost died as a result which pushed for players and goalies to wear neck guards.

Those are just a few examples I could recall off hand which shows freak accidents that have resulted in changes in their respective sports (pretty much hockey, lol). I would not be surprised if some players and fans try to push for the league to maybe move or protect the on deck circle so nothing like that happens again. Who knows though, they could just wait for it to happen again and result in a death for a change to occur.

Most of the changes you describe are in regards to equipment the players wear, not changes to the playing surface itself (the obvious exception being the netting at hockey games, which exists mainly because it does make sense to hang it.) Unfortunately, I'm not sure of what they can do for an equipment change in baseball to protect against the .0001% chance that this might happen. (Maybe require visors like they have on hockey helmets.)

As for the fans, again, netting should be sufficient. If you are sitting in the danger zone, and need plexiglass or something to protect you against foul balls because you rarely pay attention to the game, please remove your yuppie bandwagoning, pink hat-wearing arse from the stadium, so someone who actually wants to watch the game can buy your ticket. <_<

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First off I want to give my best wishes to Juan for as speedy a recovery as possible.

Then I need to address safety. Mike's death wouldn't have been prevented by a batting helmet. The area where the ball supposedly struck him (based on x-rays) wouldn't have been covered by a helmet. Players need to pay more attention to what's going on at the plate instead of treating the on-deck circle like they're safely tucked away. I wouldn't be against stretching the netting down the lines at least to the bases to protect fans but if we're going to place screening or something up to protect the on-deck hitters and base coaches, then why not the pitcher as well? Or did you forget Bryce Florie? :censored: happens. You can only protect people so much before it just becomes ridiculous.

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First off I want to give my best wishes to Juan for as speedy a recovery as possible.

Then I need to address safety. Mike's death wouldn't have been prevented by a batting helmet. The area where the ball supposedly struck him (based on x-rays) wouldn't have been covered by a helmet. Players need to pay more attention to what's going on at the plate instead of treating the on-deck circle like they're safely tucked away. I wouldn't be against stretching the netting down the lines at least to the bases to protect fans but if we're going to place screening or something up to protect the on-deck hitters and base coaches, then why not the pitcher as well? Or did you forget Bryce Florie? :censored: happens. You can only protect people so much before it just becomes ridiculous.

It was a very freak thing. I think if you told him to stand there with his hands on the bat, and watch for the ball to come to him, and he knew it was going to, he still would have had a really hard time getting out of the way.

I've been hit near the eye before, and its not pretty. I was catching and had taken my mask off out of habit. There was a play at the plate, but the ball was short. The runner had scored already but there were runners on, so I went down to block the ball in from the SS's relay. The ball hit the lip in front of the plate, and took one hop into my face. I got hit right below the eye on my check. an inch up I would have had the same fate Juan had with less speed. And inch lower and my jaw would be wired shut. In the end, it swelled up massively, I stayed in the game but was not comfortable.

That was a freak thing as well. Throw that ball 100 times and only 1 or 2 times does it hit me in the face. Every other time it hits my chestguard, goes past me, or one side of my head or the other. Out of the thousands upon thousands of baseball games played every year, how many times does the batter in the on deck circle get hit, in ANY level of play? 10? maybe? I can honestly say if I had seen Juan's live, it would have been the first time in nearly 20 years of playing baseball I had seen it happen.

Its very unfortunate, but there isn't much you can do except move the circle closer to the backstop (behind parallel to the plate) or put a net. I think a net would be more dangerous if it was in the field of play (to foul balls) and the same goes for the coaches boxes. There is only so much you can do. If they want to put netting up all around the field, I think it would take away from the spectators experience. If you put on a Plexiglass sheet, same thing and you have to worry about 5 rows up still. I just think players know what they are getting into and no rules need to be put in place, and spectators that close need to pay attention, stay alert, and watch small kids if they are in the box sets.

I wish Juan a speedy recovery if possible. I was one of the ones that have ridiculed his play at times, and I don't take it back. Like Bernie said, on field is different from off field. You never wish ill will towards a player even if he's the worst player imaginable.

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I just hope Encarnacion is ok. It's always scary when an injury to the face occurs. Thoughts and prayers are with him. Hopefully Encarnacion has a speedy recovery and this doesn't turn out to be life threatening (or even career threatening, but that is not nearly as important.)

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That's a horrible accident and hopefully it doesn't end his career. If they are looking for something more protective, we do something pretty simple that is 99% safe. All you do is stand in the on-deck circle behind the batter. They probably would never do this, but it is almost impossible for somebody to hit you if you are standing behind the batter.

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A report from TSN.ca - http://www.tsn.ca/mlb/news_story/?ID=217500&hubname=

Encarnacion's career could be over

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The damage a foul ball did to Juan Encarnacion's left eye was the worst the St. Louis Cardinals' medical director has ever seen to a baseball player.

Dr. George Paletta was not optimistic Sunday that the outfielder will regain full vision after his frightening injury and resume his career.

''It's the worst trauma I've seen. Absolutely,'' Paletta said, adding that the future holds no guarantees. ''You hope the best for Juan, but he suffered a severe injury with a very guarded prognosis.

''It's way too early to say whether he will or he won't, and if he doesn't what percentage of vision loss he may have.''

Paletta said the eye socket was essentially crushed on impact, comparing the injured area to the disintegration of an egg shell or ice cream cone, and that the optic nerve had sustained severe trauma. Reconstructive surgery may not take place for several days, while doctors wait for swelling to subside.

Paletta said there was no rupture to the eyeball.

Encarnacion, who is in the second year of a three-year free agent contract, crumpled to the grass after being struck, while waiting to pinch hit in the on-deck circle in the sixth inning on Friday. He remained hospitalized with a concussion and multiple fractures to the eye socket.

Encarnacion, 31, was still experiencing headaches and nausea, preventing his release. Paletta said a positive sign was that the outfielder's vision had improved some, although he anticipated that progress would be slow.

''So at this point we keep our fingers crossed, say a prayer for him and make sure he's getting the best treatment he can get,'' Paletta said.

With heavy hearts, the Cardinals swept the Reds in a three-game weekend series. Rick Ankiel hit a go-ahead grand slam later in the inning after Encarnacion was injured, and several hours after Scott Rolen went on the 15-day disabled list with a season-ending shoulder injury.

The Cardinals beat the Reds 3-2 on Sunday.

''Juan's situation is really hard on the team, and Scott's situation is tough,'' Jim Edmonds said. ''No one is going to feel sorry for us, so we have to play.''

Encarnacion missed the first 1½ months recovering from wrist surgery and hit .283 with nine homers and 47 RBIs. He had an 18-game hitting streak from May 30-June 18 and batted cleanup 35 times, mostly against left-handed pitchers.

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