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Jerry Hairston blames broken wrist on late-afternoon start time

Jun 30, 2011, 4:40 PM EDT

Jayson Werth, Jerry Hairston AP

UPDATE: So much for avoiding the DL. Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that Hairston will indeed be put on the shelf and is expected to miss 2-4 weeks.

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Jerry Hairston Jr. suffered what the Nationals are calling a “small break” in his left wrist when he was hit by a Dan Haren pitch during yesterday afternoon’s game, but the veteran utility man hopes to play through the injury.

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that Hairston will be examined today by a doctor, so he may end up not having much choice in the matter if a disabled list stint is advised.

Hairston blamed the late-afternoon start time for the injury, explaining how tough it is to pick up the baseball coming out of a pitcher’s hand because of shadows:

Somebody’s going to get really, really hurt. He could have hit my head. Really difficult to pick up the ball, so it’s going to take something serious to change. I’ve got a broken wrist. It could have been way worse. What if he hit me in the face? It’s just terrible. It’s irresponsible. Maybe they think they draw another 5,000 or so, I don’t know, it’s just terrible. The pitchers at this level are too good.

Hairston has played 14 seasons in the majors, so he’d know better than most, but 4:00 pm start times for games are hardly rare and there isn’t a rash of plunkings stemming from them.

  1. jamie54 - Jun 30, 2011 at 11:52 AM

    You said it all. After 14 years of playing similar games and it happens like this once, should not be a reason to change everything all of a sudden.

  2. jjschiller - Jun 30, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    I think he’s over-reacting, but I think he’s got a point, as it speaks to the longer-view by MLB.

    Players and announcers always complain about shadows in late afternoon starts, pointing out how hard it is for hitters to pick up the ball. It may have led to no “major” injuries, but it certainly isn’t conducive to good baseball.

    Coupled with MLB’s handling of rain-delays, forcing play to continue through weather that shouldn’t be played through, until the game is official, so they won’t have to reorganize travel, issue rain-checks, or ramp up the stadium operations (and expenses) on an additional day without selling any additional tickets.

    Then there’s 9 PM World Series games, night games on get-away-day (usually a 1 PM local start, so both teams can travel without a 4 AM arrival) because ESPN wants to air this matchup, and they want it in primetime.

    At it’s core, an athletic league is supposed to organize, officiate, and sanction league games for the purpose of producing a champion. The drama of competition and the production of a champion is what is supposed to draw paying fans.

    MLB, year by year, continues to become more and more a brand, a product, and a marketing force. Which is great. Make the money, sell the tshirts, pay the players. But you can’t continue to put the games, and the credibility of their results, in the backseat, and letting ticket sales and TV ratings drive the bus.

  3. bloodysock - Jun 30, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    Wow, does he have blue eyes too?

  4. rockstardaddy - Jun 30, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    Not all stadiums face the same direction, and not every park has the same shadow profile. A 4pm start could be a brutal visability situation in some places, and they’re rare enough that it may not be common enough to be documented.

  5. hoopmatch - Jul 1, 2011 at 4:36 AM

    Someone should build a stadium that rotates. Then it could always be adjusted for the best lighting and/or wind conditions.

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