There is nothing that makes you contemplate your connection to the world quite like an eye injury does. I’m speaking from experience here; when I was 11 I was hit hard in the eyebrow with a line drive and had no idea how bad the injury was until I got to the hospital (I was lucky, no broken bones, and what seems to have been a pretty minor concussion). More recently, I’ve been dealing with some retinal issues that thankfully don’t look to be as serious as they appeared at first. Contemplating the idea that something might be happening to your vision that will affect it for the rest of your life in your early 30s is a sobering, perspective-giving type of event.
Seeing Ryan Vogelsong get hit with a pitch the way he did today, then seeing the close-up picture that made it look like the ball hit him flush in the face, and finally hearing the Pirates say that it’s an injury to “the eye itself,” means that it’s really hard for me to think about anything other than Vogelsong’s health. I don’t want to speculate without information, but eye injuries are more than just baseball injuries. Vogelsong’s career as a whole is one of the more inspiring recent Major League Baseball careers, from being traded to the Dave Littlefield Pirates, blowing his elbow out, spending time in Japan, and finally pitching his way back to All Star Games and World Series rings. I sincerely hope that there’s one more chapter in that story, and my thoughts go out to him and his family right now.
The Pirates were able to rally after his injury today mostly thanks to the efforts of Wilfredo Boscan, who gave the Pirates four solid innings and mostly held the line after the Pirates built a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the third. This seems trivial, but it’s no small feat given the way the Pirates have almost blown some bigger leads this year. The Pirates need someone to do exactly what Boscan did both this afternoon and last week against Atlanta; pitch more than one inning and keep the game in roughly the same state that it’s in when you arrive. Boscan wasn’t perfect, but the Pirates didn’t need him to be perfect today. They needed four innings and maybe only two or three runs on the scoreboard. That’s what they got. He added in an RBI single on the first pitch of his first big league at-bat, and so he got his first hit, first RBI, and first win all on the same afternoon. That’s a special day for him, and hopefully he enjoys it a little bit despite the circumstances around it.
The Pirates are 24-19, and 5-2 on this homestand. They’re within 5 1/2 of the Cubs, which is the closest they’ve been since they started playing the Cubs. The Cubs and Cardinals play tonight. Remember: for now, all the Pirates can do is win the games in front of them, and see how the division falls around them. They’re doing a nice job of that so far.
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