Because there are column inches to fill, and because it more or less totally screwed the Angels’ already struggling offense, there was a good deal of sports columnist flappery over whether the celebration-induced injury suffered by Kendry Morales after Saturday’s game-winning grand slam would mean the “end” of baseball’s head-bopping, jump-up-and-down walk-off celebrations. There’s no way that something like Morales’ injury is going to stop this particular ritual from happening, of course, both because it’s basically the only non-brawl display of on-field emotion baseball’s code of behavior allows and because, as Joe Posnanski notes, this particular celebration is not necessarily all that dangerous compared to, say, anything else having to do with baseball. When the Angels won with another walk-off on Sunday, they were notably more chilled out, but this particular celebration probably isn’t going anywhere because of what amounts to a (really terrible) freak accident.
That won’t make things easier for Morales, of course, who will probably miss the rest of the season with a broken leg. But Morales still has it better than current Phillies farmhand Tagg Bozied, whom I previously knew only as a Triple-A slugger who logged some time in the Mets system a few years ago. Bozied was once a big-time prospect in the Padres system, but suffered an even worse injury in a home plate celebration back in 2004 and has never made it to the Bigs despite some solid Minor League seasons in the years since. If you’re looking for a Memorial Day pre-barbecue bumout, you’re of course very welcome. But really you should thank Larry Stone, who lays out the bummerific tale of Bozied’s injury in the Seattle Times:
In 2004, he hit .315/.374/.629 with 16 homers and 58 RBI through 57 games for Portland. The Padres were taking notice. A callup was imminent. But on July 19 of that year — against the Tacoma Rainiers, the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate, no less — he hit a game-winning grand slam off Tacoma pitcher Scott Atchison. Exactly like Morales. Bozied leapt on the plate, and as with Morales, the celebration quickly turned ugly. He had ruptured the patella tendon in his left knee and wound up hospitalized — and out for the season.
Um, enjoy your Memorial Day! And be careful, please.