Pirates pitcher Chris Jakubauskas was felled by a line drive to the head off the bat of Astros slugger Lance Berkman on Saturday in the first inning. The incident came on his 12th pitch of the game, or 11 pitches after he hoped it would.
"That's obviously not how I hoped my day would go," said Jakubauskas, who was making his first start of the season for Pittsburgh. "Ideally you never put a Pittsburgh Pirates uniform on, because it is incredibly humiliating. But if you have to, you just hope you are knocked out as soon as possible hopefully before anyone you know sees you playing for the Pirates."
Jakubauskas did not lose consciousness after being hit, but was woozy and moaning in pain.
"We were really worried about him," said Pirates manager John Russell. "Our trainer asked him if he knew where he was, and he said: 'Pitching for the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.' We couldn't bear to tell him the truth."
It wasn't until hours later at the hospital, surrounded by friends and family, that Jakabauskas was told the reality of the situation: he was a Pittsburgh Pirate.
"I'm not going to lie it wasn't easy at first," he said. "But then it all started coming back to me and there was solace knowing that I was only on the mound for two-thirds of an inning. And, best of all, I'm going to be out for a few weeks so I won't have to put a Pirates jersey on again any time soon, if ever again."
Jakubauskas says he purposely threw the Astros fastballs right down the middle of the plate, and then jutted his face out towards the batter. On his 12th pitch, the strategy paid off. Pirates starter Zach Duke says he respects his teammate's approach.
"That was a great idea," he said. "All this time I've been trying to pitch well, hoping my contract would get too big and they'd trade me. But getting hit in the face with a line drive? Yeah, that's a much faster ticket out of here. I'm trying that in my next start."
Pirates third baseman Andy LaRoche said he said a prayer for his teammate as he lay writhing on the mound.
"Watching something like that really puts everything into perspective," he said. "It makes you count your blessings. Like, thank God I don't play for the Orioles. I can't even imagine how hopeless that is."
April 23, 2010 Column
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What a horrible, horrible typo. It's obviously supposed to read San FranSOsickYO!
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"Now we can play some REAL sports."
On July 4, 1939, Yankees legend Lou Gehrig gave a famous speech to the fans at Yankee Stadium. But as a class organization, the Yankees honor not only their stars but their aging, long relievers on one-year contracts, too. So today, before a pack
SportsPickle is previewing each MLB team as the 2010 season opens. Today:New York Yankees (2009: 103-59, World Series champion).
Facing a fan base that is irate over 13 years of losing, a dreadful start to the season and now reports that the team turned down franchise icon Cal Ripken for a job, Orioles owner Peter Angelos attempted to extend an olive branch today to Baltimore baseball fans by hiring Billy Ripken as Vice President of Baseball Operations.
"I know many people wanted Cal to re-join the franchise," said Angelos, announcing the hiring at a press conference. "But I think Billy is the next best thing. Look at him. If you squint your eyes, you can convince yourself it is Cal. He is a similar size and shape as his brother. He shares the same genes. And he has literally followed Cal from job to job to job his entire playing and post-playing career. He had to have picked up something along the way, right?"
While the move seems to have placated some Orioles fans who are just happy the team is again associated with the Ripken name, others say it was just another move by Angelos to save a buck. While Cal Ripken would have garnered an executive level salary befitting someone of his stature, Billy Ripken will reportedly be paid $13.25 an hour, game-time only. He will also have complimentary access to the team's post-game spread.
"Cal always picked up the check for him whenever they ate out," said a team source. "Mr. Angelos didn't want to give in on that. Hot dogs don't grow on trees. But in the end it was the only way to get Billy and hopefully put an end to this whole mess with the fans so they'll shut up again."
Ripken will oversee all of the franchise's baseball decisions, including scouting, the draft, signings and trades.
"Or whatever it was that you people were so gung-ho about Cal doing," said Angelos. "You name it, Billy can do it. He has a blank check. Of course, the check will still have to be signed by me, so I'll continue making all the decisions. But, you know, for appearances' sake Billy Ripken is your guy."
Cal's younger brother was tight-lipped at the introductory press conference about what role he will serve with the Orioles.
"Fk face," he said.
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Even the most old-school baseball fans have probably come to realize the fact that advanced statistics are all the rage in baseball these days.
But without a shiny new sabermetric of their own, they'll never be able to decisively win baseball arguments against the new breed of fan. While the youngsters rely on their VORPs, their WARPs and their xFIPs, the old-timers can now silence them for good with these six even more obscure, yet totally accurate, sabermetric stats.
SportsPickle is previewing each MLB team as the 2010 season opens. Today:Philadelphia Phillies (2009: 93-69, National League champion).