I am now officially a Vince Velasquez fan.
Pitching in the second inning last night against my Washington Nationals (they will briefly cease being my team when they face the Red Sox in an inter-league series this week), Velasquez was nailed in his pitching shoulder by 97-mph line drive from the Nats’ Adam Eaton. Rather than fall to the ground screaming—the ball easily could have broken the pitcher’s arm—Velasquez continued doing his job. He went after the deflected ball, throwing off his glove as he ran, picked it up with his left (non-pitching) hand, and threw hard and accurately to first base for the out.
THEN he fell to the ground in agony from the pain in his injured pitching arm. Velasquez was placed on the disabled list after the game, which he left immediately.
From a purely athletic standpoint, the play was remarkable. Velasquez is obviously ambidextrous, and I assume he has thrown a baseball left-handed before. Nonetheless, doing so in a game situation so accurately is astounding. Ethically, which is more important (here anyway), his play demonstrated exemplary character. His first thought was not of himself, though nobody would have thought less of him if the pitcher had fallen to his knees in pain immediately and taken himself out of the play. Velasquez’s immediate focus was on his job, and hid duty to his team. He not only completed the play, but reacted to the circumstances coolly and efficiently, exhibiting courage, diligence, sacrifice, responsibility, and competence.
Vince Velasquez is the baseball equivalent of the hero in a war movie who tosses the decisive hand-grenade into the nest of enemy soldiers after he has sustained a crippling wound.
8 thoughts on “Ethics Hero: Philadelphia Phillies Pitcher Vince Velasquez”
Certainly one of the most impressive plays of this season. The Phillies not challenging the call at first was a bit surprising, given how close it appeared, and that a safe call would have scored a run. The “Unwritten Rules of Baseball” seem to be in use here.
You mean the Nats not challenging…and the reason is that their manager is incompetent.
Ooops! Yes, of course the Nats! Who went on to suffer a one run loss…
Talk about ethics in baseball, not to mention courage, fortitude and a single-minded devotion to his job! Man, he IS a hero. Saw a good example of who was NOT, however, today. Watched the Rangers home game against the White Sox. Rangers lost 10-5, but have had a good bunch of series so far. I digress…the game was carried by Fox Sports, who routinely puts up the strike box. The home plate umpire apparently has a bad back, since he rarely crouched over the catchers shoulder and routinely called pitches at least a foot outside the box as strikes. To give him his due, he did not discriminate between teams. He was blind for both of them. I have become an acolyte for calling strikes and balls with existing technology.
Agreed. Let there be video disputes, at least until everyone is comfortable about the computer.
A side effect of video and computers is that umpires can be ‘classed’ by the ever present statistics moguls, and the pitcher told where to pitch to pander to that umpire’s biases.
A refreshing play to watch after 2 weeks of world cup soccer dives…
Not to take away from Velasquez – and you probably have all the gen on this already – but PBS (I knew there was something you’d like about them!) is about to present on its American Masters series “Ted Williams: a true American hero,” airing Monday, July 23.
That’s at 9p.m. on KPBS-TV in San Diego (the only one I subscribe to), Williams’ home town, but the date should be a national premiere: the centennial of The Splendid Splinter’s birthday.
My bet is that Jack has the more interesting stories, and PBS has the visuals. I’m staying tuned for both.