KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Baseball went a little crazy on Thursday.
We witnessed the gruesome video of the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton being hit in the face by an 88-mile-per-hour fastball from Brewers righthander Mike Fiers.
According to a major league source, Stanton not only suffered a laceration to the left side of the face but fractures to his left cheek, and he will need dental work.
Stanton is expected to miss the remainder of the season, Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.
If those are the extent of the injuries, Stanton avoided a worse fate. The blood-soaked scene in the batter’s box in Milwaukee told a more horrific story. There was blood everywhere.
Stanton, who has 37 homers and 105 RBIs and will likely be the National League MVP, lay motionless for about seven minutes, then was taken away in an ambulance with his father at his side.
I hadn’t seen anything so gruesome since Tony Conigliaro was beaned by Jack Hamilton in August 1967. Conigliaro took it flush in the left eye. Stanton was hit below the left eye.
Stanton actually swung at the 0-and-1 pitch. Reed Johnson was summoned to finish the at-bat and he was hit in the right hand by the next pitch. Again, the umpires ruled that Johnson swung, and called it a strikeout.
According to a major league source, after Fiers hit Johnson, he threw the ball down, looked into the Marlins dugout, and challenged them to come out on the field.
The Marlins were hot. The benches emptied, as did the bullpens, but no punches were thrown.
After the game, Fiers gave a different impression.
“I just want to send my thoughts and prayers to Giancarlo Stanton . . . Never in my life has something like that happened,” Fiers said.
Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee, who was in the on-deck circle, started yelling at Fiers. Redmond was ejected.
Acting manager Rob Leary was later ejected after Marlins pitcher Anthony DeSclafini hit Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez with a pitch after both sides were warned. DeSclafini was ejected.
After the game, Leary responded to a text, saying, “It was [expletive] awful.” Gomez was praised for keeping his cool and not escalating an already tense situation.
Meanwhile, the umpiring crew, led by plate umpire Jeff Kellogg, will be criticized for allowing the situation to get out of hand.
“That was one of the worst things I’ve ever had to watch,” tweeted Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich. “Here’s to hoping Big G is all right and makes a full recovery. Prayers your way, buddy.”
While that was going on in Miami, Yankees third baseman Chase Headley was hit in the mouth by Tampa Bay lefthanded reliever Jake McGee’s 98-m.p.h. fastball. The switch-hitting Headley, batting righthanded, had X-rays on his jaw, which were negative. Derek Jeter was also hit, in the elbow.
The Yankees got even rather than mad, as Chris Young beat the Rays with a walkoff home run.
Mets righthander Bartolo Colon hit two Washington batters immediately after he surrendered home runs. He hit Jayson Werth with a pitch after Anthony Rendon hit a two-run homer. Colon also allowed a two-run homer to Adam LaRoche, then hit the next batter, Ian Desmond. Both Colon and Mets manager Terry Collins were ejected.
It didn’t stop there. Washington lefthander Matt Thornton hit the Mets’ Daniel Murphy on the right forearm. He required X-rays, which were negative.
After the game, Werth said of Colon’s behavior, “We don’t have time for [expletive].” Nationals manager Matt Williams added when asked about whether Colon’s pitches were intentional, “I don’t know, but Bartolo has fantastic command.”
Colon, who had hit three batters all season, said after the game that he did not intentionally throw at the batters.
In the Red Sox game, Clay Buchholz hit Royals outfielder Josh Willingham in the back on a pitch that got away. There didn’t seem to be malicious intent on Buchholz’s part.
In the Angels game, reliever Joe Smith plunked Rangers catcher Tomas Telis and both benches were warned. That was after Mike Trout was hit twice with pitches (after he was hit Wednesday night as well) on the same night that Albert Pujols had the first four-strikeout performance of his career.
This wasn’t a great night for baseball. Players were getting seriously hurt. Pitchers were out of control. Who knows what psychological and physical issues Stanton will endure.
Stanton’s career flashed before him. It appeared the Marlins were going to prepare a huge contract offer — in the Robinson Cano range — in the hopes of keeping him.
If he rejected that, he would have been the most sought-after player in years, and the Red Sox would have been at the head of the line and offering the Marlins all sorts of goodies to obtain him.
While we have some word on his injuries, we simply don’t know the impact. This is a player with extraordinary ability. He’s the guy you stop to watch.
Let’s hope that with a full recovery we see that player again.