On Thursday night, even worse than probably the night before, the fog really affected the Cubs-Nationals contest at Wrigley Field:
It was interesting to see Denard Span with the full “WTF?!” expression in center field as Luis Valbuena‘s “triple” fell in behind him. It was amazing that no outfielders got conked in the head at the last second by a falling fly ball.
Speaking of getting conked in the head…
That’s Cubs center fielder Junior Lake slamming full speed into what I used to think was a padded door in the outfield. I was thankful at first that he had completely missed the bricks and ivy because as some have said, the ivy provides little to no cushioning; it’s basically a blanket over a wall. And then I just kept looking at the video over and over again and thinking to myself (especially after Lake didn’t get up for a minute or two) that, “Hey, wait a minute…there’s no dent in the door!” Because if the door was padded like I had hoped it would be, there would be an imprint of his face on the padding. But no, in fact, that is a full-on metal door with what now appears to be absolutely no padding whatsoever. Huh.
To his credit, Junior Lake did get up and walk off the field under his own power and was in good spirits. Just a few scrapes…
#Cubs Lake has couple bruises (head, left leg), and did not show any concussion symptoms from collision with outfield door
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) June 27, 2014
The concussion thing is good to hear about initially, but I think they’ll keep an eye on him over the next few days just to make sure his pupils can dilate responsively and he doesn’t start getting headaches or throwing up, concussions are scary business and you just never know. What is most concerning is the total lack of protection for outfielders along the outer walls, and it now really makes no sense to me (now I know, and knowing is half the battle) that they wouldn’t put some kind of padding on the doors. I’m pretty sure the doors aren’t landmarked and they won’t get in trouble for putting a few inches of padded mats along those doors. Then again, it’s not like deep drives are always going to land at those should-be-protected areas.
Former Cub and awesome commentator Doug Glanville was on ESPN talking about the dangers of playing the outfield at Wrigley. And we recall the story of how former manager Mike Quade ran Alfonso Soriano into the brick wall for “training” and Sori suffered minor injuries because of it. Outfielders are understandably cautious around the bricks and ivy, and it’s actually annoying to hear certain ignorant fans call outfielders lazy or cowardly for not going full out into the ivy in pursuit of fly balls. On a foggy Thursday, Junior Lake wasn’t lazy at all, and it really hurt.
Of course, there’s little the Cubs can do about the bricks because they’re landmarked or some crap. The ivy has to grow over the brick, and people throw a hissy fit when the Cubs even suggest removing a few feet of brick in order to put in bullpen doors (which are hopefully padded). But yeah, maybe they should think about putting some padding on those doors, and allowing some give when an outfielder rather unfortunately smashes into said doors.