All of the punishments have been served stemming from the Memorial Day brawl that was ignited when Giants reliever Hunter Strickland fired a pitch at Nationals star Bryce Harper. Unfortunately, there’s one player still dealing with the physical toll that altercation dealt him, and it’s possible it could ultimately spell the end of his playing career.
According to Giants manager Bruce Bochy, veteran Michael Morse is still feeling symptoms from a concussion he sustained while colliding with teammate Jeff Samardzija amid the fray. Morse was diagnosed and placed on the concussion disabled list the following day, and nearly two months later is no closer to being cleared for a return.
Speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle on June 23, Morse said he had little recollection of what happened on Memorial Day, and that goes beyond what happened on the field. At that time, he noted he was feeling better, but there were still lingering symptoms, such as dizziness when his heart rate increased and headaches.
For awhile, Morse was driving to Stanford for therapy and testing. Now he’s headed back home to Florida, where Bochy indicated Morse could be forced to make a decision on his future.
Bochy said Morse is back at home in Florida, still recovering. At some point, "he'll have to make a decision."
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) July 21, 2017
It’s a shame any time we hear about concussions and any type of injury impacting the career of an athlete. But it’s a gut punch in Morse’s case because of the circumstances surrounding it.
There’s a lot of blame being thrown in Hunter Strickland’s direction for his part in igniting the altercation. Understandably so. But a lot of guys made the conscious decision to get involved, perhaps feeling it was their duty to show solidarity with their teammates. One of those was Morse, and unfortunately he’s now an example of the dangers that are involved.
At the time, Buster Posey received some criticism for not getting involved. That died down quickly once we learned of Morse’s concussion. Given Posey’s concussion history, this should cement that his decision to not risk his health was the correct one.
Whether people agree with that or not isn’t really important right now. It’s a debate for another time, as is the debate over whether or not baseball “brawls” should be accepted still as part of the game. Right now, the focus and the well wishes should be on Michael Morse, who we hope will get back to normal sooner than later, with or without baseball.
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