On Friday, Henry (Hank) Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle noted that Michael Morse was heading home to Florida with his family to recover from the concussion he sustained in May. The concussion came from a brawl caused by Hunter Strickland when he nailed Bryce Harper.
In the resulting clearing of the benches, teammates Michael Morse and Jeff Samardzija collided together head to head. While Samardzija had no ill-effects of the collision, Morse suffered a concussion.
He has yet to fully recover.
In June, Morse noted that he could not remember the brawl and he gets dizzy every time he raises his heart rate. The full video of the brawl can be seen below.
This would not be the first time a fruitless brawl has been the cause of a career-ending injury due to a concussion. The 2010 fight between Yadier Molina and Brandon Phillips that caused the benches to clear ended Jason LaRue’s career.
When a brawl started between Chris Carpenter and Scott Rolen, Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto kicked away from the brawl with his cleats. While purely a self-defensive measure, the shots off Cueto’s cleats gave LaRue a serious concussion. Nine days after the August 10 brawl, LaRue was placed on the 60-day disabled list. He suffered severe concussion symptoms soon afterward.
LaRue could not drive or cook by himself or ride in a car with his eyes open. On September 18, he announced his retirement from baseball completely.
While LaRue was a catcher and a football player – therefore at a greater risk of a concussion – it does not make the Michael Morse situation any less scary. Morse may no longer be a starting outfielder or designated hitter in MLB, but that does not mean he should end it because of a fight that was pointless.
Scroll back to May, when Hunter Strickland nailed Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper over hitting two home runs off the pitcher in the 2014 postseason. Fans and media alike blamed Strickland for starting the fight over a three-year grudge. Having seen what happened to Morse, they were rightfully angry.
Morse has potentially life-shortening effects from a fight that never should have happened. Strickland’s behavior was irresponsible and someone needs to do something.
Morse will collect a nice pension and insurance for his family thanks to 13 years in the majors. However, the damage to his brain is irreversible. Strickland is not making the kind of money to make a good donation. However, if anything comes up in Morse’s health, a donation to his family is in order.
Concussions are not something easily recovered from. Because of Strickland’s poor actions, a fellow teammate’s career and life could be on the line.