CHICAGO – To prove how much of an impact the moment had on Major League Baseball’s most veteran manager, Tony La Russa took to Twitter to express his mindset on Tuesday evening.
Only using the social media platform on occasion, the White Sox skipper made sure to tweet that it was the injury to Athletics pitcher Chris Bassitt suffered in the second inning that was on his mind more than his team’s 9-0 victory over Oakland.
His words in person were very similar.
“That really is the priority. Over the years, I’ve seen against us and for us. You can’t think of anything scarier than that. When a guys gets hit in the head at the plate, but, at least there’s a little bit of reaction. This is so defenseless,” said La Russa. “He’s the No. 1 concern.”
That was the thought of most of the White Sox on Tuesday as they saw Bassitt go down after taking a hit over 100 miles an hour off the bat of Brian Goodwin right off the head on the mound. He was tended to by athletic trainers for a few minutes before eventually being taken off the field on a stretcher.
Bassitt was awake and alert after the incident while at Rush University Medical Center but suffered a displaced tripod fracture of the right cheek along with two lacerations that required stitches. But a CT scan showed no other damage to his head and he was released from the hospital.
That was after the game, but during it both the Athletics and the White Sox had to keep playing, a task that’s expected of professional ballplayers but much harder to do. That was especially true for Jake Lamb, who was a teammate with Bassitt in Oakland during the 2020 season.
He homered later in the second inning after the pitcher was taken off the field, but Bassitt wasn’t far from his mind.
“That was a very tough at-bat, just because my mind is elsewhere, not really thinking about the game,” said Lamb. “It’s a scary situation, man, and it’s as simple as that. It’s a lot bigger than baseball at that point.”
Reynaldo Lopez, who pitched five innings in the victory on Tuesday,
“It’s hard when you see something like that, it’s hard to digest,” said Lopez through an interpreter. “We as pitchers, we know that can happen. That could happen to me, and that’s scary. Every time you see something like that it’s tough to swallow. But at the same time, we know that can happen.”
So can one night in the MLB where compassion took precedent of competition.