For days, weeks, I owed myself to write a paper on Aroldis Chapman. After all I would be talking of the man, since the invention of the speedometer – that has thrown a baseball the hardest in MLB history. For the boy born in Cayo Mambí , north of Holguin, pitching balls at over 100 miles per hour is like having a coffee early in the morning .
No arm is stronger than his. Rivals … far from it. But one, there is always one, challenged him and almost cost him his life.
The power of a line drive out from the bat of the Venezuelan catcher Salvador Perez hit squarely in the face of Cuban , after he pitched a 99 miles per hour fastball, during the celebration , on Wednesday ,of a MLB preseason match.
The stadium fell silent. The flamethrower lefty collapsed. Players and medical staff rushed to the aid of the Cuban. At least he was conscious by the cries of pain emanating from his throat. The first few minutes were of real panic.
Some took their hands to the head, the other set their sights on the floor , there were shocked faces . Salvador Perez as a man who commits a crime by accident stepped into the dugout with tears in his eyes. Meanwhile, Chapman was lying with his face covered in blood and perhaps seeking an explanation of what had happened.
The gurney appeared; they stabilized him and took him off the field by ambulance. The public, like the gladiators of the Roman Coliseums, dismisses him with applause sense. There is no reason to play, managers and referees cancel the confrontation.
The news comes slowly. I ‘m not going to write about how intimidating the Holguin pitcher looks for the Cincinnati Reds when there are just three out to the end of the match, or the extensive debate surrounding his lack of control after arriving in the MLB at the end of 2011, or argue about 234 strikeouts in 135.1 innings over the past two seasons, also on that short interview we had in one of the tunnels of the Latinoamericano in early 2008.
All that will be left for another occasion. Finally the first reviews or news about the results of the first tests appear. He got a broken nose and the top of the left eye. Almost nothing ehh !
The surgery to repair the damaged areas was announced. It is early Thursday morning. Advancement other tasks, just wait. But in my mind the memory of the people on the mound with Chapman lying on the floor will not fade. I should have written it weeks ago, I keep telling me all the time, but it’s late.
The tension is reduced; various publications report the success of the surgical procedure. Now the iron arm man also has a metal plate permanently inserted into the damaged area. Evolution is good. Brayan Peña, another Cuban in the majors and teammate argues that Aroldis jokes and speaks confidently from a hospital bed in Phoenix, Arizona. Cuban as he is, even at bad times he is cracking jokes.
Tim Kremchek, Cincinnati’s doctor announces that in six to eight weeks, the man will be on the mound again. He speaks of how luck Aroldis was because the ball didn’t hit one of the sides of his head, areas much more vulnerable to concussions.
Meanwhile Chapman is recovering and Salvador Perez also ; journalists write several pages about whether MLB pitchers must use an attachment on their heads to prevent such accidents .
As I am not a judge and my judgment won’t be heard, I prefer to think that Aroldis Chapman just saved the biggest game of his career. No ninth inning of the seventh game of the World Series, will have greater significance than the sixth chapter of the clash between Cincinnati and Kansas City had on the night of March 19, 2014.
With men on bases at the time of the incident, Chapman- unintentionally – moved the necessary centimeters to preserve the game that nobody wants to lose: life