Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson left yesterday’s loss to the Texas Rangers in the fifth inning after taking a knee to the head while sliding into second base. The American League MVP candidate came out as a precaution after feeling lightheaded. He eventually cleared concussion protocol.
The Blue Jays got another scare in the ninth, when Jose Bautista came out of the game with a hamstring cramp.
Pete Rose, watching comfortably from his seat on the Fox Sports set, had no time for these little injuries and let the viewing audience know about it. The all-time hit leader questioned the toughness of both players — and Texas’ Adrian Beltre, who also suffered an injury — but saved his most unintelligent criticism for Donaldson.
“Does everybody know what we’re playing for now? I mean, you get a tweak and you got to leave the game. You take a knee to the head, and you’ve got a helmet on, and you gotta leave the game to go take a test that you pass. I mean, because you’re a little light-headed?
I got light-headed how many times in my career? I still went out there and played. I guess it’s just different from when I played to when they’re playing today, Frank. I can’t see you sliding into second there and leaving the game, I really can’t.”
On one hand, Rose is correct. There was very little thought given to concussions when he was playing. I’m sure there are many times Rose took the field when he felt light-headed. But unlike his haircut, the game has changed.
Tom Verducci pointed out during the broadcast that Donaldson did not look like his usual self after the contact. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons obviously felt strongly enough about the potential damage to pull one of his best players from a playoff game.
We really shouldn’t care what Rose’s opinion is — except for the fact that he’s being paid to give it on television. And part of me wonders if statements like these are the very reason he got the gig in the first place. Now people will tune in to hear the next thing he has to say, no matter how steeped in reality it is.