No the Mets did not single handedly end Ryan Church’s career BUT The way they handled him post concussion did. Most of the time the Mets don’t know how to handle injuries but you as the reader already knew that. Lets skip down memory lane and head back to the year 2008:
Marlon Anderson and Ryan Church collided into each other during a spring training game in 2008. A fourth-inning pop-up by Dodgers OF Andruw Jones led to the collision. Church was taken to the hospital and diagnosed as having suffered a concussion.
Church batted .311/.379/.534 with nine home runs, seven doubles, 32 RBI and a .913 OPS in his first 42 games of the 2008 season. He had no shown symptoms of a concussion.
“I really felt like I was going to take off, Everything was great on and off the field, I was bigger and stronger… And hitting between Jose Reyes and David Wright helped a ton.”
Then on May 20, 2008, Ryan Church’s baseball career changed for ever. In the second game of a doubleheader against the Braves the Mets found themselves down to their final outs at Turner Field. Church slid into second to try and break up a double play but Yunel Escobar’s knee went straight into the head and knocked off the helmet on Church. Church immediately went to the ground with his face dripping blood. He laid on the ground motionless waiting for trainers to rush out to assist him. He had suffered his second concussion within 3 months.
“I don’t remember anything leading up to or during the collision,” Church admitted. “I came to, sitting on the trainer’s table.”
“I still haven’t watched the replay,” Church said. “I probably never will. I don’t want to be reminded of the downfall and eventual ending of my career.”
Despite many doctors advising that flying after a concussion can be dangerous citing the altitude and pressurized brain damage, Church was allowed by Mets trainers to fly with the team to Denver Colorado.
Church appeared in the game as a pinch hitter two days after his concussion. He did not end up on the disabled list on June 10th. That was 21 days after his concussion. (Typical Mets) He returned from the disabled list on June 29th against the Yankees.
I would be trying not to throw up. Standing in the outfield, just spinning like no other. Just trying to take those deep breaths, like just trying to relax myself, don’t get all panicky.”
“It went on and off the whole year, but mostly the bad stuff was when I first came back. It was way too soon.”
Church would wind up hitting .247/.317/.346 with three home runs, seven doubles, 17 RBI, 46 strikeouts in the final 49 games he appeared in during the 2008 season.
“I spent many days forgetting things, I noticed I’d get agitated easily and anytime I worked out I still felt dizzy and sick.”
Ryan Church’s concussion symptoms went on into the 2009 season. He lost all his power only hitting 2 home runs with 22 RBI’s in 68 games. On July 10, the Mets decided to trade the Church to the Braves for outfielder Jeff Francoeur.
In 2010 Church batted .201/.265/.352 with five home runs, 16 doubles, 25 RBI and a .616 OPS while striking out in 27.3 percent of his plate appearances with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was time for him to hang up his cleats.
Prior to the collision, Church hit .276/.352/.472 with 44 home runs, 83 doubles, 185 RBI, 123 walks, 292 strikeouts and an .825 OPS in 389 career games. In 265 games after the collision, Church hit .245/.311/.365 with 12 home runs, 51 doubles, 82 RBI, 65 walks, 167 strikeouts and a .676 OPS. After his 2008 concussion, it was the end of his career as a baseball player.
“It was the end of my playing career. Looking back on what I went through, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”