Take Bryce Harper. The Washington Nationals 19-year-old rookie outfielder recently got so angry after striking out that he smashed his wooden bat against a wall in the Nats clubhouse. Dumb move. The bat bounced back and hit Harper in the face, opening a gash above his eye that required 10 stitches.
Parents and adults are always warning kids, “Don’t do that; it might get in someone’s eye.” Well, that bat got very close to Harper’s eye! He’s lucky he didn’t mess up his eye and his baseball career.
So, kids, keep your cool and don’t smash your bats against walls and other hard objects.
That “don’t smash” advice goes double for any part of your body. New York Knicks star forward Amar’e Stoudemire smacked his hand into the glass door covering a fire extinguisher after a loss to the Miami Heat. Stoudemire cut his hand and missed an important playoff game.
Washington Redskins fans will remember when quarterback Gus Frerotte scored a touchdown and head-butted the padded wall in back of the end zone to celebrate. Score another win for the wall. Frerotte had to leave the game.
Here’s another dumb sports move. Cole Hamels, an all-star pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, recently threw a fastball that hit Bryce Harper in the back. It’s usually not smart for a pitcher to put a hitter on base. But Hamels made things worse by saying he did it on purpose.
Pitchers sometimes throw close to the batter to make him nervous. But it’s never right to try to hurt another athlete — and a pitched baseball can really hurt — but it’s super dumb to brag about it! Hamels was suspended for five games.
The National Football League suspended without pay New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and several players after the league learned that players were being paid cash bonuses for knocking opposing players out of the game. Pro football is rough enough. We don’t need coaches and players trying to injure somebody.
So, kids, please don’t try this stuff — breaking bats, punching walls or trying to hurt other players — at home or in your games. It’s stupid.
Have I made myself clear?
Fred Bowen writes the sports opinion column for KidsPost. He is the author of 17 sports books for kids. He will be speaking and signing books at the Gaithersburg Book Festival on Saturday at 2:40 p.m.