A Horror Story
Over the last ten years, horror movies have kind of turned into what some people call torture porn. You know the movies. The Saw series, Hostel, and their ilk. The ones that show gruesome outcomes to all sorts of characters, for often no reason. Even the more respectable horror films fall to this. We can’t look away. We don’t necessarily like what we’re watching, but maybe we like that we can’t look away.
But every once in a while, a great horror movie comes along. No gruesomeness. No plot twists that turn into plot excuses. No scary faces or makeup. They’re simple. If we see the evil, it’s so subtle we barely notice it. We know what we’re watching, and there is no twist. It’s just horrible. There’s nothing to blame, or to excuse. We’re not even sure there’s a redemption, but we’re just not sure enough to hope for one, which makes the horror more vicious when the hope we knew we shouldn’t have fails us.
In sports, there’s similar moments. Any sports fan who has been one for an extended time has seen the gruesome injuries. A joint going the wrong way, a player so paralyzed from a hit that their limbs are locked in an awkward position, the literal sound of a bone shattering. They’re the moments that make us hate sports, that stop some of us from playing, or stop our kids from playing. And yet, we also can’t turn away. They become YouTube sensations, for all the wrong reasons.
Last night had a moment that was the other kind of sports horror. It won’t be on YouTube and get a million hits. But it’s so much more disturbing.
When Mark DeRosa was at the plate, you can see the twinge. It’s so subtle you can barely believe it was anything abnormal, so subtle it might even be a flaw in the HD broadcast. But the moments after, and you know what you saw. It was a Mr. Glass moment that would make Ray Durham turn green.
It’s horrible. I barely even want to say it out loud, because I hope I’m wrong. But when I saw how DeRosa reacted, the pain, the words he mouthed, and the helmet that must be in pieces in some Los Angeles hallway, it’s hard to think it’s anything but. No hope will change that.
I’ve seen some people, on bulletin boards and Twitter, already take some form of glee in the injury. They’re frustrated in DeRosa’s lack of production, I get that. It’s still so very wrong, in the stupid-backwoods-Pennsylvania-writer-talking-about-Bryan-Stow sort of wrong way. No one should take glee in what has happened.
Mark DeRosa’s a good player. He won’t be a Hall-of-Fame guy, but he was a consistent contributor for many years. The Giants got him for a relative bargain salary, since he was coming off an injury, one that ironically occurred in San Francisco while he was playing for St. Louis, and it’s the same injury that has caused all this frustration. Considering his history, there was little reason to expect he’d be affected like this.
DeRosa doesn’t deserve the things said about him, even by me in the strip earlier this year. Maybe he hasn’t earned all that much from Giants fans, in terms of production or time spent with the team. But I’ll say this. The guy didn’t go home when he found out early in the season last year that he wouldn’t play again that season. He stayed with the team, all the way, doing whatever invisible things he could. And all you have to do is see the look on his face after what happened last night. He’s beyond frustrated, even beyond angry, that he can’t be the player he should be. He’s devastated.
There’s no one to blame here. There’s no fault, no evil, no reason. But all the same, there’s nothing he can do to escape this. It’s tough to even envision a redemption right now.
DeRosa doesn’t deserve this. He shouldn’t be a part of this horror film. And anyone, sports fan or not, should feel his pain in the pit of their stomach.
This is the worst kind of horror to see.