One of the most unappreciated positions in sports belongs to the guys responsible for making all the calls.
The guys in stripes–or blues–can determine games on a more consistent basis than any player. The thing is, though, that whether they do their job accurately or not, they seem to take heat wherever they go. For Major League umpire Greg Gibson on Saturday, 'taking heat' went to another level after one pitch got a little too personal.
Gibson was working behind the mound on Saturday's game between the Washington Nationals and the Miami Marlins when one pitch took an unexpected, and painful, turn for the worse. With the game all even at no score a piece in the top of the second, Stephen Strasburg wound up for one of his ever-sizzling heaters.
Strasburg wound up and let it fly right down the middle. Unfortunately, it had some motion on the back end which the catcher was not able to compensate for. The ball ended up grazing the glove just enough to alter the direction so it ended up in an unlikely place.
The groin of Greg Gibson.
Before the hit is described in painstaking detail, it should be noted that an average fastball from Stephen Strasburg is clocked at 95 mph. So, even with the slight deflection from the glove, the ball would still have the majority of that momentum behind it when is struck Gibson.
Gibson, whose future procreation abilities now reside under the heading of a big question mark, took the hit like a champ. He only required a few minutes of labored pain before being able to return to his duties.
In a side note, the pitch was a called strike three for Miami batter Greg Dobbs, who became somewhat lost in the shared pain of Gibson's torment.
"I didn't hit the ball," Dobbs said, after the game. "Everybody missed it."
There are risks to be taken in anything you do but few are of the unique nature of the one found out by Greg Gibson on that brisk Saturday.
Photo Credit: Jeff Moffett/Icon SMI
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.