10 years ago, Phillies OF Aaron Rowand KO'd himself with a gorgeous catch against the wall
"You need to pad this, because I am going to kill myself on this thing,” former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Aaron Rowand warned team executives about an exposed steel bar in deep center field at Citizens Bank Park. “I'll hit it. I promise."
He was right.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the first inning against the New York Mets on May 11, 2006, Xavier Nady hit a blast off Gavin Floyd that traveled to deep center field, where Rowand chased it down and in the process smashed face-first into the steel bar. The collision knocked him to the ground, where he held up his glove, with the ball in it, to signal he had made the catch.
The cost was a 15-day DL stint and a trip to the emergency room, where he underwent surgery to repair a broken nose, a broken cheekbone and orbital bone and face lacerations that required 15 stitches. The pads that were to be installed over the exposed outfield bar were on the premises that day.
Rowand resented that, but this much is true: He would have run directly into that wall face-first again, pads or not, if it meant making the catch.
“More than likely,” Rowand said of that scenario, a week after the play. “Like I said, I don’t think about those things. I think about catching the ball. Call me dumb. I’m trying to catch the ball.”
When the outfielder returned to action May 27, the first day he was eligible, fans at Citizens Bank Park gave him a standing ovation after his name was called with the starting lineup, then cheered him again when he took his first at-bat.