Sometimes memory lane doesn't bring back the most favorable images.
I remember one particular Monday night back in November, 1985.
It's been classified as the "The Hit That No One Who Saw It Can Ever Forget" by the Washington Post.
Off the flea-flicker , Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann never saw New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor charging in from the blind side. As Theismann was sacked, his leg just buckled.
Never claimed to have a strong stomach, but the close-up on the replays was hard to digest.
The compound fracture forced Theismann to eventually retire, and the incident was once again highlighted in a movie called "The Blind Side" which depicted the rags to riches story of Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Michael Oher.
Sports has a way of repeating itself, and I thought I had witnessed another horrifying injury Wednesday night. After working my usual shift at the newspaper, I returned home in time to catch the ninth inning between the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers.
With one out and the Braves trailing 2-1, Freddie Freeman laced a base hit to right field. Brian McCann then stepped to the plate and immediately fell behind in the count 0-2. On the third straight fastball from reliever Javy Guerra, McCann ripped the next offering right back through the box.
The pitch was clocked at 94 miles per hour, but it appeared as if the ball came off the bat twice as fast as it ricocheted off Guerra's chin. Initially, the Braves announcers thought the ball might have deflected off Guerra's glove. That was not the case. It hit squarely off his face.
The various angles on the replays - each of which made me cringe -showed just how vicious the liner was.
Fortunately, Guerra did not suffer any physical injuries. No blood. No teeth missing. When the trainer checked his status, Guerra just opened his mouth and rotated his jaw to make sure everything was in order.
Unfortunately, Guerra was lit up for five straight hits and the Braves won 4-2.
According to the game story released by the Associated Press, the crowd booed him when he returned to the dugout after being relieved by Josh Lindblom.
"These are not our fans, but I was a little disappointed that they booed him," Braves manager Freddy Garcia said. "This guy took one in the face and he tried to stay in there and save the game - and they booed him coming off the field. But you've got to give the guy some credit for some courage there."
Standing 60 feet, 6 inches away from the batter toting a huge piece of lumber smacking a ball right back in your direction requires a no-fear mentality, and that's just how Guerra reacted to what could have been a devastating, if not a career-ending injury.
Contact Kerry Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org