Ryan Church had a memorable season in 2008, even though he does not remember much of it because of two concussions within twelve weeks. While he did try to come back, he was not the same player when he returned to the active roster.
When he was traded to the Mets from the Nationals, he was thrilled to have the chance to play everyday and for the first half of the season, he basically carried the Mets on his shoulders. The Mets knew that he was the answer to being their everyday right fielder.
The first concussion in Spring Training was due to a collision with Marlon Anderson, he was injured but he did bounce back pretty quickly when the season began, but the second collision in late May was far more devastating when his head was hit by Yunel Escobar of the Braves.
He was extremely upset during the WBC to learn that his friend and teammate David Wright took a knee to the head and then again about a week later when Natasha Richardson died shortly after a fall while skiing in Montreal.
The play with Wright was eerily similar to what Church encountered, luckily, no serious effects have surfaced. Natasha Richardson initially thought she was fine, but ended up falling asleep and never woke up, Church realized that could have easily happened to him.
His contributions on the field are incredible, but you do have to wonder how much these incidents will play a role in the mental aspect of the game he loves. The next time he or any of his teammates tries to break up a double play, everyone on the bench will no doubt cringe.
Church does love playing in New York and for the Mets and the fans have really embraced him as part of the family. We are all hoping that he can go about his business with confidence and have an incredible 2009.
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