Sunday, June 5, 2011

Erstad's Respect for the Game- Intensity

Darin Erstad- New Husker head coach

There goes Darin Erstad, the roughest, toughest, grittiest player in the major leagues. Did you see what he did this time?

It's 2002. On a Tuesday night in April, Erstad runs face-first into an outfield wall chasing a fly ball. (He doesn't catch it.) The collision knocks him senseless, but he still gets the game-winning hit in the 10th inning.

Then, on Friday night, Erstad dives for a line drive. (He doesn't catch it.) His chin smacks the turf so hard that he spends the night in a hospital.

A teammate — an Anaheim Angels pitcher — walks into his hospital room late that night and scolds him. There isn't a player in baseball who, three nights after a potential concussion, would've dived head-first again.

“You don't need to be catching that ball,” Troy Percival recalls saying.

Erstad is woozy. His head throbs, but he rebuts.

“Uh-uh. Too much respect for the game. Too much respect for you. If I can catch it, I'm catching it.”

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