From David Roth :
I’ve now seen the collision in highlights and it’s the scariest thing I’ve seen on a baseball diamond probably ever. Moises Alou getting the Theismann treatment a few years ago was bad, but I honestly worry about what happened to those two. It was scary to watch, and Cameron looked to be out cold afterwards. Floyd’s fastball of the knee was apparently pretty nasty, too: a friend who saw it on TV said both the car-backfiring sound of the ball hitting his knee and then his loud screaming thereafter were audible. Even over Fran Healy’s rambling story about visiting his daughter at Dartmouth. So I would say that qualifies as a bad day to be a Mets outfielder.
From the New York Times’ Lee Jenkins (thanks to Tim Midgett for the link) :
Cameron never wanted to play right field in the first place. He moved there because Beltran signed a $119-million contract in January and was able to dictate his position. Going into the season, the Mets acknowledged that having two center fielders in the everyday lineup posed some risk. During an interview about potential collisions in spring training, Beltran said: “The center fielder has priority. If the center fielder calls, you’ve got to get out of the way.”
Cameron countered: “I’m not going to change my game. I have to play the same style I always have.”
Carlos Beltran and Mike Cameron are both center fielders. They think like center fielders, they play like center fielders.
Even with Cameron in right field, his DNA registers center field: 24/7.
“You could see it coming together and you kind of hoped that one of them peeled off at the last minute,” pitcher Tom Glavine said after the 2-1 loss to the Padres. “They’re both center fielders, they’re both going to try and get the ball.”
The result was one of the worst collisions players could ever remember seeing. Just another example of Mets’ luck. One moment they have two center fielders, the next moment they have none. It’s also shows why it is not always a great idea to play two center fielders in one outfield. They both think every ball they can get to is their ball.
Noted Mike Piazza, who watched it all unfold from the bench: “That was one of those Bermuda Triangle balls. In most circumstances there, one of them obviously would give way to the other.”
“I could hear the crunch when they hit,” Cliff Floyd told me later in a quiet corner of the clubhouse. When Floyd looked over from left field and saw Cameron, his best friend on the team on the ground, motionless, he lost it. “Cam’s nose was messed up, blood was coming out of his nose. His mouth was messed up. His whole grill was messed up. It’s amazing you could hit heads like that.
“I was choked up, I was struggling once I saw the blood,” Floyd added. “That messed me up. I was choking up, fighting back tears. Cam’s laying on his back, who’s to say you can’t break your neck?”