As the Red Sox fought back from a 3 games to none deficit, the medical staff went to work. The brace discarded, Reebok was asked to design a supportive shoe. Shown on national TV, the shoe was never a factor. Some suggest that it was always a red herring, the hightop designed not to support but to cover. Cover what? Blood.
Dr. Bill Morgan was experimenting with a cadaver to see if he could hold the tendon in one place, actually dislocated from its normal seat, by means of a few sutures through the skin. Anchoring to the underlying tissue, the sutures provided just enough resistance to the tendon’s intended path, but there was no way to test the stress pitching at this level would place on it.
National TV focused on the ankle as blood seeped through Schilling's sock, but the secret sutures below were just able to hold. In the first procedure before Game 6, three sutures were put in. When Schilling left the game, his ankle throbbing, only one was left intact. Four sutures were used in Schilling's single World Series start, but none were able to hold throughout this start.
Accounts of emotional events that beat you over the head with the emotion tend to leave me cold. But I once cried at my high school history book when it talked about Pickett's Charge, because it simply gave the facts and the numbers, talked about how thousands of Confederates charged across a mile of open space under no cover whatsoever, how at the end of the battle the Confederacy had lost the majority of its army, suffering 28,000 casualties at Gettysburg alone. But there were few adjectives in this account, and even fewer adverbs. Plain, simple fact: thousands charging, thousands cut down.
And here (though please understand I make no comparison between Schilling's postseason starts and the bloodiest battle of the Civil War--it's merely the understated nature of the most moving accounts that I'm comparing). "Three sutures were put in. When Schilling left the game, his ankle throbbing, only one was left intact. Four sutures were used in Schilling's single World Series start, but none were able to hold throughout this start."
Leaving me to imagine, having had stitches before myself, the tearing of flesh, the terrible "popping" sensation, the numbing agent masking the pain, maybe, but that tearing feeling...that's inescapable.
I hope that Laura Vecsey, John Heyman et al. are ashamed of themselves.
There is something just so haunting about this story, something that puts a painful lump in my throat every time I think about it for too long. And there's something about such a dry, technical, factual rendition of it that makes it...very dusty in here.
I have made note already of the difficulty I'm experiencing writing the next two parts of my multi-part season-review essay, "Pretty Good Year". That's because the part I'm chipping away at right now is Games 4 and 5 of the ALCS and the next hill to climb is Game 6, and in these essays I'm having to find ways of describing feelings and events that for me remain almost beyond words.
But Will Carroll's report will go a long way toward helping me find a way to articulate Game 6. I hope.