This might be the best baseball photo we'll see all year and the good news is that umpire Greg Gibson walked away from his gruesome collision with Torii Hunter's cleat on Wednesday night with only a few stitches — and not a concussion or any plastic surgery — to show for it.
That may sound flip, but the result from the incident during the fifth inning of the Los Angeles Angels' 8-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians could have been much worse. Hunter later told reporters than he had worn metal spikes for Sunday and Monday's games before switching to plastic spikes on Tuesday for a change of luck. He then superstitiously continued wearing them on Wednesday and that limited the damage as Gibson admirably tried to get into the right position to make a call on Hunter's attempt to come home on a Kendrys Morales double.
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What he got as a reward for his effort was a cleat to the cheek and an early exit from the game. Precautionary X-rays were taken at a hospital and it was announced he'd be OK.
After the game the Angels' veteran right fielder was able to speak with Gibson. The umpire did not speak with reporters.
"Everything's fine; he's in his right mind," Hunter said. "He was cracking jokes. He was cracking jokes [on the field], too. He wanted to stay in. Too much blood, though." ...
"It's a scary situation," Hunter said, "because when I kicked him I wasn't thinking I had rubber bottoms on."
Scary, indeed, but Gibson's resiliency led to one of the rarest sights in sports — an umpire receiving a standing ovation from the fans as he exited the field. Needless to say, he deserved every bit of that applause. Great job, good effort.
Here's the entire sequence, followed by a photo-by-photo breakdown:
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