It was June 30, 2008 in the fourth inning when a foul tip bounced of the ground and into Chris Snyder’s man region. I was at the game with my wife and it made me cringe. He was down for a while, but after a couple of minutes he was back in his crouch to finish catching the inning.
What was odd was that when his turn was up the next half inning he didn’t bat. I told my wife that it was probably precautionary. When we drove home, I was shocked to hear what had actually happened to him. The term they were using on the radio was "testicular fracture."
I didn’t even know you could fracture those. Hurt them, bruise them, have them swell, yes. But actually fracture? Didn’t know. Then I realized what he had done. HE FREAKING FINISHED CATCHING THE INNNING WITH A FRACTURED TESTICLE!
Snyder already was one of my favorite players. He was the type of catcher I would start my team with. He is one of the best defensive catchers and he is great at calling a game. He has power, but is not a super hitter (obviously not everyone can be Johnny Bench or Ivan Rodriguez).
I attribute much of Brandon Webb’s dominance to Chris Snyder. As noted in an ESPN The Magazine feature on Webb during the 2008 season, Webb didn’t do any preparation with scouting reports or hitter tendencies, Snyder did and basically told him what to pitch.
Unfortunately, injuries, lack of offensive production in a lineup that needed it badly, and the offensive breakthrough of Miguel Montero led to his being expendable. His contract was too much for a backup.
And so now he is headed to Pittsburgh. It is a shame and a good thing. He will get playing time now that Ryan Doumit is injured, but the shame is that he has to play in Pittsburgh. I would like nothing more than to see him take over the starting job and put it together like I believe he can and will do.
If he stays healthy, he should help the Pirate pitching rotation to improve. He should hit about .260 and hit around 20 HR and drive in 60-70 runs. I want to see him have a solid career and be a productive starter in the league.
Miguel Montero is a special talent and you can’t overlook that, so I agree with the trade. The Diamondbacks have a defensive-minded catcher in John Hester they can (and just did) call up and be a backup on the cheap.
So while I understand and agree with the deal, I need some time to mourn the loss of a guy I greatly admired. It’s not everyday that you can cheer for a guy who literally busted his balls (or one of them) for his team.
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