Ryder Jones’ left knee cap popped out of place in the 5th inning of today’s loss to the Brewers and after the game we learned he’d need season-ending surgery to repair it. This is the second time he’s had his left knee cap pop out (the last time was in 2015) and it was the second time in less than a decade where a left-handed Giants hitter has suffered a season-ending knee injury while standing in the batter’s box at Miler’s Park.
You know the refrain about how if you watch a baseball game, you’ll see something you’ve never seen before? Well, I don’t think we’ve ever seen that confluence of coincidences in a baseball game before today.
Just to really put it in context:
Patellar dislocations occur in about 6 per 100,000 people per year. They make up about 2% of knee injuries. It is most common in those 10 to 17 years old. Rates in males and females are similar. Recurrence after an initial dislocation occurs in about 30% of people.
Quite frankly, I’m not a fan of what I saw in today’s baseball game. That wasn’t pleasant. Get well soon, Ryder Jones. These remaining games would’ve had a tiny bit of positivity to them just watching you get some playing time. The Giants don’t have many top prospects and even fewer prospects getting a long look this month, and Jones would’ve been one of them.
We’ve already seen Steven Duggar’s promising debut halted in its tracks, joining a long disabled list of fan favorites and key performers and all of that on top of the frustrating, if understandable, group of ailing Giants just battling through pain to finish the year.
If Jones’ kneecap had stayed in place and you had sat down to compose possible storylines for the rest of the season, Ryder Jones figuring it out would’ve been one of them. That’s not to say he’s a top player or a dark horse candidate for a huge, franchise-carrying breakout, but tracking his performance would’ve been a nice distraction from the existential dread attached to the rest of the roster / franchise.
And on the off chance that the team moves on from Brandon Belt this offseason, Ryder Jones would’ve had a shot to make an impression to be included in the 2019 plans. Even just as a bridge until the next full-time first baseman, he had a lot more riding on this September, and looking at it from that way makes the situation feel even worse.
Having the bottom drop out from under you while just going about your business is a rough life metaphor. Athletes have to endure injuries all the time and part of what makes the professional variety truly elite is maintaining mental toughness through physical setbacks. Not everyone can do it because it isn’t an easy thing to do. From the outside looking in, it perhaps is and isn’t easy to come back from a second patella dislocation.
But with all things in life, it’s temporary, and a setback today doesn’t mean setback forever. Work hard on that rehab and come back stronger than ever, Ryder Jones.