There is a reason why Yankees OF Giancarlo Stanton was clearly showing his frustration during spring training when it was revealed that he was hurt once again. This time it was a Grade 1 calf strain, an injury that still would've had him set to play Opening Day, but he didn't care.
Stanton just wanted to play the sport he loved. But that anger toward the situation didn't just stem from his injury-laden 2019 season; it came from one singular moment in 2014 that changed his professional career.
Stanton, while speaking to Bob Klapisch of NJ.com, flashed back to September of that season when Mike Fiers hit him with a two-seamer in the face. Then with the Marlins, Stanton lay on the dirt with his orange Marlins jersey on, in pain.
He told NJ.com exactly how he felt.
"For me, the sound was more like an intense hissing. I'll never forget that.
"All I felt was impact, and then falling on the ground. The whole side of my face was gone -- I felt sharp pieces in my mouth. I was trying to be soft with them because I didn't want to choke, but the pain was excruciating."
The result of the awful beaning was bone breaks in his lower jaw and cheekbone as well as losing numerous teeth. His teeth also made a hole in his face in which he said the doctor at the hospital "put his finger right through it, like I was a fish he'd hooked."
It's not a pleasant sight to think about, but it's crucial to understanding why Stanton wants to get back on the field and prove to Yankee fans that he is still a scary force at the plate -- one not to be reckoned with.
Getting back to that player was hard, especially when Stanton said pitchers would throw high and inside the following season to see if he was going to cower out of the batter's box.
"It happened every game in my first year -- and yes, that made me mad," Stanton told NJ.com.
But two seasons later, Stanton was on his way to his first MVP award after mashing 59 homers and collecting 132 RBI with the Marlins. Then, he found himself in a blockbuster trade heading to the Bronx.
Though his numbers weren't lackluster at all -- .266/.343/.509 with 38 dingers and 100 RBI -- fans had mixed feelings about him due to the high expectations that come with playing for the Yankees and his postseason struggles that season
And since he couldn't change their minds last season, he was much looking forward to doing so in 2020 because he's worked so hard to get back to this point.
If there is a season in 2020, Stanton will pray to remain healthy enough to make the best of his situation. Because there is still tons of good baseball left ahead for someone who could very well be out of the game after what happened in one game in Milwaukee years ago.
Oh, and I almost forgot, Stanton did get his revenge after Fiers in 2018 with the Yankees after the hurler hit him again...