In late May, the Tampa Bay Rays had to put star reliever Pete Fairbanks on the injured list with left hip inflammation.
He returned on Thursday, throwing a perfect inning for a save against the Oakland Athletics.
He is 100 percent healthy now, but he has a black eye.
Reporter Tricia Whitaker has many, many more details about what happened.
“You will see a fully healthy Pete Fairbanks today — just with a black eye. Why? ‘I dunked on my 3 year old in the pool. Pulled the hoop down onto my face. I was trying to teach him an early lesson in life that when you’re in the paint you cannot be caught unaware. Did it end with me with a black eye? Yes. Has my wife been making fun of me? Yes. Has everyone on the team? Also Yes.’ But does pete regret it? ‘Nope. Ball went through the hoop. That’s 2 points as far as I’m concerned,’” Whitaker tweeted in one of the funniest stories of the year in baseball.
You will see a fully healthy Pete Fairbanks today — just with a black eye.
“I dunked on my 3 year old in the pool. Pulled the hoop down onto my face. I was trying to teach him an early lesson in life that when you’re in the paint you cannot be caught unaware.
Did it end… https://t.co/unUGJJDiqK
— Tricia Whitaker (@TriciaWhitaker) June 15, 2023
Well, Fairbanks’ lesson is very valuable and was worth the black eye: you have to pay full attention when in the paint!
Of course, that was also directed to him, but he did not expect the hoop to retaliate.
Hilarious story aside, it’s nice for the Rays to have their star reliever back.
When fully healthy, you could argue that there are not five relievers in MLB who are nastier and better than Fairbanks.
He has a 1.42 ERA in 12.2 innings so far this year, and finished with a 1.13 ERA in 24 frames last year.
With him in the bullpen, the best team in baseball just got a bit better, as if that was possible.
He is one of the best in the business in protecting leads in the ninth inning.
Too bad he couldn’t protect himself from the hoop at the pool.NEXT: Rays Announcers Share A Laugh Over Shocking Snack Choice