Eugenio Velez is “doing OK,” according to the San Francisco Giants medical staff after he was hit in the head by a foul line drive off the bat of Pat Burrell on Saturday night in Arizona.

The 28-year-old utilityman went through tests at a Phoenix hospital where he spent the night. The Giants finish a four-game series in Arizona on Sunday.

Reports indicate that Velez suffered a concussion. Manager Bruce Bochy confirmed after the game that the player did not suffer a fractured skull and that he, initially, “wasn’t really responsive.”

The incident and attempts to follow up on the condition of the fallen player have shown exactly how ill-equipped members of the sports media in the ball park are to actually track down information not directly related to the game.

When Velez was hit and knocked down by Burrell’s scorching liner into the dugout, the Giants TV team of Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow didn’t bother to even consider that there could’ve been an injury, let alone a serious one.

“That’s a serious ugly-finder,” Kuiper joked, referring to the duo’s running joke that any foul ball will “find” the ugliest player or coach in the dugout. Krukow did note, fairly quickly, that “somebody might have been hit.”

The Comcast Bay Area camera crew showed Barry Zito, Matt Cain and others looking visibly upset. The Giants training staff was scrambling to treat the fallen player.

All the while, Kuiper and Krukow were speculating about who was down and where the ball hit the fallen player.

Before Velez was treated in the dugout and taken away on a stretcher, Kuiper was urging for viewers to remember Velez in their prayers because Krukow, somehow, had determined the ball had struck him in the temple.

A blow to the temple could’ve taken the player’s life.

Minutes after Velez went down, San Francisco Chronicle Giants beat writer Henry Schulman posted on the newspaper’s “Giants Splash” blog that Velez had been struck by a line drive in the dugout.

Schulman’s post headline read: “Velez struck in head by Pat Burrell foul ball. It appears serious.”

The veteran beat writer then wrote: “I can’t see into the dugout from the press box and the TVs up here are showing an Arizona feed. So thanks to my many Twitter followers who reported seeing on the Giants’ broadcast that Velez was removed from the dugout…”

How he could speculate that the injury was “serious” based on reports from Bay Area TV viewers is unclear. Later in that initial blog, Schulman wrote, “Velez is on the way to the hospital…I will provide updates as soon as I get them, of course.”

Schulman did update the results of tests on Velez in his game story after the Giants beat the Diamondbacks 10-4.

The blog post simply detailing a potential “serious” injury was still posted as the lead item near five hours after the incident.

The members of the print and online media share the press box and, most assuredly, could’ve gotten an update on the condition of Velez with a trip downstairs to the Giants clubhouse.

Gathering specific information would’ve served all news outlets, and fans, better than leaving initial online reports posted for hours. And, fans could’ve gotten information in seconds.

The value of online reporting is, in theory, that information can be made available immediately.

Typically, it took only minutes for blogger Adam Jacobi at to produce a poorly conceived opinion piece merged with the news report.

In it, Jacobi went from reporting on the near tragedy to suggesting that all players might soon be required to wear protective helmets in the dugout.

And, he mixed in some ill-timed levity.

“He (Velez) was taken from the dugout by stretcher and rushed to a local hospital. There’s no video available,” Jacobi wrote, “but unless Eugenio Velez owes you a substantial sum of money, you do not need to watch him get hit in the head with a baseball.”

One wonders why the need to lighten the mood won out.

Jacobi proceeded to show that there is a noticeable difference between a reporter and a blogger. He wrote the following while Velez was en route to the hospital with an undiagnosed, potentially life-threatening, injury.

“When the extent of Velez’s injury is known, it’ll likely spark some debate about whether it’s still within baseball players’ best interests to not wear more protective headgear in several situations…”

Any fan who saw Burrell’s liner steam into the dugout and knock Velez down was far more concerned about the extent of the injury than whether it would “spark some debate” about players wearing helmets in the dugout.

Velez is, thankfully, on the mend.

The state of news-gathering efforts at big league ball parks remains in doubt.

Ted Sillanpaa is a Northern California sports writer and columnist. Contact Ted at

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