LEFTOVERS: Hard lesson hits home for Mets’ Hawkins

From the day boys start playing T-ball, they are reminded about one key piece of equipment they must always wear on the field.

The importance of the protective cup is drilled right from the beginning.

But there are players in the major leagues who eschew those teachings and take the field with a little ball flying around at high rates of speed with little separating their junk from certain doom.

LaTroy Hawkins is one of those players, and his decision to not wear a cup not only caused him a great deal of pain, but also might have cost his New York Mets a win against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.

Hawkins entered the game in the ninth inning to try to protect a 4-2 lead. With a runner on base, Jerry Hairston bounced a ball back up the middle and caught Hawkins right in the, well, you know.

He picked up the ball and threw Hairston out, still in obvious pain. Hawkins tossed two warmup pitches with coaches and trainers around him and elected to stay in the game.

“I thought I could get through it,” Hawkins told the New York Daily News.

He was wrong.

The next batter, pinch hitter Andre Ethier, hit a tying two-run homer and the Dodgers went on to win in 12 innings.

Reporters in the locker room described Hawkins as still being in obvious pain after the game. It didn’t stop him from providing to the New York Post one of the more descriptive quotes you’ll read.

“It was a direct hit — no cup,” Hawkins said. “When I lifted my leg, I could feel my balls in my throat. I feel like I got kicked by a mule, and it hurts.”

It actually hurts just typing that.

■ FIELD OF BAD DREAMS — Colin Kaepernick and his famous tattoos are featured on yet another magazine cover in the newest issue of GQ.

Those who take time to delve into the article will find some interesting insight into Kaepernick’s approach to the mental side of football.

The former UNR star and now the starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers says he has nightmares about the bad plays he makes.

“All my life I’ve had these flashbacks, these dreams, nightmares, daymares, like visions, where I relive certain plays,” he told GQ. “It’s never the highlight-reel stuff. Just the junk.

“Only the bad plays. I see them over and over, as if somebody’s rewinding a tape and forcing me to watch. Some of these are recent. But some of them go back to high school. Every time I relive these mistakes of mine, I’m also forced to ask, ‘What could I have done different? What decisions could I have made?’ This stuff haunts me, but I like it, because it makes the game hard. And the more I study, the more comfortable I feel with what a defense is going to do.”

It’s a good thing New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez doesn’t suffer from this same affliction. He never would be able to fall asleep like some sort of real-life “Nightmare on Elm Street” movie.


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