The Curious Case of Robert Romero

Robert Romero was first suspended and then released by the Angels.

Robert Romero wasn’t considered a prospect, but the circumstances around his departure from the Angels organization may bear watching.

The Cedar Rapids Kernels issued a press release today which stated:

It was also announced today by Tony Reagins, Director of Player Development for the Angels, that RHP Robert Romero has been suspended indefinitely.

About four hours later, a revised press release arrived in e-mail which stated:

It was also announced today by Tony Reagins, Director of Player Development for the Angels, that RHP Robert Romero has been released by the Angels.

Hmmm …

The 22-year old Romero had made only four relief appearances this year. In 3 1/3 innings, he’d allowed three runs (two earned), seven hits, and had an average against of .389.

I’ve no idea what happened, so it will be interesting to see whether the local press in Cedar Rapids ferret it out.

On a personal note … People often ask me if I’ve ever been hit by a baseball while out on the field or in the dugout doing photography. I’ve been shooting photos since 1998, and so far I’ve escaped being struck by a batted ball.

Romero, however, holds the singular distinction of being the only player to actually hit me with a ball.

If you look at his photo, you’ll see he was a side-armer. In August 2005, I was in Orem shooting photos of the Owlz. The ballpark doesn’t have a camera well, so photographers either stand in the dugout, down the line in foul territory, or on a steeply slanted grass berm.

So I was down the third-base line just beyond the coach’s box. The Orem bullpen was further down the line, also in foul territory.

Romero began to warm up. I had my back to him. I’m looking through my camera lens shooting the game when … SMACK! right on my left ankle.

I turned around, and saw that Romero had thrown wild a warmup pitch, bounced it and hit my calf muscle. It started to well up pretty fast — and yes, you do see the baseball stitches on your flesh — but I figured there was nothing I could do about it so I went back to work.

A few moments later …


He’d done it again.

At this point, I figured that if he doesn’t have control in the bullpen, he’s surely not going to have it on the mound, but in any case I moved closer to the dugout and let the third base coach become the primary target.

Many have come close, before and after, but Romero is the only one so far to nail me.


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