Boston Red Sox starter Jake Peavy pointed out last season during his introductory press conference at Fenway Park that his vision is terrible. His poor eyesight has plagued him a few times since, including during his last start Thursday against the Atlanta Braves.
Peavy said on WEEI.com’s “The Bradfo Show” podcast that him and catcher David Ross needed to improvise Thursday because the right-hander struggled to see Ross’ signs. The game’s start time apparently created a problem for Peavy, who said last season his eyesight is 20/300 without corrective lenses.
“I knew it was going to be tough because you’re starting the game, it’s 7:10, which there’s still some good light out at 7:10. It’s only going to get worse and darker in between David’s legs where he’s giving the signs,” Peavy told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. “I knew there was going to be a problem about the third or fourth inning when it truly got dark.”
Peavy ended up lasting eight innings Thursday against the Braves, surrendering three earned runs on eight hits. He didn’t factor into the decision, but his effort was important in the Red Sox’s 4-3, come-from-behind win.
The most glaring example of Peavy’s eyesight causing issues came during last season’s ALCS against the Detroit Tigers, when the veteran hurler struggled to see signs during Game 4. According to Peavy, struggling to see signs represents the only side effect of his poor eyesight.
“I see the ball well enough off the bat and everything else,” Peavy said Monday. “It’s just the fingers are so small and so dark and we’re trying to hide them from the other team. Everybody — from third and first base coaches — are trying to steal those signs.”
Peavy isn’t a candidate for laser eye surgery because of astigmatisms. The 33-year-old has corrective lenses, but they only improve his vision to 20/40. Peavy remembers his life changing significantly, however, when he first received glasses in second grade.
“The day I went and got my glasses, the biggest thing they could put on the screen was that ‘E.’ It’s that big block that takes up the whole screen,” Peavy recounted. “For some reason, I thought it was a full-on rectangle with some lines in it and I told the doctor as a second-grader I’d never seen that before. My mother starts crying at this point in time.
“Then I get these glasses. It was a life-changing day. I get in the car with my mother and obviously I could see things I’d never seen before. Once again, it made her terribly sad. She felt like the worst parent alive.”
In many ways, Peavy’s eyesight actually makes his career accomplishments — three All-Star selections, two National League ERA crowns, an NL Cy Young award and a World Series ring — that much more amazing.
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