As we all know, the big stories out of spring camp every year aren’t the ones about who’s going to be the opening day starter, which hot prospect will take some veteran’s job away, whether some one-dimensional designated hitter is going to be platooned with an ambidexter or not, or whether Terry Collins found his sense of humor behind the couch where it’s been gathering tribbles for three years.
No, the big story is who got hurt and how long they’re going to be missing in action. Baseball players, with a few hardy, dedicated exceptions, show up in February looking like sacks of haggis, creaking like the front gate to the haunted mansion down the block, and barely able to bend over at a 30 degree angle. Can they go to eleven? Mostly, no. You can hear discs dislocating, sinews snapping, tendons tearing, cartilage contusing, ligaments languishing and patellas popping all over central Florida and that cluster of kill zones in the Phoenix Environmental Disaster Area and Aquifer Dessicator. We got better news from the front in the middle of the Tet offensive; if the North Vietnamese had launched it in March instead of January, we might never even have heard about it.
So, this season I’m going to sponsor a contest to name your favorite injury – not in concept, but a specific injury to a particular player. A mere ruptured tendon from a lefthanded bat orf the bench won’t cut it unless the loss of that player meaningfully impacts his team’s chances to make the postseason. I don’t want the usual shallow media report – “elbow injury” tells us nothing. I want you to research the injury you select, come back here with some medical details and prognoses, tell us why this, among so many possibilities, is your favorite injury. Be selective. We all know that by April 1 the reports are going to resemble that retreating caravan of wounded Turkish soldiers that inspired Lawrence of Arabia to cry “No prisoners! No prisoners!” So, you’ll have plenty of near-ambulatory cadavers amongst which to choose.
So far, the Feesh have only reported one injury that appears will prove itself catastrophic and that, of course, is the doubtless torn medial collateral ligament in butch closer in waiting Cater Capps’ century-speed elbow. However, Capps won’t meet with Doctor Doom, James Andrews hisself, until Monday, and Scrooge McLoria has shot himself in the foot so many times that there’s nothing left but a prosthesis terminating in a Rosa Klebb dagger Gucci he reserves for kicking his managers in the ankle.
But you don’t have to wait till Monday. How’s the morbidity table running in your rooting interest’s neck of the woods? Eh? Eh?