Part the First: Pretenses and Injuries
It’s the day after Labor Day, and the Feesh find themselves about as far from a prayer of making the postseason as a team can be without being ackcherley eliminated numerologically. With yesterday’s 6-2 loss to the moribund Feelies and the Cardinals’ drubbing of the Bucs, the Rainbow Warriors have sunk to 5 games orf the second wildcard pace at 68-70 and the strange attractor is napping like a local python with a bellyful of housecat. This is going to be their thirteenth straight season to watch the playorfs on their stupidphones while waiting in some Buddhaforsaken corner of Lake Wobegone for a pikeminnow to strike their lures. Matter of fack, Alexander Graham Bell used to go fishing without a hook (which somehow sounds a lot like the Feesh’s brainstem trust at the Weenter Meetings, dunnit?). He said fishing helped him relax and come up with new ideas, and scrapping the hook kept opportunistic trout from interrupting his chain of thought.
When July fell upon us the Feesh had serious pretenses of breaking out of their twelve year old divisional significance immunodeficiency bubble. They stood at 57-48, in second place only four games behind the Gnats and seemed to hold a hammerlock on the second wildcard position.
Then, the injuries set in.
The worst of them, of course, was the left groin pull that felled the Iron Giant as he tried to leg out a double on Sunday, August 14. The Feesh had already begun to swoon; on the day of his injury, which was a loss, the Feesh had slipped to 61-56 which means they’d gone 4-8 since the first of the month. Justin Bour, who protected the Iron Giant in the lineup (and if you don’t believe in ‘protection,’ I hope you’ve got a low copay for treatment of STDs), had sustained a high ankle sprain on July 2 that seemed to come from a different place on his foot every time the team issued another medical bulletin about him. They were averaging six men left in scoring position per game, and then as if their run production weren’t already poor enough Marcell the Damned sprained his wrist making a diving catch on August 31, closing out a wretched month and effectively completing the wipeout of the team’s main run producers.
None of these players has yet returned from their injuries, and the Feesh rank close to the bottom of the league in run production.
The injuries to the pitching staff are worth mentioning too. The first biggie was to Wei-Yin Chen, who strained his elbow during yet another poor outing on July 20, and there he remains. Periodically you hear rumors of a simulated game or movement without pain but frankly, Chen was so mediocre – 5-4 record, 4.99 ERA and a predilection for serving up gopher balls at a prodigious rate – that it’s not likely the team would benefit by his return anyway. Another one was a fractured middle finger on August 9 to A J Ramos, which in Macondo can be a serious impairment to driving purposefully. He just returned and has pitched erratically in four appearances, in one of which he coughed up three runs and a game. Talented young lefthander Adam Conley went down on August 15, the day after the Iron Giant, also with a fractured middle finger. Sign language is languishing in the Feesh clubhouse, along with the team’s fortunes in general.
Tomorrow or thereabouts, we’ll talk about the lousy trades that also helped undermine the Feesh’s season before it even started, and then gillnetted them even further at and around the waiver trade deadline.