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Friday, August 27, 2010

On Jee-SUS and Elbows and Stuff

I was going to post this earlier but thought I'd wait until I was a little less disappointed. As much as I like to vent, I truly try not to do too much of it when emotions are high. So I thought I'd try to calm down first.

That could take a while. Might as well spew now.

My wife, fortunately for her, was at work all day and is going to hear a speaker tonight. The poor dogs won't come near me. They think I'm mad at them, the way I've been stomping around and contributing (heavily) to the swear jar all day. Some guy stopped by the house and said he'd been told to come remove all sharp objects and my shoe laces.

I tried to drown myself in the shower. Didn't work. I put on my Strasburg t-shirt in his honor and will later burn a candle in honor of his elbow.

Then I will head plant the melted wax. Can't hurt any worse.

Let me try to organize all that is going through my head right now. It's more of a mess than usual so work with me here.

*First, and most important, I feel awful for the kid. Yeah, I'll admit it. I cried just a bit. For him, truly, not for my own disappointment (and new conviction that being a Nats fan means being cursed).

Yes, I know Stephen Strasburg has more ability, more poise and, yes, more money than most of us will know in a lifetime. He's still a kid. He's barely 22. He's younger by a several years than both my kids. I hurt for him.

Adam Kilgore is one of many who has material up from his meeting with the press. As expected from such a poised young man, he handled it well and is going into it with the right attitude. Whining and moaning and giving it the "why me?" treatment won't change a thing. Ligament is still torn, still needs the surgery. So good for him there, not that I'm surprised.

But it still has to be a terrible feeling for him, because despite the success rate (more on that later) there is some uncertainty. My bet is he'd give back all the money he's made to date to have this thing not be happening. Pitching a baseball better than most everyone in the world is his gift, his blessing, and that's been taken away. Probably only temporary but, right now, 12-18 months seems like forever.

I know how I'd feel if it was my kid, so I feel for his folks, too. And his wife. Mostly for him. I almost want to give him a hug.

I vented earlier this week about some dissatisfactions and I don't know when I'll be back at the stadium this year. I'll promise you this: I saw Jee-SUS' first game and I'll damn sure see his first game back. Stay strong, young man. Bust your ass and the days will fly by.

*My Mr. Brightsides attitude isn't working very well today but there's no denying this: The success rate for this surgery is very high and it is a long, long, long list of pitchers who have had it and returned and done very well. You almost wonder if it wasn't inevitable at some point with him anyway, so let's get it over with now. Even if he misses all of next year, he'll be only 23 when he pitches on Opening Day in 2012.

He doesn't have to look hard or far for examples. Kilgore noted in another update that 10 pitchers on this year's All-Star teams were Tommy Johns. Dang. Great tidbit there. I didn't know that.

Just off the top of my head last night, I came up with a sweet start to the All-TJ rotation of Chris Carpenter, Tim Hudson, Josh Johnson and Jordan Zimmermann. Throw in Ryan Dempster, too. You could bring Billy Wagner and Joakim Soria out of the pen.

Johnson made it back in 11 months, with some nice numbers since. Nice story here.

Kilgore also noted that the rookie pitching for the Cardinals tonight, Jaime Garcia, is a TJ guy, too. He's won 11 games and has a 2.42 ERA. He may be rookie of the year.

Didn't Sean Burnett have this, too? And Luis Atilano? Not in the same class as the others but still.

I'm convinced, totally convinced, he'll be fine. But, yeah, 12-18 months right now seems like for-fricking-ever.

*But, uh, ah, what if he's in the 8-15 percent group of non-successes? I read that the success rate is 85-92 percent. It doesn't work for everyone. OK, I'll stop now.

*I'm on record as being an Uncle Stan fan, as much as he drives me nuts sometimes. I loved his "I'm not a doctor" quote about Ramblin' Rob Dibble as much as any quote I've ever seen. I can hear him delivering it with that great sarcastic touch he has. So maybe this is another bright side. Does it speed up the departure from the booth? The broadcast just came on as I was typing this so I don't know if he's back tonight. Phil Wood is still on pregame, so maybe not. Maybe he's done already??

The more I think about his comments earlier in the week, the angrier I get. He basically called the kid a pussy - suck it up and all that.

Can you imagine how much it must hurt to throw a pitch and have your ligament tear?

*Didn't some Phillies doctor check him out Saturday and say Strasburg would be fine and could pitch Thursday? Yeesh. Do the Phillies let this dude within 10 miles of Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins?

Stunning. About 11 weeks ago, I was in a packed Nats Park with a whole lot of others (including my kids) watching one of the finest sports performances I've seen in a life spent watching them (thank gosh I got that DVD). We floated out of the stadium that night, just floated. Legitimate, honest-to-goodness hope filled the air.

And now?

I guess my poll is kind of moot. I'll leave it up over the weekend and come up with something good next week. Maybe I'll feel better by then. Right now, I still feel like I'm sure most of the Nats Nation feels. Like I've been kicked hard somewhere you don't want to be kicked at all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You know, in five or ten years kids who want to be pitchers will be preemptively getting TJ surgery the way skanks who want to become strippers get fake tits.

Can you imagine how much it must hurt to throw a pitch and have your ligament tear?

No. But I'm sure Dibble can. And actually, he probably doesn't have to imagine, since he surely has felt that kind of pain, albeit not in that precise location. Wouldn't you agree?