One of the many reasons I love baseball is the injuries. Baseball is really the only sport where you get the truly crazed injury reports[i]. It’s where you get guys missing games for strained eyelashes. It’s where you get geniuses stabbing themselves in the stomach trying to open DVDs, or ironing their shirts while wearing them, or scalding their pitching hands on baby formula, or – and you really can’t talk baseball injuries without going to the Glenallen Hill well – having a nightmare about spiders and beating themselves up so badly they fall down the stairs. I mean, any of those is way more interesting than another strained hammy, any day of the week. And other sports just don’t give you that.
Hockey has precisely three types of injuries that get reported: “Lower body injuries” (Got hit in the nuts with a stick), “Upper body injuries” (got rammed face-first into a wall by a large, angry man from Moose Jaw), and “Took a puck off the face” (Took a puck off the face). Soccer[ii], on field heart-attacks aside, has no actual injuries, just really good impressions of them. And football – all injuries in football get spun by the Orwellian propaganda machine that is the NFL to make them sound as GODDAM MANLY as possible. Trust me, if a Green Bay Packer wound up on the disabled list because he’d stuck his personal Johnsonville Sausage[iii] onto a live George Foreman grill, “just to see what it felt like”, the NFL press release would read that he was dealing with “thermal stress reaction injuries to connective tissue in the groin”. (Basketball-related injuries tend to boil down to either stress fractures, things requiring protective goggles, and guys with large salaries whom teams want to make Go Away For A While)
But baseball is refreshingly open and honest about its injuries, which is why we have stories like yesterday’s bit about Oakland hurler Josh Outman. Outman’s headed to the DL with a strained oblique, having incurred the injury in a post-Denny’s bout of Technicolor yawning[iv]. (And I think I speak for all of us who’ve staggered into a Denny’s at 3 AM, impaired for one reason or another, that violent illness is a generally accepted consequence of that choice.) It’s amusing, well, for everyone but Outman and Oakland’s pitching coach. It’s different. And it’s human, in a way that other sports try to deliberately keep their athletes from being.
So hurl on, Josh. We’re with you.
[i] Golfers dropping jet skis on themselves doesn’t count. Golf, in the words of George Carlin, is not a sport. It’s an activity.
[ii] Yes, this is a sop to my co-author. Deal with it.
[iii] Though to be fair, if it’s a Packer, it’s probably a cheesy brat
[iv] Of course, the details of the matter are still up for debate. I mean, you can’t dust for vomit.