Striking a Balance Between Being a “Gamer” & Hurting the Team

The Mets have had a bevy of injuries this year, more than I ever remember on a Met team or any team (not in St. Louis). What’s frustrating for me is how these injuries extend beyond the 15-day disabled list, or even worse, burgeon into more serious problems. Part of me wants to blame the trainers, but there is also a great deal of responsibility that falls on the player.

This is an issue for me, especially today as Cerrone on Metsblog reports that Putz is able to extend his elbow FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A YEAR. Are you kidding me? If a pitcher can’t extend his elbow, his livelihood, then why is he not talking to someone about it? Moreover, why in hell is he playing in the WBC? When a player pushes it and is forced to stay off the team for an extended period of time – that simply hurts the team.

The same case could be made for Delgado. You can’t tell me that the hip wasn’t a problem in the offseason, yet he plays in the WBC (at full speed) resulting in losing at least three quarters of the Mets season. The same case could be made for Reyes, Perez, and Beltran. It’s not just the WBC participation, but how they handle their injuries during the season.

I understand the competitive nature of athletes in general and especially for baseball players. I have argued in the past that the ego of a baseball player is, and has to be, bigger than any other athlete from any other sport. Baseball is perhaps the only game, where there is a defense (so no golf analogies please), where every player is required to be center stage as a hitter (or as a pitcher) with all eyes on them. Football, soccer, basketball etc. can’t make the same claim. In baseball you have your moment, usually three or four times a game, whether you like it or not. If you are lucky enough to be a pitcher (haha) you get to control the tempo of the entire game (as a defender). Sometimes your ego is so big you actually have to bullshit yourself into thinking you are better than the other player, when you know at times that you aren’t. This same ego might make a player ignore all the warnings about early full-throttle WBC baseball, refusing to let people know you tweaked something, or refusing to go three-quarter speed (which isn’t all that advisable).

In the end though, the player actually hurts his team more if he is out for an extended period of time, even if he has the right intentions. I worry about the Mets because I am not convinced that the full team will come back healthy this year. Regardless of if it’s too late, I just don’t see the full squad taking Citifield and that sucks!

Posted by Gene Anthony


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