SECTION 331

Like a Million Baseball Fans Cried Out, and Were Suddenly Silenced

A Week in Light Review

2 Comments

A lot has been going on this week, just not any one thing large enough to write a post about. I just got around to finally listening to (or being able to listen to, I should say) two new podcasts from Jeff and Matthew at Lookout Landing. Having converted over to Apple products late last year seems to have just about caught me up with the 21st century. I can’t beam myself into space with my phone yet like everyone else seems to be able to, but I’ll get there eventually. The podcasts are entertaining, and I even learned something about the growth of trees of Mount Kilimanjaro, so I recommend them, if you haven’t already checked them out.

Last Monday, Geoff Baker posted an article about one of our new relievers, Hong-Chih Kuo, and his struggles with possible anxiety and his place in the game. I immediately had flashbacks to Ian Snell, a player I pulled for hard when he was here. What Kuo is apparently dealing with is something called the yips, something I haven’t heard of until this year. Nobody mentioned it when Snell was here, so either Snell was truly suffering from anxiety or depression like we were told, or he was just an awful pitcher. Whatever the case, I’m pulling for Kuo, too; and I hope he finds his groove, because relievers that people are unfamiliar with don’t get much of a chance in Safeco Field with the crowd. Hell, even the ones that we are familiar with sometimes get booed off the hill. I’ll reserve any further judgement of Kuo for Spring Training games, and reserve my booing for the umpires (fun fact; I don’t often “boo” – light cursing depending on the people around me is my mode of loud public complaint at ball games).

Michael Saunders and Steve Delabar are both thinking outside the box this year. And the Mariners are letting them do so. I like it. Maybe the team’s regular training regimens don’t work for everyone, so it’s great that the staff are open to outside approach; with the proper communication and goal-setting, of course. Saunders’ plan sounds uncomfortable and awkward, but if it works, it works, and that’s good enough for me. There are also a few words on the condition that everyone’s in, but I take those with a grain of salt or two. Blake Beavan never looked to me like someone who weighed 250, but glad to see it’s coming off a little. I always marvel at the shapes of guys like CC Sabathia or Bobby Jenks, but those guys have got to be the exception to the rule.

I need to cut this a little short, because time is running out and I have to get to work through a real mess of weather this morning, but wanted to document my dismay at the retirement of Tim Wakefield. Wake is 45, which is phenomenal for any athlete, let alone a pitcher; I wish him well. But it really is sad to see a knuckleballer bow out of the game. We don’t have many left, now that the trend towards throwing fast and hard has become more popular, and the throw is so difficult to learn. I will always appreciate Wakefield for giving one of my favorites, RA Dickey, advice when Dickey was ours. I believe that advice helped make Dickey what he is today for the Mets, and for that I will always appreciate Tim Wakefield. That and the fact that Tim Wakefield was awesome.

I know that all my links were from the Times, and for that I apologize; it’s lazy writing. But I’m in a bit of a hurry, and these come to my email inbox, so there you go. Over, out.

 

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2 thoughts on “A Week in Light Review

  1. Calling Hong-Chih Kuo’s problems “the yips” is kind of like calling a torn meniscus “the gimps”. Baseball (and most sports, at least the male-dominated ones) have our society’s aversion to mental health issues.

    It’s kind of odd. A player with mental health issues can go for help to a coach, or a sports psycholgist who specializes in visualizing how to hit home runs, but as soon as the player treates it like a real illness, everyone kind of runs the other way. “How’s he doing? Well, the name sounds familir, but I don’t think I knw the guy.”

    If a player has a physical problem he’s sent to the best doctors in the world for his particular condition and no expense or effort is spared to get him well. If he refuses team care, the team still makes him get approved treatment and keeps closs tabs on his doctors, treatement regimen and progress.

    If a player has mental problems it’s extremely rare for a team to step in and treat it the same as other health problems — send him to a clinical psychologist who specializes in the problem he has. It’s more like he’s on his own. Often it’s even considered to not even be a ‘real’ illness, just a ‘character problem’.

    Psychological problems are treatable these days if the right approach is taken by the a specialist, just like going to a micro surgeon or a Tommy John’s specialist. It’s hard to watch players with mental health or injury problems suffer when it just isn’t necessary, because of a few old attitudes and traditions.

    I know this is a bit off topic, but come on, people, it’s the 21st century.

    • It’s funny that you should bring this up. I was initially going to go into the perils of depression and anxiety – two conditions I suffer from – but the fact is, I don’t know enough about Kuo’s situation to have made such a call there, and I didn’t want to throw those words around if that wasn’t his condition. I try not to talk out of my ass here. ;)
      I completely agree with you about mental health; as a society, the US views people with mental health issues as almost untouchable, or somehow weaker than people who don’t have the problem. I know that the Mariners have tried to work with Ian Snell and Milton Bradley on their problems, and whatever was done (or not done) failed in both cases. MLB cannot continue ignoring these problems, chalking it up to the player “being difficult”, or giving it some other cutesie nickname that undermines what the individual is going through. If Kuo does have anxiety issues, I completely feel for him. It can be terribly crippling without the proper treatment.
      And you’re definitely not off-topic. I really appreciate the input. :)

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