Every once in a while we get a jolt that reminds us that the men who play the boys game we love so dearly are just that……men…..who like us all have frailties. We may tend to look at (and want to believe in) the caricature we see on the playing field day in and day out as though they were some kind of a wind up toy you send out there until the batteries fade or die out completely. That mirage often coincides with the image of baseball as America’s Pastime and pastoral ambiance. It works well until it doesn’t……..
You might recall, for instance, the piece I wrote about Wilmer Flores who was captured on camera weeping when he thought he was being traded to another team, when in fact all he was doing is expressing his humanity. It is in this same vein that I believe we should look at the events of the past few days pertaining to CC Sabathia.
CC Sabathia is a man who carried the Yankee’s pitching staff on his back from the Championship season of 2009 through last year when a knee injury and resulting surgery virtually left him for dead with many scribes (including myself) wondering if he would ever pitch for the Yankees again. In truth, he probably struggled with his need to to learn how to pitch again without his 95mph fastball as much as the illness that was challenging him. These are the stories we will never know……the why and the how……and have no right to know (Shame on the story in the N.Y. Post today).
All we need to know is that CC is taking care of business for his family and loved ones. Are we shocked and disappointed about the timing of his move forward to rehab with the Playoffs looming? Of course we are, but you can be sure that everyone in that Clubhouse supports his decision to a man because they are the “robots” who go out there to perform for us……….and they get it because they know what it’s like to be on stage in “The Show”. Good luck CC and we look forward to seeing you on the mound next year……….healing and healthy.
Posted in a baseball life, America's Pastime, Baseball, Baseball Blogs, BASEBALL families, baseball playoffs, c.c sabathia, Fans, getting traded, joe girardi, New York Yankees, Playoffs rotation, trade deadline, wilmer Flores, World Championships
Tagged 2015 Playoffs, Alcoholism, Ballplayer human, baseball, Baseball Blogs, CC Sabathia, clubhouse Joe Girardi, drinking, New York Yankees, rehab, Wilmer Flores
On any given day, the above percent of the United States population can be classified as Major League ballplayers (40 man roster X 30 teams). In scientific notation, that number would be represented as 3.428 X 10 to the negative seventh power. Trust me, it’s a very small number. Factor in the populations of Latin American countries and the number becomes even smaller.
More than likely, everyone reading this article (including myself) dreamed one day of playing in the “Show”. The allure of playing a boys game before millions of adoring fans, making tons of money, staying in first class hotels……with the possibility of “retiring” at the age of 40…….come on…..who wouldn’t want that?
But something changed in baseball this week – at least for me. Subconsciously, I had realized it before but the sight of seeing Wilmer Flores sobbing with the news he heard from fans in the stands that he had been traded from the Mets (the team that signed him when he was 16) to Milwaukee was enlightening.
It simply reminded me that the men and sometimes boys who play this game we love………..are not robots or wind-up toys. They are human beings who have feelings. They are men who play on teams that log as many as 43,000 miles in the air, often traveling overnight following a night game……..getting five or six hours sleep and it’s back to the ballpark for a day game.
In many ways it’s a lonely life too. Most have wives or significant others, family with children, pets, friends and relatives who remain behind during a extended road trip. And when the well accepted “business” aspect of the game intrudes on this life with a trade to another team…………and suddenly your life is changing and there’s a house to sell, a new house to buy, children uprooted from schools and friends, your newly made friends left behind………the list is endless…….it may be time to pause for a moment to reflect on the dream we had to consider how much the sacrifices these “players” make along the way…….
Which brings us full circle back to Wilmer Flores and the emotions he displayed that night in Queens…………and while his reaction was open and captured on camera……..you have to wonder how many PEOPLE who play this game haven’t felt the same way leaving their bags unpacked and waiting for the call that says…….”Thanks for your service but you need to catch the next flight to Denver”……….
Posted in a baseball life, Baseball, Baseball Blog, Baseball Blogs, baseball travel, business of baseball, getting traded, wilmer Flores
Tagged air miles baseball teams, impact on baseball lives wives family, traded players, Wilmer Flores