Giving Thanks

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MLB.com lists some of the many things we baseball fans have to be thankful for this fine morning:

Thanks to Nationals right-hander Craig Stammen, Orioles right fielder
Nick Markakis, Marlins club representatives and anyone else who was
spotted this past week delivering turkeys and meals to families in
need. There is only one word.

Thanks to Tigers outfielder Magglio Ordonez for allowing your famously
flowing locks to be cut and auctioned for charity. The proceeds
provided about $6,000 to Imerman Angels, a Chicago-based nonprofit
group that connects those battling cancer with those who have survived
it to provide inspiration.

Thanks to 2009 Roberto Clemente Award winner Derek Jeter of the Yankees and your Turn 2 Foundation for pointing so many kids in the right direction. While we’re at it, thanks for taking us along for that joy ride resulting in hit No. 2,722 to pass Lou Gehrig for No. 1 on the Yankees’ all-time list.

Thanks to everyone involved with the youth initiative that was the focus of Game 4 of the World Series. Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities presented by KPMG, along with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, continued to overcome inherent challenges in making baseball available for all kids.

There were many club-level Komen events as well, like the one on Sept. 5 at Oakland, where the A’s raised $75,690 on Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Proceeds benefited the American Cancer Society, Northern California Cancer Center and Komen. Those events are so common and worth highlighting as an example here.

Thanks for everyone who helped with the Prostate Cancer Foundation efforts on the annual Father’s Day events at the ballparks. And thanks to the late Michael Goldsmith, whose plea as a fan with Lou Gehrig’s disease inspired the initiative that led to 4♦ALS Awareness.

There are many other things listed, both charitable and merely baseball-related.  It’s worth a gander to see just how much those in and around baseball do for the community and to simply make our little lives a bit more enjoyable between April and November.

The CTB family would like to give thanks too.  When we launched this blog back in April we would have been happy if our mothers and girlfriends* read it.  It’s been nice to see the community grow these past few months and stay with us as the baseball season has turned into the hot stove season.

And it is a community: more than just we knuckleheads opining on stuff, CTB has become a place for baseball conversation, and you can’t have a conversation unless someone is talking back to you.  Sure, sometimes you yell back at us, but that’s OK. Keeps us on our toes.  The point is, we thank you for coming by each day, and we look forward to continuing to bring you all the baseball news (and rumors and gossip and vendettas and occasionally innuendo) that’s fit to print.

Thanks,

The CTB Team

*These girls are hypothetical; we’re bloggers after all.

Clay Buchholz apologized to the Phillies for getting injured

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MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that starter Clay Buchholz is at Citizens Bank Park for Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins. The right-hander recently underwent surgery to repair a partial tear of his flexor pronator mass. The timetable for his recovery is three to five months, but most are expecting him to miss the rest of the season since the Phillies aren’t legitimate contenders.

According to Zolecki, Buchholz apologized to GM Matt Klentak “and others” — presumably other front office staff and/or his teammates — for getting injured. Buchholz hopes to return to pitch in September.

It’s saddening to me, and indicative of the general anti-labor culture in sports, that a player feels obligated to apologize for getting injured on the job. Injuries are nothing new for Buchholz, which might have factored into his decision to apologize. Red Sox fans got on his case quite a bit over the years for his propensity to land on the disabled list. But it wasn’t like Buchholz was taking unnecessary risks; he simply did his job, which entails doing a lot of unhealthy movement with his arm. Buchholz owes no one an apology.

Buchholz isn’t the only player to have apologized for getting injured. Outfielder Hideki Matsui apologized to the Yankees in 2006. Starter Masahiro Tanaka apologized in 2014. Twins reliever Glen Perkins apologized last year. Even Madison Bumgarner sort of apologized for suffering injuries riding a dirt bike on an off-day, saying “It’s definitely not the most responsible decision I’ve made.” Because god forbid an athlete has interests and hobbies outside of his vocation.

Players are brought up in a sports culture that allows exorbitantly wealthy owners to bilk the players — laborers — at every possible turn. They’re mostly underpaid and poorly taken care of in the minors. If and when they reach the major leagues, their salaries are intentionally depressed for six years and their service time is toyed with (just ask Kris Bryant). Buchholz endured that and then endured the criticism that comes with having been a hyped prospect who mostly failed to live up to expectations. He’s gone above and beyond what he needed to do to have a successful career as a professional baseball player, even if it wasn’t as much as fans or front office personnel would have liked.

Eric Thames leaves game with apparent injury

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Update (5:22 PM ET): Thames is dealing with left hamstring tightness. Manager Craig Counsell says it’s “not a big deal,” Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

*

Brewers first baseman Eric Thames left Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Reds in the top of the eighth inning with an apparent injury. Thames took his position to start the inning, but was replaced by Jesus Aguilar. Thames had flied out weakly to center field to end the previous inning, so perhaps something happened while he ran that out.

The Brewers should provide an update shortly on the exact nature of Thames’ early exit. Needless to say, losing Thames to the disabled list would be a huge blow to the 11-11 Brewers, as he entered Wednesday leading all of baseball in runs (25), home runs (11), slugging percentage (.929), and OPS (1.411). Thames was 1-for-3 with a single, a pair of walks, and two runs scored before leaving.