Roy Halladay took out an ad in the Toronto Sun thanking Blue Jays fans for their “overwhelming passion and devotion.” I assume he meant during those times when it wasn’t Leafs season.
Seriously though, nice move by Halladay, a man about whom I’ve never read or heard a discouraging or disparaging word.
Fun: The linked article does a quick rundown of other athletes who have done the full page ad thing. Johnny Damon, Trevor Hoffman, Mike Sweeney, Drew Bledsoe and even Pacman Jones. I seem to remember a whole bunch more. Makes me think that the gesture, however nice it is, is a bit passe.
I mean, really, Akinori Iwamura took out a full-page ad when he got traded from the Rays to Pirates last month, and he played there for only a couple of seasons for cryin’ out loud. If that doesn’t put us in mid-air over the shark, we’ve certainly strapped on the skis, haven’t we? All of which makes me wonder who will be the first person to escalate things. I mean, newspapers are dying, right? At some point an athlete is going to really up the ante in the “thanks for your support” race.
My guess: Derek Jeter takes out thirty minutes of TV time when he announces his retirement. A full-blown Obama-style deal, where he’s on all of the major networks. Except he’s so smooth with the P.R. stuff he knows that no one wants to hear him talk that long so he speaks for ten minutes and the uses the rest of the time to air previously unseen footage from the 1932 World Series the he bought from some old widow or something.
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.
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.