Drew Cumberland

Padres prospect Drew Cumberland forced into retirement

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A hat-tip to Baseball America for pointing out the Pensacola News Journal story on Drew Cumberland, a Padres prospect whose career is now over because of an inner-ear condition known as bilateral vestibulopathy.

Cumberland was a supplemental first-round pick in 2007.  He hit .350/.385/.505 with seven homers and 21 steals between high-A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio last year, and BA named him San Diego’s No. 9 prospect entering this season.

Cumberland, though, went down this spring with vertigo-like symptoms and hadn’t played since.  Suffering from the effects of repeated concussions, he experienced constant headaches and dizzy spells.

“There were times when I thought I was losing my mind,” Cumberland said. “The headaches were coming from so deep in my brain, it was hard to explain to someone. I would talk to (the Padres’) psychiatrist because, honestly, I thought I was going crazy.”

After his diagnosis, Cumberland tried resuming workouts in late June, only to have to shut it down after a few days because he symptoms returned.  As a result, he’s now pursuing a coaching a career at the tender age of 22.

Check out the News Journal article for the full story.

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!

Bo Jackson is not gonna change kids’ minds

1989:  Bo Jackson #16 of the Kansas City Royals practices his swing as he prepares to bat during a game in the 1989 season.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last week Bo Jackson said that, if he had it to do all over again, he would have never played professional football and that he would never let his kids play. The sport is too violent, he said. “I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’”

Fair enough. Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, however, thinks that Bo could do more than simply give his opinion on the matter. He thinks Bo should become an official ambassador for Major League Baseball:

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, pick up the phone right now and call Bo Jackson. Tell him you have a job for him — vice president of something, whatever you would call the man in charge of converting a generation of young athletes to baseball. And pay him what he wants.

You won’t find a better symbol of the differences between the two sports than Bo Jackson. After all, he was an All-Star in both. Bo knows football. Bo knows baseball.

Bo, tell the children — baseball over football.

The Children: “Who is Bo Jackson?”

Yeah, I’m being a bit flip here, but dude: Jackson is 54 years-old. He last played baseball 23 years ago. I’d personally run through a wall for Bo Jackson, but I’m 43. I was 12 when he won the Heisman trophy. While he may loom large to middle aged sports writers, a teenager contemplating what sport to play is not going to listen to someone a decade or more older than his parents.

This isn’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s indicative of how most columnists process the world through their own experiences and assume they apply universally. It’s probably the biggest trap most sports opinion folks fall into.