It’s no secret that T.J. Simers grinds my gears. He probably likes that, as grinding people’s gears is his thing. But no amount of nonsense from a sportswriter will ever make me want to see harm befall him, so I was sad to see that Simers had a ministroke over the weekend. And happy to see that, a few days later, he’s back writing his column.
And it’s a good column. In it he notes that when the stroke hit he was in his Phoenix hotel room and called to Camelback Ranch to tell colleagues and Dodgers people that he wouldn’t be at the ballpark. Dodgers’ trainer Sue Falsone got on the phone with him and helped diagnose the stroke (which it appears Simers didn’t immediately recognize as such) and then dispatched assistant trainer Aaron Schumacher to his hotel to take him to the hospital. Great play, Dodgers.
Simers has since been treated and released and seems OK. We know he’s OK because in the column he takes his usual shots at Mike Scioscia, Joe Blanton, Dwight Howard, Hank Conger, Marriott Hotels, his wife and others. Which, even though a lot of us don’t care for his schtick, is good to see. I mean, if Simers came out with some “this brush with mortality has made me rethink my approach; henceforth I shall be nicer to sports figures” thing it would be seriously time to worry. And frankly, I don’t think I’d ever read Simers again if he did that. Rage against the dying of the light and such. Be yourself until the end. That’s the only way to really be.
Anyway: good to see he’s OK. Get will soon, T.J. I need you to write some totally unfair, cheap shot column about Adrain Gonzalez or Zack Greinke or someone so I can criticize it. That’s how this is all supposed to work.
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.
A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:
No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!
Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:
It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:
I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.
And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.