Reds outfielder Jonny Gomes celebrated news of Adam Wainwright’s elbow injury

66 Comments

Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News was in the Reds’ clubhouse when news of Adam Wainwright’s injury broke this morning and described the scene, which included outfielder Jonny Gomes celebrating with a song:

Jonny Gomes walked into the Cincinnati Reds spring training clubhouse early Wednesday morning singing at the top of his warbly voice. The melody was not recognizable, but the words were plaintive: “Wainwright’s gone, Wainwright’s gone, Wainwright’s gone,” he sang joyously.

Wow.

It’s tough to tell the mood or tone of something based strictly on a written report, but McCoy’s article seemingly also paints Reds manager Dusty Baker’s reaction as … well, let’s just say something Cardinals fans would probably be upset by (although admittedly that likely wouldn’t take much given the bad blood between the two teams stemming from last season’s brawl).

If nothing else, Gomes has probably earned himself a few extra hit by pitches this season.

*******************

UPDATE: Mark Sheldon of MLB.com spoke to Gomes, who attempted to clarify what he feels is a misrepresented situation and said: “From the bottom of my heart, I would never wish anyone an injury.”

UPDATE II: McCoy has now pulled the story about Gomes celebrating Wainwright’s injury from his column because he feels bad about the negative attention that is heading the outfielder’s way.

I thought the Gomes thing was humorous, with no malice intended by Gomes. That isn’t Jonny Gomes. He is one of my favorite people and I would not do anything to hurt him. It seemed it was Jonny’s way of saying the Reds wouldn’t have to face one of the best pitchers in baseball and he’d never wish injury on any player.

McCoy, however, is not retracting the fact that he heard Gomes singing about the unfortunate Wainwright news. He heard it. Others in the clubhouse heard it too, including John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Gomes might not have meant for his song to come off as mean-spirited, but it’s out there now and ever-loyal Cardinals manager Tony La Russa tends to enjoy responding to such things.

The Cardinals and Reds begin their first series of the year on April 22 in St. Louis. Mark your calendars.

Neal Huntington thinks players should be allowed to re-enter games after concussion testing

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli, who has suffered many concussions throughout his 12-year career, was hit on the back of the helmet on a Joc Pederson backswing Saturday against the Dodgers. Through Cervelli remained in the game initially, he took himself out of the game shortly thereafter and went on the seven-day concussion injured list on Sunday.

Perhaps inspired by Saturday’s event, Pirates GM Neal Huntington suggested that players should be allowed to re-enter games once they have passed concussion tests, the Associated Press reports. Huntington said, “Any player that had an obvious concussion risk incident should be allowed to be removed from the game, taken off the field, taken into the locker room, assessed by a doctor, assessed by a trainer, go through an extended period of time and then re-enter the game. Because right now, all of this has to happen on the field.”

Huntington added, “The player has to feel pressure as he’s standing there with 30,000 or 10,000 or 50,000 eyes on him. He has to feel pressure to make a decision whether (he’s) in or (he’s) out of this game. He knows if he takes himself out and he’s the catcher, there’s only one other catcher, and the game becomes a fiasco if that other catcher gets hurt.”

Huntington, who has been forward-thinking on a number of other issues, has it wrong here. The concussion protocols were created because players frequently hid or under-reported their injuries in order to remain in the game. Especially for younger or otherwise less-proven players, there is pressure to have to constantly perform in order to keep one’s job. Furthermore, there is an overarching sentiment across sports that taking time off due to injury makes one weak. Similarly, playing while injured is seen as tough and masculine. Creating protocols that take the decision-making out of players’ hands keeps them from making decisions that aren’t in their own best interests. Removing them would bring back that pressure for players to hide or minimize their ailments. If anything, MLB’s concussion protocols should become more stringent, not more relaxed.

The powers that be with Major League Baseball have no doubt followed the concussion scandal surrounding the National Football League. In January, the NFL settled for over $1 billion with retired players dealing with traumatic brain injuries, including dementia, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. For years, the league refused to acknowledge the link between playing football and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which is a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to dementia and has many negative effects, such as increasing the risk of suicide. Since baseball isn’t often a contact sport, MLB doesn’t have to worry about brain injuries to this degree, but it still needs to take preventative measures in order to avoid billion-dollar lawsuits as well as avoiding P.R. damage. In December 2012, former major league outfielder Ryan Freel committed suicide. Freel, who claimed to have suffered as many as 10 concussions, suffered from CTE. MLB players can suffer brain injuries just like football players.

Huntington seems to be worried about not having enough rostered catchers in the event one or two catchers get injured. That is really an issue of roster management. Carrying only two catchers on the roster is a calculated risk, often justified. Huntington can ensure his team never has to be put in the position of not having a catcher in an emergency by rostering a third catcher. Rosters are expanding to 26 players next year, by the way.