Tweet of the Day: Got a brain injury? #playyousissies

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Given how many careers have been derailed by concussions and all we’ve begun to find out about the ugly long-term impact of brain injuries on former athletes it seems unfathomable to me that a prominent veteran mainstream media member would still be ripping players for not playing through a concussion.

And yet here’s this from longtime Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist and 1500-ESPN radio host Patrick Reusse regarding Twins catcher Joe Mauer:

Mauer suffered a concussion on August 19 and missed the remainder of the season because a month later he continued to experience symptoms such as dizziness and sensitivity to light every time he tried to increase his workouts. He has a brain injury.

That was the fourth in a series of tweets from Reusse about how Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder has been more durable than Mauer despite not looking like much of an athlete. How body type and athleticism relates to brain trauma is unclear.

UPDATE: I thought perhaps Reusse would come back on Twitter to say he misspoke or otherwise offer an explanation, but instead this was his follow-up tweet several hours later:

“For whatever reason” in this case is a brain injury. And then a few minutes later the backtracking began:

He of course specifically mentioned Mauer, not Arcia or anyone else, in four consecutive tweets and called Mauer a “poster boy.”

Battle cries and sissies and boo-boos. Cool stuff, all around.

Tommy La Stella talks about his refusal to report to the minors in 2016

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In late July of 2016, Cubs infielder Tommy La Stella was demoted to Triple-A. It wasn’t personal. It was a roster crunch situation and La Stella had options left so, despite the fact that he had been an effective player to that point of the season, it made sense to send him down.

La Stella didn’t take the demotion well. In fact he refused to report to Iowa and went home to New Jersey instead. It was not until August 17 that he finally reported and then only after prolonged discussions with the Cubs and the assurance that he’d be back in the majors once rosters opened up. Which he was, after spending just over a week down on the farm.

Such a move by a player would, normally speaking, make him persona non-grata. His teammates would shun him and the organization would, eventually, cut bait, with the press characterizing him as a me-first player as he walked out the door. That did not happen with La Stella, however, who remains with the Cubs two years later and, by all accounts, is a popular and important guy in the Cubs’ clubhouse, even if he’s not one of the team’s big stars.

Today Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has an in-depth story about La Stella, what went down in 2016 and how he and the Cubs have proceeded since then. The story is subscription only, but the short version is that there was a lot of understanding and empathy on the part of the Cubs organization and their players about what was going on in La Stella’s head at the time and how everyone allowed everyone else the space to work through it.

I’m happy to read this story, because all too often we only hear about such incidents as they occur, with little followup. To the extent the story is told, most of the time its completely one-sided, with the player who acts out being treated like a bad seed with little if any explanation of his side of things. And, yes, there are always two sides to the story. Sometimes even more.

Kudos to Rosenthal for telling this story. Here’s hoping the next time a player is involved in a controversy that, in the moment, makes him appear to be a bad seed or have a bad attitude, we hear more about it then too.