ESPN’s Calvin Watkins doubles down on his Yu Darvish nonsense. Also fails to understand how the DL works.

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Last week ESPNDallas.com’s Calvin Watkins — who is primarily a football writer — slammed Yu Darvish for not pitching through elbow pain. As if that’s a thing any sensible baseball analyst would ever recommend in this day and age given the prevalence of Tommy John surgeries, given the value of a top-flight pitcher on a team-friendly contract and given the fact that the Rangers’ season has effectively been over since before Memorial Day.

Yesterday it was reported that the Rangers were probably going to shut Darvish down for the season. A move suggesting that maybe — just maybe — Darvish isn’t being soft or whatever he’s accused of being. A move which suggests that Watkins’ analysis of the situation from last week was off-base.

Watkins doesn’t seem to care. Indeed, he’s doubling down on his dissing of Darvish, once again citing the bumps and bruises of other players and saying that it appeared as though Darvish was “quitting on his team.” But that’s not the best part.

Check this stuff out. It would appear that the man the biggest sports news and information organization on the planet has covering the Major League Baseball team in one of the largest cities in America doesn’t know how the disabled list works:

Darvish could have handled things differently regarding his stint on the disabled list.

Instead of electing to go on the DL, he probably should have asked for some rest — because the Rangers would have given it to him. General manager Jon Daniels made the correct call in sitting Darvish, but perhaps the ace should have delayed the DL process a little bit.

Darvish most likely would miss two to three starts before being asked to do anything. If he was still having issues, then he would have been placed on the DL.

Darvish going on the shelf without waiting to see how he felt after a little time off raises some questions and some perception issues . . . I just wish Darvish had waited a little while before going on the DL, because you don’t want to come across as quitting on your team.

Based on that, here are the things Watkins apparently believes or misunderstands:

  • He is unaware that Darvish has been on the disabled list for some time already.
  • He believes that yesterday’s comments from Jon Daniels did something official regarding Darvish’s status as opposed to merely stating that the team does not believe Darvish will be able to pitch this year.
  • It appears that Watkins thinks that players just choose when to go on the DL as opposed to having their team put them on it.
  • It appears as if he thinks that the disabled list — like the NFL’s injured reserve list — is a season-long thing, from which no one can return once one is placed on it as opposed to a temporary thing. A temporary thing which allows for players having their time on it calculated retroactively to their last appearance. In Darvish’s case, back to August 9, when he last pitched.

Maybe some of you agree with Watkins’ “suck it up, dude!” attitude about Darvish and his injuries. I think you’re wrong if you think that way, but you are entitled to your opinion. But I’m not sure how anyone can take a thing this guy says about baseball seriously when he quite literally does not know what on Earth he is talking about when it comes to baseball.

We miss you, Richard Durrett. We miss you very badly.

Evan Gattis says he is ‘done playing’ baseball

Evan Gattis
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In a recent appearance on the 755 Is Real Podcast, hosted by The Athletic’s David O’Brien and former Braves reliever Eric O’Flaherty, catcher Evan Gattis confirmed he is “done playing” baseball. Gattis said back in October that he didn’t have any desire to continue playing the game, so this news comes as no surprise.

Gattis, 33, hit .226/.284/.452 with 25 home runs and 78 RBI for the Astros in 2018. The Astros did not extend him a qualifying offer, then $17.9 million. Though reporting on specific offers is scant, it is hard to imagine he received zero offers, or would have received zero offers if he were still interested in playing.

Gattis has one of the more interesting stories out there. He was a well-regarded college baseball prospect, but he battled anxiety and substance abuse. He checked into rehab and, temporarily, abandoned his baseball-related pursuits. Gattis eventually resumed playing college baseball but suffered an injury, prompting him to drop out of college. He went on to take on some not-so-glamorous jobs, including working in a pizza shop, as a parking valet, a ski-lift operator, and a janitor. Gattis battled more mental health issues, suffering from insomnia and depression, resulting in suicidal ideation. He checked into an inpatient psychiatric ward for several days. Afterwards, Gattis roamed around the west coast, going from Colorado to New Mexico to California to Wyoming.

In 2010, Gattis returned to baseball, playing for the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He performed rather well, resulting in his being drafted by the Braves in the 23rd round that year. He worked his way through the minors quickly, debuting in the majors in 2013. The rest, as they say, is history. Gattis retires with a career .248/.300/.476 batting line along with 139 home runs, 410 RBI, and 299 runs scored over 2,662 trips to the plate.

The story of Gattis is an important one because mental health in general was not taken seriously, especially among men. It still isn’t, to a large degree, but it’s better now than it was 10 years ago. Due to social taboos and gender norms, men are much less likely to seek help for mental health issues. That Gattis — a burly avatar of testosterone — was willing to be vulnerable about his struggles with his mental health was important.