What goes into a ballplayer’s physical

Library of Congress

Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times wrote a fun, participatory journalism kind of article. It’s about the physicals Mariners players and coaches go through at the beginning of spring training. He himself went through it too in order to tell us what it entails.

Unlike what normals like you and me go through once a year, it ain’t five questions from the doctor, a blood draw and a turn-your-head-and-cough. It consists of 13 different examination stations, going from dental exams and oral cancer screenings to X-rays and, finally, a grueling treadmill stress test which Divish took himself and which he describes in detail.

A player starts on a treadmill running at a designated speed — ranging from 6 to 9 mph. Once the speed is determined, the player is supposed to run at that speed until he can’t go any longer. But here’s what makes it difficult. Every two minutes the treadmill is raised by an increment of 2.5 degrees until it reaches a 10 degree incline . . . For a middle-aged sportswriter in average shape, it was less than enjoyable.

I’ve met Divish and he sells himself short. While it’s not saying much given the physical condition of most sportswriters, he’s in pretty fantastic shape for a scribe. That it was tough for him means that it would likely kill most of the rest of us. At least if we were to take the time away from calling some ballplayers fat from the comfort of our couches to actually get on a treadmill.

Anyway, congratulations for making it through, Ryan. I think that entitles you to an honorary Best Shape of His Life designation.