You’ve heard my concussion story, so I asked for yours.
Right around the time Mike Moustakas was demoted to Omaha – remember that? It was such a brief blip – I got added to the staff at Royals Review. My job there is to run down the Minors every week, looking for notable performances, or underperformances. Those recaps run at 9:00 every Monday morning. As …
The Internet is a valuable resource when you’re looking for videos and images to convey an emotion you’re feeling. Today, I’m a lot like this: and I know you guys feel the same way. We’re all on the very same page today, like this: And then I found this one while looking for the babies. …
Ed. note: The Opening Day Countdown has been on an unplanned hold for a bit while I deal with a medical mystery. I’m probably not dying or anything, but am tired by the time I get home from work! Today the Royals announced the signings of a bunch of players to one-year deals. They are: …
Let’s see if I can come up with a post every day of the rest of the offseason. Today, there are 44 days left until Opening Day on March 31. 44 (plus two thirds) is the number of innings Louis Coleman pitched in Omaha last year. He was terrific, striking out over 10 batters per …
Let’s see if I can come up with a post every day of the rest of the offseason. Today, there are 45 days left until Opening Day on March 31. 45 is the number of double plays turned by Christian Colon last season. 3 posts this week have touched on the Royals’ possibilities at 2nd …
Irving Falu was DFA’d and probably isn’t long for this organization. Surely someone will pick him up. It will be weird as heck to not have him around in Omaha but he’s someone who will hopefully get some kind of shot elsewhere. What GMs out there are still suckers for toolsy kinds of guys?
Felipe “Setback” Paulino electing free agency makes sense for him, but it makes me sad. When he was healthy, he was stealthily excellent. Consistent long outings, few walks, no BS. A pitcher like that can go a long way toward helping a teetering young team finish developing into a respectable one. If only he was ever, EVER healthy.
I watched last night’s incredible PBS Frontline documentary, League of Denial, with keen interest. I have, erm, a special interest* in the suffering that can follow a person who’s had too many concussions.
*the short version: I had too many concussions, and spent my early 20s in a daze, with no short-term memory, limited long-term memory, no energy, limited feeling in my hands and feet, and very few reasons to believe life would ever be worth it again. Now, thanks to a particular treatment, I’m better, but for how long? And what happens when I get my next concussion?
The film was a tremendous piece of journalism. The Columbia Journalism Review’s Ryan Chittum made the point that lots of us knew most of the individual pieces of information PBS presented, and had seen some of the footage of players laying down big hits and later struggling to form complete sentences. But last night, all those disparate pieces of information were masterfully combined into one damning timeline.
Someone on Twitter set the over/under at the number of mentions this film gets during NFL broadcasts this weekend at one. I took the under, confidently. How could anyone whose paycheck comes from the NFL (or a broadcasting partnership with them) find a way to bring up the film – in the midst of a game that WILL feature lots of men getting sub-concussive hits and maybe full-blown concussions – without mentioning anything harmful to the league?
The filmmakers spoke with tons of family and friends, telling haunting stories of players who, it turned out, had CTE. Like Mike Webster’s friend Sunny Jani, whom Webster asked to tase him so he could fall asleep – in the seat of his truck, where he lived. He would tell people he “used to be” Mike Webster.
It was 1997 when the NFL conceded that a career in the league had harmed Webster’s brain enough that they needed to pay him disability. 1997! But much later Roger Goodell’s hand-selected doctor Ira Casson curtly denied any link whatsoever between football and cognitive problems. Repeatedly.
Steve Young addressed something that I struggled with when I was sick. He said something about how anyone can see a knee injury, for example, but a concussion is invisible. People can’t – and often don’t seem willing to try to - empathize. Young described the human brain as “the last frontier.”
Late in the film, someone – I think it was Ann McKee, one of the heroes of CTE/football research – said a sentence I’ve said to dozens of people, mostly teenagers, who have contacted me about how to cope with their own concussion issues: “You only get one brain.” I can’t tell any of these people what to do – it’s ultimately up to them whether to quit their sport – but I can tell them somewhat definitively that it won’t be worth it to keep putting themselves on a field where they’ll endanger their one and only brain.
So how is it that I’m still a football fan?
Since I published my own story this spring, I’ve counseled dozens of post-concussion sufferers. A handful have quit football. More couldn’t continue an e-mail chain so they had a family member help them type their messages for them. All have asked, in some way or another, whether there’s any hope at all for life after concussions.
So how can I keep watching the sport that destroys the brains of so many of its players? Because old habits die hard, and I’m weak-willed. That’s really it. It’s harder to watch, sure, but I still do it. I don’t jump up and celebrate big hits; I get knots in my stomach every time one happens. Little by little, I watch less of it, though. I haven’t watched a single Husker game beginning-to-end yet this year, practically a mortal sin for someone born and raised in Nebraska.
Someday, either because I can’t take it anymore or because the sport dies out completely, I’ll stop. What about you?
Years ago, someone at Royals Review put together a hilarious list* of anagrams of the Royals’ 40-man roster, yielding such classics as “Lo, Danger Ox!” and “Crime Horse.”. (Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer, respectively.) The roster is so different now, so it’s time for some updated anagrams from Wordsmith.org.
*which I can’t seem to find tonight. Help?
Noel Arguelles = Allele Surgeon. He’s really into genetic tinkering.
Bruce Chen = Bee Crunch. I can’t even make a joke. BEE. CRUNCH.
Maikel Cleto = Lace Mole Kit. I saw one of those at Hobby Lobby last week.
Louis Coleman = Email Uncool. Seriously, we only Kik and Snapchat now. Jeez.
Aaron Crow = Racoon War. Sounds scary.
Wade Davis = Awed Divas. Not sure how his wife feels about those.
Chris Dwyer = Screw Dry Hi. Yeah, screw it. Whatever it is.
Jeremy Guthrie = Jeer Hermit Guy. Ha ha, lookit hermit guy up there in his cabin!
Kelvin Herrera = Ankle Her River. That sounds dirty.
Luke Hochevar = Ache Over Hulk. That one song makes us all feel that way.
Greg Holland = All Herd Gong. It was loud and also a homophone.
Donnie Joseph = Joined Hen Ops. It’s a combat video game played in chicken coops. Wanna join too?
Justin Marks = Risks Nut Jams. …by not wearing a cup?
Luis Mendoza = No Mud Lazies
Felipe Paulino = Painful Pee Oil
Ervin Santana = Sent A Nirvana, and on the opposite end of the evilness spectrum, Satan Rave Inn
James Shields = She Slides Jam
Everett Teaford = Feet Rot, Averted. Must have used Tough Actin’ Tinactin.
Brett Hayes = Hey, Batters!
George Kottaras = Reggae Ark Toots
Adam Moore = Mama Rodeo
Salvador Perez = Dare Zaps Lover
Alcides Escobar = Accessible Road
Irving Falu = Rival Fungi. These two mushrooms HATE each other.
Johnny Giavotella = Vaginal Honey Jolt
Eric Hosmer = there’s no way to top Crime Horse. Letting a classic stand here.
Elliot Johnson = Hones Loin Jolt
Mike Moustakas = Oak Ska Tummies
Edinson Rincon = Condor Ninnies
Miguel Tejada = Idea: Metal Jug. It’s gonna make a million dollars!
Lorenzo Cain = Zanier Colon. Someone get this man some Pepto!
Alex Gordon = again, not gonna top the classic “Lo, Danger Ox!” Fans of Settlers of Catan might like “Ex Long Road,” but if you play against me, my road will be longer, because I like to win Longest Road.
David Lough = Valid Dough. What he’s making now that he’s been in the Majors a while.
Justin Maxwell = Nix Jaw Mullets.
Billy Butler = Liberty Bull
NO (good) ANAGRAMS FOUND FOR: Danny Duffy, John Lamb, Will Smith, Chris Getz, Jarrod Dyson, Tim Collins
….because if I had gotten all of Anthony Seratelli in the frame, this would have been a pretty decent picture. Sigh.
If you follow me on Twitter, you might see me tweet a “Seratelli photo of the day” often. The team has been away, so it’s been a while, but today’s was an obvious choice – Seratelli drove in the winning run for Omaha in the 11th inning this afternoon. Here’s Johnny Giavotella greeting him on the field.
(Photography note that will be boring for most of you: The shot was super overexposed because I had my camera set for shooting in the shadows that surround home plate in the early evening. So when I turned out toward first base where these two were, it was like OMG LIGHT IS SO BRIGHT.)
Last night I saw something I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen before – three plays at the plate in one inning. Omaha scored on one of the, which is fortunate because it was all they would get for many innings.
BONUS PLAY: Check out this incredible shot that New Orleans broadcaster Tim Grubbs passed along. Photographer ‘Baseball Jan’ caught Gorkys Hernandez beating up on the home plate umpire in a collision at the plate last week in New Orleans. Go visit Jan’s Facebook page and tell her how much you love the shot!
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