Wednesday, May 4, 2011

4 comments Tom Powers Calls Out the Twins From the Safety of a Press Box

I was going to post something by Gene Wojciechowski and how he hates the NCAA, but when I ran into the following column by Tom Powers all bets were off. He basically calls the Twins a bunch of pussies for having injuries. He probably wrote this as he ate nachos and drank his 8th Diet Coke safely in the press box with the only real dangerous injury he's had to rebound from in his job being a paper cut.

First of all, I apologize if this column isn't very good. But it was cold at Target Field on Wednesday night, and I couldn't get loose. Despite cracking my knuckles several times, it just didn't feel right.

Oh, I get it! He's making an excuse for writing a poor column just like the Twins make excuses for their injuries! His hands not being able to get warm is the best possible excuse for his brain not working properly to write a good column is exactly like the excuse a Twins player might use for not playing due to an injury. They are the exact same! Exactly. There's no difference.

It happens. Ask Delmon Young of the Twins. Delmon pulled himself from the lineup Wednesday night because he couldn't get loose. Despite hitting balls 20 rows deep into the stands during batting practice, he went over to manager Ron Gardenhire and said he couldn't go.

Man up Delmon. Quit being a little girl. If you can hit the ball deep into the stands, you can play in a game. I am sure Powers' recalled observation of Young hitting 20 balls deep into the stands isn't affected at all by his point of view that Young is being a wimp by not playing.

After the contest, the Twins put Young on the disabled list, which is where he should have been a long time ago.

Ok, so now Delmon Young, the guy who hit 20 balls deep into the stands in batting practice as related by Tom Powers in his anecdote proving he could have played in the game, should not have been in the game according to Tom Powers. He should have been on the disabled list. So far let's go through what Tom Powers is saying:

-The Twins use too many excuses when they have injuries.

-Delmon Young used an injury excuse before a game even though he looked like he could have played. He is one of the excuse-making players.

-Delmon Young is really injured so he should be on the disabled list. So his excuse was valid, but otherwise the Twins make too many excuses.

So the problem is players like Delmon Young are using excuses to not play in games, even when the injury is admittedly a valid one? I'm confused. So should Young have played or not? Tom Powers admits he was injured and should be on the disabled list, yet seems to indicate Young should have played because he hit 20 balls deep in the stands during batting practice.

He's missed six straight games with sore ribs, all the while insisting his return to the lineup was right around the corner. In fact, he asked Gardenhire to play him in left field instead of using him as the designated hitter on Wednesday. He figured he would be able to "stay loose" by running around in the outfield.

He's just like Michael Young, just less heroic. All Delmon Young wants to do is get on the field. So Young not only was trying to play through his rib injury, but he also insisted he play in the field? Clearly, this was a move designed to not get on the baseball field and milk an injury.

So far, Tom Powers has criticized Delmon Young for not playing in a game and trying to play in a game. I have no clue what would satisfy Tom Powers at this point, other than for injuries to players resulting in immediate execution of that player.

Then he bailed.

You know what? This is getting ridiculous. Hey guys, just go play baseball. We're all sick of hearing about tweaks, strains and IV bags. Suck it up and play!

Or don't play if you should be on the disabled list. The point Tom Power is trying to make is that you are all pussies and need to man up and play baseball...unless you should be on the disabled list, in which case don't even DARE to try to warm up and play in a game. He'll criticize you for that too.

The Twins have to quit babying these guys. Either they can play or they can't.

Get on the field or get off the field. Don't try to play through injuries, don't try to determine the severity of injuries. Once a player gets injured, the Twins have 20 minutes to decide whether that player will play the entire season or go on the disabled list. 20 minutes should be enough time says Dr. Powers.

The problem is that guys walk into Gardenhire's office and tell him when they can play and when they can't. To me, that's a case of overcommunication. Unless the trainer specifically says a certain player needs to sit out, Gardenhire should just make out his best lineup and expect his players to go out there and perform.

I am not in the Twins clubhouse, but I would imagine Gardenhire does make out his best lineup and expect the players to perform. It doesn't make sense to send players who are injured out there because that won't lead to success. It will lead to more injuries and the failure of the team to win games. Maybe the Twins baby injuries at certain points, and I am not a doctor, but there are certain injuries that are day-to-day and may take time to heal while the player plays. There may also be cases where the team wants to hold the player back until they know how the injury feels in a couple of days.

We keep hearing that Justin Morneau is completely recovered from postconcussion syndrome. Yet after an off day Monday followed by a rainout Tuesday, Gardenhire said Morneau needed a DH day instead of playing first base.

At least his bat is still in the lineup. That's a positive, right?

OK, he's had the flu. It must be one hell of a flu, lasting more than a week. And he's not the only one.

I guess Tom Powers has never had the flu. The lingering effects can last more than a week and if the flu is still properly treated the person isn't necessarily ready to participate in a physical activity.

"We've got a bunch of guys sniffing and coughing up there," Gardenhire said, nodding toward the clubhouse.

Did Ted Williams ever sniff? Anyone ever hear Willie Mays cough?

"Players were tougher back in my day. Back in my day, there was no coughing or sneezing. Players simply threw up rather than cough."

I'm pretty sure at some point Ted Williams sniffed and Willie Mays coughed in the locker room. I don't think having the flu or having a cold has happened to the modern baseball players. I can't believe he just actually wrote these two sentences.

"Did Sandy Koufax ever have diarrhea?" "Did anyone ever catch Whitey Ford drinking water? Then why does Justin Morneau need to stay hydrated?"

Before Wednesday's game, Gardenhire didn't even know which pitcher would start the second contest of today's doubleheader. At first, he thought it might be Eric Hacker. A dozen pitchers on his staff and yet one doubleheader throws the whole world off kilter.

The dozen pitchers on Gardenhire's staff all can't start a baseball game and be expected to go five innings. Some of the pitchers are closers, some are middle relief, and some are starters who have pitched recently. There is a reason a manager closely plans out the pitching schedule.

After all, we wouldn't want anyone to pitch on "short rest."

If a pitcher pitches in the second game of the doubleheader on short rest, considering there aren't a lot of breaks in a team's playing schedule, he will either take a rest before his next start or work on short rest for a longer period of time. I'm not sure this is desirable. So given injuries and the fact most of the pitchers on the staff either (a) would be on short rest or (b) can't start a game without wearing out the bullpen, it may be difficult for Gardenhire to find a pitcher to pitch the second half of a doubleheader.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that Carl Pavano also has the flu and has been pushed back a day.

Did Ted Williams ever sniffle? Did anyone see Cy Young have to blow his nose?

Hacker was Plan A. Unfortunately for Gardenhire and the Twins, Francisco Liriano was so horrible on Wednesday night that Hacker had to warm up in the very first inning. He ended up coming in to pitch in the fourth.

Well, then Francisco Liriano could have pitched the second half of the doubleheader...assuming he wasn't such a pussy of course.

The Twins' approach to injuries can be summed up in three words: caution, caution, caution.

It's not like the Twins have a bunch of money tied up in these players or anything. A cautious approach to injuries with inexpensive assets like baseball players is just pure madness. They should just blindly force the players to get out on the field with little regard to their injuries.

How do you feel? Think you might play today? Want to give it a try?

Sounds like we have ourselves a frustrated Twins fan here and not a sportswriter who covers athletes for a living.

Enough! Gardenhire needs to do what Vince Lombardi used to do as coach of the Green Bay Packers. Just barge into the trainer's room, tip a couple of tables over and order everybody out.

If Ron Gardenhire's goal is to lose the entire team and alienate his players in an attempt to get fired, this is definitely the best course of action. While he's at it, he could expose himself to fans who are entering the stadium, that would be effective to get him fired as well.

Once Gardenhire starts knocking over tables the Twins players will immediately start thinking things like,

"Man, my ribs don't hurt so bad. I'm glad our manager's immature display of frustration and anger helped me to understand my injury isn't quite as bad I believe it is. After all, he knows better than I do how I feel physically. I am going to start playing harder for him because he is so understanding of my personal situation and health."

As Lombardi would scream: "Nobody is injured here!"

I did an internet search on this phrase and I can't find where this was a popular sentence uttered by Vince Lombardi. I guess Tom Powers means Lombardi would have uttered this sentence if he had ever uttered this sentence. One thing is for sure, Lombardi would have had no patience for a guy with the flu and post-concussion syndrome. That made him an excellent head coach apparently.

Then write their names into the lineup and refuse to take them out unless the medical staff advises otherwise.

Another great idea! I feel like this part of the column comes from a terrible made-for-television movie where a fed-up, aging manager is put in charge of a young team that is so used to be pampered they don't understand the hustle and dedication being a great baseball player involves. The manager then throws a hissy-fit by flipping over tables and berates the injured players on the team which ends up, against all reason, actually making the team like him more and causing them to realize they aren't dedicated enough to winning. Eventually, the team wins the World Series as the star pitcher pitches a complete game with a broken arm and a dislocated shoulder...but the power of knocking over tables and irrationally berating injured players pulls him through.

Oh, and even though I couldn't get loose, I managed to muddle through and do my job. Not everybody at Target Field on Wednesday night can say that.

How brave. Tom Powers was sitting in a seat watching the game when he was "injured" by being cold. The Minnesota Twins players not only had to endure the cold that wiped out Tom Powers, but they also had to muddle through and do their job, which consists of performing physical tasks, while having an injury that prevents them from being at their 100% physical best.

I wish this column was a parody or making fun of the Twins fans for wanting injured players to play, but somehow I know that isn't the case.


FormerPhD said...

He's missed six straight games with sore ribs

Ya, I couldn't imagine how sore ribs would be a bad thing for a slugger... oh wait, it's a pretty serious issue.

We keep hearing that Justin Morneau is completely recovered from postconcussion syndrome.

As someone who has had a few concussions, this is complete horseshit. I still feel the effects of my concussions years later and still do, 8 years after the fact.

Is it as bad as it was when I first got them? No, but every once in a while I have a day where I can't function b/c of headaches, dizziness or a complete inability to fall asleep.

Morneau missed basically an entire season because of it. I don't think he's completely healthy even now. He's still going to have some flare up and in a sport that requires an absurd level of focus, he's going to be useless some days. I'd trust a player's ability to adequately judge if he can help the team by playing.

How do you feel? Think you might play today? Want to give it a try?

The stupidity of this is astounding. When you have the flu, there's a window of about three or four days where you don't even want to get out of bed. When your job requires you to hit a small round object traveling 90+ MPHs, having even the lingering effects of the flu can mess up everything.

Also, oh no, Morneau missed a week! A whole 6 games in a season that lasts several months.

Again, the trainer can only say if anything is wrong at that time, but I still trust a player's ability to accurately judge what his body can and cannot handle. If a player has sore ribs and says he can't go, then guess what, maybe he realized that if he swung 100% during a game, he'd hurt his ribs more.

Oh, and even though I couldn't get loose, I managed to muddle through and do my job. Not everybody at Target Field on Wednesday night can say that.

If this jackass had carpal tunnel I'm sure his tune would change.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, those sore ribs are why Young shouldn't have tried to play, except he should have tried to play, except he shouldn't have. I'm still not sure Powers knows what he wants Young to do.

What is funny a/b that concussion statement, and I should have called him out on it, is that no one really knows if a player is ever completely recovered from post-concussion syndrome. Like you said, it may just flare up again. It's not like the flu or a cold you just get over after a period of time.

After recovering from the flu, there is also a certain period of feeling lethargic a person has to go through. Having a ball thrown at him quickly and fielding his position at first base isn't the best time to feel sick. Maybe he could play, who really knows, but it is obvious the entire team may have had the flu, so it seems like a pretty bad case.

I don't like to make excuses for players missing games, but sore ribs seems like a valid excuse and the fact Morneau is still recovering from a concussion is a valid excuse in my mind. I just think it is hilarious to read a sportswriter criticizing a group of baseball players for not being tough enough. It just seems funny to me.

Anonymous said...

Best part is all the idiots in the comment section. Half of which I'm sure have called out of work with hangovers

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I try not to read comments below some of these columns. I just finished reading some of those and they were funny. It's like a trail of criticism. There's Tom Powers criticizing the Twins for being lazy, me at home criticizing Tom Powers b/c he couldn't play with the flu and is in the press box making criticisms, and the commenters safe at home criticizing Tom Powers.

Comments after articles like this are usually not very productive. That's why I like my commenters, they aren't idiots.