Friday, March 6, 2009

This Is F___ing Depressing

I'm still at work, and obsessively hitting the Refresh button on Phish.com so I can torture myself with the fucking sick setlist they are playing.

Kill me.

It's cool though, I get paid extra for staying after 9 on a Friday.

(Oh wait, what's that? I don't?)

Sweet.

A-Lbatross

Pictured above is the Northern Royal Albatross. Adult birds can have a wingspan between nine and ten feet, the largest in the world behind only other types of Albatross. They are solitary birds, sometimes leaving their nests for months at a time to glide effortlessly upon ocean winds in search of squid and fish.

Nearly all of their entire population is confined to a few islands north of New Zeland called the Chathams. The species is threatened by climate change, non-native species, longline fishing and pollution. The Chathams have been hit by several cyclones over the past few decades, reducing the soil cover and destroying much of the vegetation on the islands. They are an endangered species, and with such a limited range they face an inevitable decline.

I can think of an athlete who seems like a Northern Royal A-Lbatross. Northern because of where he plays. Royal because of his contract (which might be an endangered species). I think you know who I am talking about.

He is a physical marvel himself and solitary in nature. When he is firing on all cylinders, he makes pounding home runs to the opposite field look pretty easy. He has been said to be confined to an island himself, especially in the clubhouse.

His reputation has been tarnished several media storms, namely steroid use, dating a wretched-looking, washed-up pop star, a predilection for muscly strippers and a knack for almost always saying and doing the exact wrong things. He's on the wrong side of his prime and and was just diagnosed with a serious injury, both of which seem to indicate an imminent decline.

Care to venture a guess?

Hurricane A-Rod

Lost in all of the finger pointing yesterday was the fact that the diagnosis of a torn hip labrum is a whole lot worse than a simple cyst. While it would have been bad to lose A-Rod for 10 weeks, a cyst seems more like a temporary anomaly than a long term health problem.

PeteAbe spoke with Dr. Robert Buly, a hip specialist who has worked in concert with Dr. Marc Philippon, who will ultimately be working on A-Rod. The information he got is less than encouraging:
Dr. Buly said it is “not unreasonable” to try rest and rehab. “But at some point you have to bite the bullet and have the surgery. It’s going to get progressively worse and for the patient, it’s pretty miserable,” he said.

A-Rod’s ability to play depends on the size of the tear and how quickly it gets larger. At some point, surgery will be needed. If it is only soft tissue, the recovery time is six to eight weeks. If bone must be repaired, it would take three to four months.

Brian Cashman indicated today that surgery would knock A-Rod out for four months, so it is likely he has some sort of bone deformity. This comes from wear and tear or some sort of anatomical abnormality.

No one wants to hear about wear and tear starting to pile up on a player with nine years left on his contract, much less an "anatomical abnormality". Do people develop anatomical abnormalities at age 32/33? Perhaps those who have taken HGH do.

The Saturday that the Selena Roberts story came out was pretty bad. I would argue the news yesterday was worse.

When the initial reports about A-Rod's condition came out, I assumed it was just another star player using an excuse to get out of the WBC. Not so much. Not too long ago, Yankees fans had every reason to be excited about the upcoming season. The New Stadium, two new front end starters (three if you could Joba beginning the year in the rotation), Mark Teixeira, Jorge Posada's return, Joe Girardi's new approach...

I think most Yankee fans were getting past the PED revelations and the ensuing sloppy mop-up job by A-Rod and his overly calculated PR firm. You knew it was going to add an annoying element to much of the season, but that's something you get used to. All the negative publicity swirling around him probably wasn't going to help him on the field, but you could make the case that since he got that big of a secret off his chest, he may have been poised for a big rebound in '09. That day, the milestone incentives in his contract were rendered worthless, but that's just money.

Yesterday makes this look pretty fucking stupid. You don't have to be a doctor to figure out a hip problem has the potential to be a long term issue. When I hear stuff like "bone deformity" in a joint as large as your hip, I get a little concerned. Neither Chase Utley nor Mike Lowell did particularly well trying to play through the condition. A-Rod could probably DH, but that spot was supposed to be divided between Jorge Posada and the odd man out(fielder). It's not going to be good for Posada to have to sit on the bench on the days he's not catching.

Already, it seems the Yankees have been robbed of a significant portion of the two seasons which were their best bet to get a good value on the contract in. They knew they were going to be paying full salaries for partial seasons, but I don't think they thought it would be this soon. It doesn't look like there's much of a chance he plays enough games this year to reach his usual counting stats. If someone told you he was going to play 125 games, would you take it? That's 13 fewer than last year and his absence was awfully noticeable. It would be the fewest since his age 20 season. I'd still sign up.

Injuries are the worst thing about sports. Whenever I play video games, I turn the injuries off. They are annoying and arbitrary. You never know when they are going to happen and aside from hiring the highest paid training staff, there is nothing you can do to prevent them. They seem unfair. They sabotage seasons. Watching Chein Ming Wang limp off the field and Joba grab his shoulder were two turning points last season. After the first one, I was pretty sure we were fucked, and after the second one, I was positive.

This of course isn't the end of the world. It's still extremely early to be up on the ledge. Joel Sherman exhaustively laid out the Yankees' options at 3rd, including this guy. Those reasons to look forward to the new mentioned above are season are still intact (although Joba topped out at 88mph yesterday). The rotation still looks pretty damn awesome. Teams have won with lesser offenses than the one the Yanks will trot out Opening Day, even if The Human Controversy isn't in the lineup. If Mark Teixeira is your best hitter, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Still, I can't help but think: It was all good just a week ago.


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