Purgatory Online

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

I realize I haven't been posting much recently, either in terms of quantity or quality. Mostly, this is a function of (a) increased business in my work life and (b) impending nuptials. In fact, I'll be away from the blog altogether for a couple of weeks in the middle of June, so I guess you can consider this a sneak preview of Purgatory Online's impending hiatus.

But there's just no way I'm going to let Bill Plaschke's latest column pass without comment.

Essentially, this is a recitation of Angels who've "played through pain" this year, contrasting the suck-it-up ethos of the clubhouse with Glaus's decision to undergo surgery and effectively end his season.
Which is why it was so odd Tuesday to see another corner of the Angel clubhouse empty.

It was the one belonging to Troy Glaus, who has decided he can no longer do the one thing that has marked this team like a bright red "A."

He could no longer play in pain.

Glaus has decided to essentially forgo the season and undergo right shoulder surgery requiring at least four months of recovery, a move that has flattened hopes and raised eyebrows.

Is the shoulder suddenly that bad? And does it have to be fixed now?

Hey, Plaschke? Screw you. If Troy Glaus says he's having crippling pain, who the hell are you to bitch about it? Considering that the closest sportswriters come to "playing through pain" is when the press box spread doesn't include chicken wings, you're the absolute last person with any standing to cast these kinds of chickenshit aspersions. I like how you've equated several players' conditions, by the way. Tell me, are these highly scientific medical opinions your gift to the team, or will you be billing Arte?
Finally, he is electing surgery despite refusing recommended surgery on the shoulder in August and committing himself to rehabilitation. By ending that commitment early, he may be contributing to the eventual end of what could be a championship season.

This is just wilfully stupid. "Ending that commitment early?" Christ, it's not like he woke up one morning and suddenly decided, "hey, I think I'll screw the team!" In case you didn't notice, Bill, Glaus actually re-injured himself. Do you suppose that might change things? Maybe that's a sign that rehab wasn't the way to go, you think? Or do you believe that, having been injured at the start of the season after months of therapy, further rehab would somehow ward off the exact same thing?
Without Glaus, there is nobody to hit behind Vladimir Guerrero and in front of Jose Guillen, a spot that worked wonders in the season's first six weeks.

Imagining the Angels without Glaus is like imagining the Yankees without Derek Jeter, the Florida Marlins without Josh Beckett, other world champions without their World Series MVPs.

"Can we survive?" asked Jarrod Washburn grimly. "It's our job to survive."

You don't have to imagine the Yankees without Derek Jeter. They don't have Jeter - at least not the Jeter Plaschke is talking about. Jeter's currently hitting .190 with a .516 OPS and two home runs. And - stunning! - they're still doing pretty well. Yet, in Plaschke's world, if the Angels don't win a world championship, it will all be Troy Glaus's fault. I'm beginning to suspect Glaus backed over Plaschke's dog at some point.

Oh, and sweet job with the adverbs. "Grimly" - I like that. Jarrod Washburn, the noble warrior, standing his ground proudly while the coward Glaus retreats in fear. Plaschke, you're a hack.
The Angels understand the pain. Just watching Guerrero walking into the dugout, they understand pain.

But they hoped that, having refused surgery last year, Glaus would continue to play this season until it became so bad he was hurting the team, or at least hitting something less than .375, which he batted in his final 10 days.

They hoped that perhaps he could continue rehabilitating the shoulder while moving to designated hitter or first base.

They hoped that he would look around a clubhouse and listen.

Indeed, it's just not humanly possible that Glaus could perform well and be seriously hurt, is it? I mean, surely that would contradict some sort of physical law, right? Hey, are there still any of those curly fries left?

This is a hack piece, pure and simple. There's nothing in there approximating evidence that Glaus is dogging it, and plenty of reasons why he wouldn't want to - headed into his free agency, leading the league in home runs, looking primed for the best year of his life, why the hell would anyone forego that without some pretty tremendous reasons? This is a small-minded whine, and I feel cheaper for having read it.