Before tonight's big tilt against the White Sox, I have to say you know that baseball is news when the paper of record (The New York Times) has two baseball stories on it's main page.
The first is sad news: Bobby Thompson (Bobby "Shot-Heard-Round-the-World-Giants-win-the-pennant!-Don-DeLillo-will-make-me-immortal-in-fiction" Thompson) died today at the age of 86. With Thompson's passing one of baseball's most legendary moments just became a whole lot more legendary. As the grainy film, scratchy radio and fading memories attest, what was once beautiful in the grand old game is sadly hard to hold on to. But Thompson's gentility, class and humility allowed the story to be told and handed down and loved by generations of dorks like me. Corny as all this might sound, I grew up reading old baseball stories, and Thompson's passing reminds me that all that I love about today's game will someday be as technologically inaccessible as the old radio broadcasts of the 40's and 50's. And it will fall to me, and Stinky and all of you to keep telling stories to grandkids and great-grandkids who will never know see the awesomeness that is Kirby and Mauer.
Okay, morose moment over. Serious moment at hand: the Times also reports that brain trauma's can have effects similar to ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease). Why does this matter? Well, consider that (according to the article) Gehrig--though Columbia educated--received great credit for "toughing it out" and "playing through the pain" of not only dings and dents, but a number of concussions. Which brings us to our first baseman: Justin Morneau and the troubling, baffling, anger at Morneau for being cautious with his return from concussion.
To be sure it would be great to have Justin in the line-up, but if, as this study suggests there's a heap of deleterious health considerations connected to doing anything but resting following a concussion, then I think all baseball talk needs to be put on hold and the man needs to rest up. So, why so many fans have taken intense umbrage at Morneau and the Twins for keeping him off the field leaves me dumbstruck. (To be fair there are many people defending this decision, and many more--smarter people--who don't read message board comments at all, but I digress.) If your passion for baseball is so intense that you cannot understand the need for a player to consider their health and well being--then you need to stop watching baseball and seriously reconsider your values.
Okay: Rant mode disengage. Enjoy the game tonight!