I do not entirely remember what it is like to write about baseball. I do not, frankly, entirely remember what it is like to watch baseball. I do remember what it is like to worry about baseball and to be anxious about vaguely baseball-related things, but those are issues for another day. A more relevant thing I remember is what it is like not to want to watch a young superstar player get injured in a horrific way.
You already know that I’m talking about Manny Machado, he of the perfect baseball physique and the league-leading doubles total and the shocking +34 DRS and +33 UZR and +29 FRAA (the last of which is, if you follow these things, and I don’t really expect you to, the most shocking of the three) and, to be fair, he of the perfectly normal, league average .259 TAv and 99 OPS+, but he of the average bat with the stellar defense that makes him a top-notch-if-short-of-MVP-caliber player in the hardest baseball league in the world at the tender age of 20 (though he is for what it’s worth an old 20 in that he played July and August and would have played September at 21). Machado apparently did a horrific thing to his knee or ankle or something in the general leg area and what he did to that general leg area had people tossing around more acronyms (UCL, ACL, MCL) than a government bureaucrat at a … well, at a government bureaucrat’s convention (GBC).
But like I said, I can’t really get into the details of it because I didn’t watch it. I was at work, so there was no chance, fortunately, that I would accidentally see it live, and when I heard there were gifs, I didn’t click those. I also never saw that college basketball player who snapped his leg off during the NCAA tournament last year. I saw Napoleon McCallum’s career end on Monday Night Football in 1994. I saw what looked like the end of Jerry Rice’s career in 1997. (And that Warren Sapp merely slowed Rice down when he tore his leg off is a testament to the completely absurd work ethic and genetics that Rice brought to the game.) I saw Jermaine Dye break his leg horrifically with a freak foul ball. I’ve resigned myself to my fate as a baseball fan and a basketball fan—I will see terrible injuries while watching live sports on television and if the players can put the possibility of their own death or maiming out of their minds long enough to face down a 95 mph fastball, well, then I can bear down and watch the games.
But that doesn’t mean I’m about to click a link to intentionally subject myself to an image when I get teary-eyed just pondering the very notion of what Manny Machado is thinking about and feeling right now.
(None of this should be taken the wrong way: I claim no superiority for my no-clicking position. Consider this a glimpse inside the fragile psyche that keeps me from acknowledging the reality of bad things, not an opinion piece arguing for any one position or another.)