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Why do Baseball Players Constantly Suffer the Oddest Injuries?

Remember the days when a sports injury could be easily treated with a Band-Aid, a soothing balm, and large handfuls of Excedrin? Well, apparently, those days are gone, ever since baseball players have found new and inventive ways to hurt themselves, while forever cementing their reputation as the clumsiest athletes on the planet — l’eggo my ego. When Rafael Furcal injured himself tripping over rope, not only did he present himself as someone not very skilled at Parkour, but he became yet another in a long line of baseball players who appear to be protégés of Barney Fife.

It’s not as if scores of celebrities haven’t injured themselves in foolish ways, even Presidential hopefuls like Bob Dole have been known to swan dive off a stage for the public’s consumption. Stuff like that happens, especially when you fly in the face of gravity. Baseball players, though, have raised the art to a head-scratching art form.

Perhaps you chuckled when you heard Rafael Furcal, who for all intents and purposes would be labeled an athlete, had trouble navigating the velvet rope you may find at a local movie theater. Baseball provides enough fodder for the AMA to start printing a whole new manifesto.

Sammy Sosa gave everyone pause when he once sneezed his way onto the disabled list, throwing out his back in the process. He wasn’t the only Cub to land in the Hall of Ignominy, however. If you like your sports metaphors mixed, shaken, and blurred, look up Carlos Zambrano. Z, or Malcontent, as he is affectionately called, once got “tennis elbow” from spending too much time on the computer talking with his brother. If you believe any part of that sentence, raise your hand because the Publisher’s Clearing House wants your info.

Well, it’s probably not as bad as alleged Guitar Hero, Joel Zumaya, who injured himself playing too much of that video game. Former Blue Jays teammates Glenallen Hill and David Wells discovered that sleepwalking is contagious. Glenallen Hill’s professed arachnophobia apparently led to a nightmare involving spiders which led to him sleepwalking, bouncing off walls, climbing up stairs, and crashing into coffee tables and, somehow, ended up on crutches. My nightmare involving arachnophobia unfortunately took place in a clear state of mind and ended up with no injuries but the traumatizing memories of having to pay to see John Goodman’s performance in the eponymous film. David Wells’ ne’er-do-wellism involved him sleepwalking into a pane of glass. Surprising, since most of Wells’ absences probably could have been attributable to a keg or three. Note to ballplayers: stop buying furniture from IKEA.

As if household sleeping disasters weren’t bad enough, Ken Griffey Jr. broke a pinky while slipping in the shower. Jeff Kent supposedly was washing his truck when he broke his wrist (that’s why I pay for my car washes every six months), but then recanted and confessed that a motorcycle was to blame for his wrist somehow being broken. Kent said he did it at a do-it-yourself carwash. (The better question: when was the last time a baseball player did anything themselves?) Joe Beimel cut his hand up while pitching for the Dodgers, claiming to have done it while reaching for a glass of water in the middle of the night, having the glass drop and break on the floor, and then trying to pick up the pieces with the lights off (throw in some Alfred Hitchcock music and it sounds like the beginning of some kind of horror movie). But, alas, Beimel was absent from the Dodgers playoff run in 2006 because of a broken glass at a bar.

If that were only the end of it. Dennis Martinez perhaps earned the nickname “El Presidente” after pulling a Gerry Ford while improperly hoisting a watermelon. (As if there was an instruction booklet that could detail such a task.) Perhaps we could always indict Kool and the Gang for inciting these injuries with their exhortation to celebrate. Kendrys Morales, before he added an “S” to the end of his first name and lost 2 seasons of his career, fractured his left leg while celebrating a walk-off grand slam against the Mariners in 2010; he has not played since. The Florida Marlins’ Chris Coghlan had a knee-jerk reaction in more ways than one during a game-winning celebration last year. During a pie-in-the-face stunt on Wes Helms, Coghlan tore the meniscus in his left knee and missed nearly half the season as a result. If you’re considering going vegetarian, perhaps you may want to assess the risks first. Matt Wise didn’t. In what may very well have been the first instance of salad tongs-related mishaps, the former White Sox pitcher cut his middle finger and was briefly sidelined while helping himself to some greenery. (Editor’s note: at time of writing, there have been no injuries caused by bacon in baseball — wait, check that.)

Ah, the poor schmoes of baseball. If misery loves company, then misery better rent out a ballroom because there are plenty more in line. Cast-off Marty Cordova was once sidelined after burning his face in a tanning bed. Kerry Woods injured himself climbing out of a hot tub. Kevin Mitchell shelved after microwaving a donut (using radioactive isotopes perhaps). Terry Mulholland scratched an eye with just that single down feather trying to break free from a disobedient pillow. Wade Boggs and his dangerous pair of cowboy boots — those dad-gum things just wouldn’t come off.

Baseball players would certainly make good magicians, creating this many illusions. Never mind. If you remember Steve Sparks trying to tear a phone book in half, you’ll surely remember the dislocated shoulder that followed. They’re obviously not the best athletes of the bunch either. Witness Vince Coleman getting injured by a tarp slowly being rolled onto the field prior to Game 4 of the 1985 of the NLCS while a member of the Cardinals. But, then, injuring Mets teammate Dwight Gooden while swinging a golf club in the clubhouse in 1993, presumably by accident, though no one has ever been spotted in New York City wielding a nine-iron for purposes of playing golf. Come to think of it, maybe baseball players are just a cut (literally) above the athletes in other sports. Or, maybe, just maybe, they are simply bad liars.



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