Blog Entry

Is it OK to be happy when a player is injured?

Posted on: June 2, 2011 9:56 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 10:33 pm

By Evan Brunell

The fact that Daisuke Matsuzaka may never throw a pitch again for the Red Sox is a tough blow to a team that was hoping Matsuzaka could return to the talent that saw him as a big cog in the rotation in 2007 and '08. But throughout the process of Dice-K's injury and eventual decision to have Tommy John surgery, the odds of finding a Red Sox fan who was disappointed in the news is akin to the odds Dusty Baker ever joins Twitter.

That brings up a sensitive question -- is it OK to be happy when a baseball player is injured?

In short: Yes.

Now it's time for the caveats. No one should ever wish that someone actually gets hurt. The fact that Matsuzaka has to deal with a bum elbow and will need to go under the knife is terrible. His livelihood and health are at risk, just like Posey is struggling with his broken leg.

But if Matsuzaka had been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, the same amount of relief Red Sox fans felt would still have applied. If Boston had traded Dice-K away, it would still have been seen as welcome news. And if and when Matsuzaka finally leaves the Red Sox organization next season, not many people will shed a tear. What all these scenarios have in common is not the means, but the end, to trot out a cliche. It's irrelevant why Matsuzaka is no longer pitching, only that he is. Red Sox fans are happy that he's no longer pitching because he's been a lousy pitcher for over two years now, not because he needs to undergo Tommy John surgery.

Does that mean Red Sox fans everywhere were wishing for injury to Dice-K to get him out of Boston's hair? No. (Well, I suppose there may be a few, but we're talking the lunatic fringe here.) But they sure were wishing that Matsuzaka just didn't pitch anymore. Baseball players have a tough battle: they want to be perceived as human beings but all too often are viewed as robots -- a cog in a machine. The explosion of fantasy baseball hasn't helped matters, as players are now reduced to the basest of Xs and Os. That's because, at the end of the day, fans and the front office demand results. No matter how gregarious one may be or invaluable to an organization -- whether that's a baseball club or the company that writes your checks -- if you stop being productive, you will be fired.

When David Ortiz slumped badly two seasons ago and last season to start the season, he couldn't understand why many were calling for his benching despite what he had done for the team and how much he meant (and still means) to the fanbase. What he didn't understand was that the fans' affection for Ortiz wasn't -- and shouldn't -- impact the fact that he simply wasn't producing at the time, and there was serious question as to if he ever would again. Every season, there's articles written about aging stars whose time has passed and how it's time for them to ride into the sunset -- and when it happens, there's a sense of relief.

Ken Griffey, Jr., was actively harming the Mariners last season in his attempt to stretch out his season once more. How his career then ended with NapGate and hopping into his car and driving off without informing the team is unfortunate, but no one can say it wasn't the right move. Griffey was done, just like Ortiz looked like, just like Matsuzaka is. All different situations, all different processes, but the same idea pervaded these players: they could no longer be a productive part of a team.

Daisuke Matsuzaka is not pitching. And believe me, plenty of fans in Boston are plenty happy about that. And that's OK.

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Category: MLB

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 10, 2011 3:56 am

Is it OK to be happy when a player is injured?

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 12:50 am

Is it OK to be happy when a player is injured?

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Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: June 3, 2011 5:41 am

Is it OK to be happy when a player is injured?

Actually, I think the operative word here is Schadenfreude, and it's a pretty well accepted concept.  Rough translation: taking joy from someone's else's suffering, even while you recognize the sadness of that suffering.  I mean, no one WANTS Buster Posey to be injured, and no one WANTS to see a pitcher blow out his arm, but it happens, and it can have positive benefits for you that have to be recognized.  It's like inheriting a gazillion dollars from your Uncle Roy; shame Roy had to die, but if he didn't, you'd still be poor, right?  So, take the Irish way: celebrate Roy's life, your gain, and screw the sadness that goes with it.  Here: Matsusaka certainly is undergoing some risk, but let's be honest.  Is it not better for him to end the season here and now, have the surgery (nowhere near as risky as it used to be) while he's still on that monster, guaranteed contract, with MLB health insurance, a chance to recover (takes about 12 months) and PLAY BASEBALL for a living?  The guy NEEDS this if he is going to keep pitching/playing.  In the long run, it will likely HELP him more than hurt him, and in the short run, it helps the Sox -- at least on the surface of things.  He's getting the help he needs, Boston is losing help it didn't need.  Be happy; hold a wake.

Since: Feb 10, 2008
Posted on: June 3, 2011 12:56 am

Is it OK to be happy when a player is injured?

Deep and thoughtful analysis: NO.

It's OK to be happy an opponent loses a game or is ineffective.  Injured?  Never.  Wear someone else's shoes for a moment and think about things.

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: June 2, 2011 10:15 pm

Is it OK to be happy when a player is injured?

wow, it is crazy how fast boston became the yankees.

Since: Jul 26, 2007
Posted on: June 2, 2011 10:02 pm

Is it OK to be happy when a player is injured?

There are players whom I wish would go away of their own accord.  There are those whom I wish would just go away.  Out of the latter group, yes, there are a small number that I'll admit to having no qualms about their departure being due to injury, mostly because they're seriously overexposed, seriously overpaid, or seriously nasty people.

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