Wednesday, May 19, 2004

I have seldom been so enraged by an article as I was (am) by Bill Plaschke's character assassination of Troy Glaus in today's Times.

Here is the summary of the "article," for those of you with understandable allergies to Plaschke's ravings: Many Angels are tough, like Jose Guillen and Ben Weber and Vlad. They play through injuries. Troy Glaus is the exception. He is a spoiled brat who cannot stand pain and is hurting his team, and it's all his fault because he didn't have surgery last year. The 2002 Angels won the World Series because they had a bunch of guys who played hurt last year. The End.

(That penultimate sentence is an accurate representation of Plaschke's comments, by the way. We'll get to that presently.)

First of all: as revealed by Rob yesterday, Glaus was prescribed rehab. Behold the August 20, 2003 article reporting same from the Angel website:

"On Tuesday, Glaus underwent a second examination on the shoulder with Dr. James Andrews at the Alabama Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Alabama. The test confirmed Angels team doctor Lewis Yocum's original diagnosis.

"Both doctors have prescribed six weeks of physical therapy and re-evaluation following that time period, so Glaus will not play again this year. [emphasis mine]"

Of course, this doesn't stop Plaschke from "writing" that "[Glaus] is electing surgery despite refusing recommended surgery on the shoulder in August and committing himself to rehabilitation." Nice fact-checking, Bill.

The worst part of the "article" is Plaschke's know-it-all tone, his sense of knowing that there is no way that Glaus is really feeling the pain that he says he is, or that it's significant or hurts his performance. After all, he's hit four home runs in the last ten games, right?

Yeah, Bill, that's exactly how it works. Injuries never gradually wear on you, or decay, or just become too tough to live with. You're right, Bill; it's binary, you're either too hurt or not, and there's no inbetween or transitory period between those poles.

Maybe Glaus knows that he won't be able to perform with pain, and this is really what this rant is about. Sportwriters love the now. They love players who play with pain now (and don't care if it shortens their careers -- which also hurts the team later). They love for a player to play hurt and play poorly than to get healthy to play well in three months. Note this absurd Plaschke Passage:

"The starting rotation includes a guy, Washburn, who pitched last year in constant collarbone pain.

"The batting order is filled with guys like David Eckstein, who last year routinely grimaced and limped from the clubhouse to the infield.

"This is why they have won. This is why, even with Glaus perhaps never again wearing an Angel uniform, they will continue to compete."

Um, Eckstein sucked last year, and Wash wasn't too hot, either. Why? Because they were playing hurt. I'm not saying they shouldn't have played ... but this idea that what they did is more noble than what Glaus is doing is offensive.

And the idea that they won in 2002 because they have guys who play hurt and suck in 2003 is just stupid.

This article is pure character assassination, and it's disgusting. I have often realized that Plascke has moronic tendencies; this is the first time I remember thinking he was malicious.

Let's look at one more passage drenched in moronia, one where if Plaschke was smart enough to understand what the hell he wrote he'd realize his entire argument holds no water:

"[Glaus] was off to the best start of his career, during the last year of a contract, and those guys always find a way to make it work, no?"

Yes, it is his free agent year. Such major surgery dramatically lowers his market value.



Give me a break. Troy Glaus has ever been an intense competitor. Troy Glaus is a good player, which means he makes an out 60 to 65% of the time. Troy Glaus still gets angry every time he makes an out. Troy Glaus still gets angry every time he makes an error.

Does Bill Plaschke really think Troy Glaus doesn't care about the team? Why should Troy Glaus be expected to mortgage his future for two months of playing with a deteriorating shoulder right now? How will that help the team in September, or next season? There's actually a chance Glaus can come back this season this way; without the surgery, it seems possible he would have to shut down later this summer. What nonsense would Bill Plaschke spew then?

And the idea that Glaus would do this in a contract year if he didn't really have to is an idea from Mars.

Maybe I am wrong and Plaschke is right. Maybe this sportswriter knows more about a player's injury and pain than that player himself does. This is a very important skill for a sportswriter to have. Bill Plaschke is world-renowned for his knowledge of frayed labrums and how they affect baseball swings. The idea that this uppity Troy Glaus and the unqualified Lewis Yocum would know more about Glaus' decaying shoulder than the expert Plaschke is, of course, laughable on its face.

Well, I was enraged when I read the article this morning, I was enraged as I started this post, and I'm enraged now. I, for one, am done with the rantings of Bill Plaschke, and I'm done with sportswriters who think they can gauge a professional athlete's soul and drive by whether or not the elect to have surgery that puts them back together so that they can perform. This is a line of thinking I normally reject, but here goes: Troy Glaus achieves more professionally in one week than Bill Plaschke will over the course of his entire life, and Plaschke questioning Glaus' drive therein is rooted entirely in smugness and jealousy.

Troy, get well soon.

Bill, jump off a cliff.

UPDATE: I seem calm compared to Sean.

Maybe Troy Glaus, for the team, should have fixed his shoulder last Aug. Than he might have recovered in time for this season like Shawn Green.

Cut, or not to cut. Troy Glaus took a gamble. I'm sure he thought this out last Aug. He thought rest after the season might have been enough.Buy putting off the surgery, Troy put himself on the line for the Angels this season. He played with pain like a champ, during his contract year, until he could bear no more.

His shoulder is like that drinking game. The one where you put a penney, and a paper napkin, on a glass of water. Then burn holes in the napkin until the penny falls into the glass.

Lets just hope that he stopped just in time so the doctors don't have to dig around to much in there, and he can make a quick successfull recovery.Because if that penny falls its game over.

I agree with your arguments whole-heartedly. In fact, I sent an email to Mr. Plaschke echoing these concerns earlier today - here is his response:

"thanks for the note and I appreciate your sentiments...yes, I have heard
from other fans today, and longtime angel fans have been in agreement with the
sentiment expressed in the story...you can't fool them, or ballplayers, and it
seems many around anaheim stadium are scratching their heads about this..."

I urge everyone out there who takes issue with this article to send an email to bill.plaschke@latimes.com - so that he understand how the true "longtime angel fans" feel.
I am mixed re: sending email to Plaschke. What he wants is attention; it might be louder to just ignore him (which of course I've really done a good job here, as you can see ...) ...

Of course, it's probably too late for that, as many people are likely writing in. I'll have to calm myself down before I consider doing so ...
I generally like the Times with three glaring exceptions: the hideous political cartoonist Michael Ramirez, the pathetic Robert "The Boss is God x 100" Hilburn and Bill Plaschke (yes, yes, I like Simers). Plaschke gives me whiplash: one minute he's convinced the Lakers are the greatest team in the history of sports, the next they're dogmeat. He's a hack and not worthy of an e-mail. He's operating on hindsight (as, I admit, I have been too the last few days re: Glaus) about the surgery/no surgery thing. But all the other stuff is just lame.

Despite tonight's poorly-played loss (Shane.....fucking......Halter.......), the Angels still have the best record in baseball. This team has guts and I refuse to hit the panic button.
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