Because my voicemail box isn’t overflowing with Phillies personnel bubbling with desire to hear some of my professional, skewering inquiries, I read another interview Brad Lidge just gave to another journalist who isn’t “borderline stalking” a current member of the Phillies. Their words, not mine.
I took a special interest in Brad’s interview because I see him as the biggest question mark for 2010. I know, I know; right now, the Phillies blogosphere is churning with pieces on what the challenges at hand are for the Phils this year, and since you’ve probably read all of those already, I decided to comment on one of them.
Interesting tidbit of information: Brad Lidge spent the majority of 2009 in constant, seering agony. And for some reason, this affected his pitching. Now, I’m far from a doctor, and embarrassingly further from a professional athlete, but when a new season is pounding on your door like a neighbor who just doesn’t get why your car is parked in their living room, and you say something like:
“… now, when I push off my knee, it doesn’t hurt. I didn’t have that luxury last year.”
Is it now considered a luxury to not be in constant, physical pain? So, if I go to the doctor because I’m in pain only, like, 80% of the time, am I going to get laughed out of the office? It still seems serious. Every day I wake up and the bruises are even more… formidable.
The Phillies doctors went with the “Amazon Trail” approach to medical treatment and, as that school of thought preaches for such ailments as parasites, typhoid, and the Bubonic Plague, they informed Brad that all he really needed was a bunch of rest.
Needless to say, he eventually required surgery.
“So, they went in there, and I think it was a really good idea because for the first time in 10 months, I can walk up the stairs and not even think about it.”
I… I just…
Well, at least there was a problem, he told the right people about it, and they went in there and got it fixed to the point that it doesn’t hurt anym–
“I knew there were some bone chips in there (elbow), and I knew that was something we would have to get addressed in the offseason. They ended up finding a real small tear in the tendon, too.”
If we had shaken Brad Lidge last year (don’t act like it didn’t cross your mind) would he have made a rattling sound?
And then he was asked about if he ever thinks about that magical night in the 2009 World Series where the crisp fall air was light with the scent of fresh apple cider and equinox, and he allowed three runs in the 9th inning of Game 4, thanks to Johnny Damon and his double-steal.
“No, never,” Lidge replied. And then slightly quieter, as he stared at the floor, “… never, ever, ever… and when people ask me about it, I don’t know, I just get these headaches and I lose consciousness and when I wake up I’ve hurt someone. Really badly. Like, I can’t catch my breath and most of their blood is on my clothes.”
Brad’s real answer, naturally, was skirting a direct response to how often he re-lives an extremely crappy moment of his career and offered a glimpse more into what he has done in the offseason to prevent runners from going on him in general. Guy’s a pro.
“Assuming J.C. Romero and myself are out there healthy and doing our normal thing, I feel like we have the best bullpen in baseball.”
Okay. Now that’s a sentiment I can get behind. But just remember, kids, it will be a lot harder to support such a hypothesis if one of our key bullpen members, like, say, THE CLOSER, is racked with torturous knee-gasms that prevent him ascending a staircase without bursting into tears. For 10 months.
Without telling anyone.
I kept calling for change last year, after Brad had blown one too many saves to still be able to escape his sinking season in a life raft of memories from 2008. I, and others obviously, assumed that just putting someone else in the closer’s spot for a bit might at the very least end in a different result than putting Brad in there had been.
Of course, if the “change” necessary was to make a sharp, never-ending amount of pain in his knee go away, I guess bringing in another pitcher would have been completely ineffective.