Here’s something that’s somewhat interesting: back spasms, and their tendency to cripple the best Big League players. A while back, Chipper Jones had to sit out for “back spasms” and while I found that a bit silly, I didn’t think too much of it. Mark Teixeira has had to miss time for the same reason. My eyes have now been opened to what appears to be an endemic of posterior twitches plaguing players all around Major League Baseball.
I decided to do a tiny bit of research (I’ve been very bored this summer). Searching Google News for “mlb ‘back spasms'” yields 2,300 results since 2003, which would seem to be a pretty high number. Most recently, Edwin Encarnacion, Erik Bedard, Brandon Morrow, Reed Johnson, Jeff Kent, Kevin Youkilis, Josh Fogg, Garrett Atkins, Eric Chavez…and even umpire Jerry Crawford have had them, and all those have been in just the last month.
So what’s going on here? It would seem that it’s very easy to tweak the muscles of the back by continuously swinging or making a pitch, or, uh, yelling that a ball was foul, but there’s got to be more to it than that. I’m thinking that it’s somewhere along the lines of falling in a soccer match and remaining on the ground for a good two and a half minutes, at least in some cases. The baseball season can be a grueling 162 games, and what easier way to get on the DL than to complain that your back is feeling a bit awkward?
See, I’ve just got to believe that back spasms can be played through, just like that Portuguese soccer player doesn’t need to roll around because he had an elbow graze his neck. And don’t get me started on the over-reliance on pitch counts in MLB. Our world athletes are becoming soft, and we’re keeping them that way by turning a blind eye. If you’re making millions of dollars a year playing a game, the least you can do is actually play it, even if you’re experiencing some discomfort.