Part of the Game

“Baseball teams go south every spring to cripple their players.  In the old days they only stayed a couple of weeks, and they couldn’t get many of them hurt in that time, but nowadays they stay until they get them all hurt.”  Will Rogers

MLB teams are making their final roster cuts this week as they prepare to break camp and head north for the start of the 2013 season.  Some “can’t miss” prospects are being told their road to Cooperstown includes stops in a few more minor league cities (see Jurickson Profar – TEX; Wil Myers – TBR).  Many aging veterans are being asked to swallow their pride and accept minor league assignments, and they agree just to preserve one more opportunity to return to the Show (see Matsuzaka, CLE; Nady, KCR).  Their impatience and indignation may not be suffered long, however.  History has shown that the #1 opportunity-maker for both prospects and hangers-on are injuries to those filling out the major league roster, and many have already occurred.

The trials of NYY have been well-documented, with A-Rod, Jeter, Teixeira, Granderson and Hughes all opening the season on the DL.  Several other teams also have been hit with injuries that could impact their season’s performance.   STL starts without Carpenter, Furcal, Freese, Motte and perhaps Carlos Beltran.   LAD starts without Crawford and Hanley Ramirez.  ATL starts without Mike McCann and Johnny Venters.  ARI lost Adam Eaton for at least six weeks.  This latest list goes on and on, and can be viewed here:  Most of these injuries can be explained by the horrendous wear and tear an athlete’s body suffers during the time it takes him to make it to the highest level of play.  Some, however, are caused by less noble circumstances.  See Jayson Stark’s report here:

Whatever the cause, injuries are a part of the game and in making our 2013 predictions we must take into consideration those we know about – new and old.  Recall that the injury with the most impact on the 2012 season occurred in 2011!  Stephen Strasburg’s limited recovery from Tommy John surgery kept him from pitching in the 2012 post-season and likely kept the Nationals out of the World Series.

Like the uncertainty of a MLB disabled list, there are many questions to be answered among our illustrious group:  After rebounding from near the bottom of the 2011 standings to win the 2012 title,  can Steve Jacobs stand the pressure to repeat?  Will Marc Whyte break through for his first B.A.B.E.S. title after 2 second place finishes?  Will Tony Liccione regain his top form?  Will Tom Marchiando’s daughter’s softball schedule even permit him time to submit an entry?  Can Bill Cupelo overcome the psychological trauma that is MLB in the Northeast and think clearly enough to pick winners?  Will Robert Carington and Tim Turek decide not to pick the Cubs and then watch them break the 105 year curse?  Will Carl Rose bleed Dodger Blue until he finds himself in the ER, not the post-season?  Will I finish first in my own family, let alone among all the B.A.B.E.S?

Should be a fun year.  Best of luck to all of you in this year’s race for the Rocky.

And, finally, speaking of a year and the Rocky (and the ultimate part of the game), I am reminded that March 18 was the first anniversary of Rocky Walker’s death.  I miss him.