In fact, it’s been a living hell of uncertainty, confusion, depression and downright fear. The Mets’ “Franchise,” author of 311 career victories and the highest vote plurality (98.84%) of any player elected to the Hall of Fame, was back at work at his vineyard in Calistoga, Calif., when I reached him.
“You caught me on a good day,” he said. “In fact a very good day because this is the fifth straight day I’ve felt really good. You have no idea what that means — to feel good, to feel normal, for five straight days.”
I admitted I had no idea. I only knew that Seaver’s multitude of friends in baseball have been worried about him, worried because, in the past year, he had become uncharacteristically distant, and when he did make a rare public appearance or pick up the phone, he was not himself. He missed the Hall of Fame ceremonies last summer for the first time since his own induction, although Hall officials attributed that to recent hip-replacement surgery.
...One of the sharpest and most astute athletes I have ever known was having trouble remembering things, and his thoughts tended to wander and become garbled in transmission.
It was last June, the day after Johan Santana hurled the first no-hitter in Mets history, when Seaver’s friends and fans became alarmed that something was amiss with their hero after he put out a congratulatory statement, saying: “I’ve never met Johan personally, but what I’ve heard about him is he has a big heart and is a huge competitor.”
The only problem with that was Seaver had joined Santana in a half-hour SNY TV special in spring training of 2008 in which they talked at length about pitching strategies.
“I didn’t know what was happening,” Seaver, 68, said this week.
...Seaver’s initial case was extreme — he suffered Bell’s Palsy on the right side of his face, and the doctors told him at the time that it was so severe that after they treated him with antibiotics, he would never have it again. In Seaver’s situation, a less severe case of Bell’s Palsy, doctors felt, might have returned.
“But once it gets into your blood system, it causes real problems,” Seaver said. “I’m taking 24 pills a day now, most of them vitamins, plus one penicillin pill to get my chemical balance back. It’s a cycle that kills off all the spirochetes that junk up your system. It’s been a slow process in which I’ll still feel like I have a bad case of the flu for days, but these past couple of weeks they’ve been less and less. I haven’t had a glass of wine or a beer in eight months and I don’t miss it.”
Posted: March 15, 2013 at 04:28 AM | 6 comment(s)
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