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Saturday, May 26, 2012

NYT: Bob Ojeda: My Left Arm

Bob Ojeda’s life with pain (insert Chris Carlin joke here)...a must read, if ever.

My dad and I decided to have a catch in December. Day 1 was fine. Day 6 was O.K. I knew the 1987 season was in danger.

Come January, I was throwing off a mound, and my elbow was occasionally locking. I needed to get to camp in Florida. I needed some pills. Spring, as we said, went O.K. The meds were working. Doc Gooden went into rehab right before we broke camp. Davey gave me the opening-day start. Said I’d earned it. I tossed a gem, and we won. By then, I was on oral steroids. I could get through this — I always had — but I needed to self-adjust my pills. I took it upon myself to double the dose.

I looked as bad as my pitches. Weight loss from the meds and consistent pain were taking their toll. Steve was telling me to throw in the towel. I couldn’t. Wasn’t wired that way.

May 9 was a day game in Atlanta. I headed to the bullpen with Mel Stottlemyre, our pitching coach, and started to get loose. It wasn’t happening. The more I warmed up, the worse it got. My elbow had had enough. I was bouncing balls to the catcher.

Repoz Posted: May 26, 2012 at 01:02 PM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, injury

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   1. Esoteric Posted: May 26, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4140754)
THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST-READ.

   2. frannyzoo Posted: May 26, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4140760)
Don't even read the comments here...just read the piece.
   3. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: May 26, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4140766)
Just fantastic.
   4. Russ Posted: May 26, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4140777)
I don't know what awards can be given for such articles, but this should receive one. Just amazing.

RTFA!!!!

   5. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: May 26, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4140778)
When I get some free time (yeah, right,) I've thought about writing a piece called "Winning Isn’t Everything." The 1986 Mets may have been a great team, but look what happened to them. Doc and Straw had drug and legal problems. Wally Backman had some troubles. Davey Johnson lost his daughter. Dykstra is in jail and Gary Carter died young. But the saddest story may be Bobby Ojeda. He was the sole survivor of the boat crash that killed Olin and Crews. That’s gotta suck. IIRC, like many folks, he probably felt guilty about surviving.
   6. Chimpo is an a-hole, but he's not 100% a dick Posted: May 26, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4140782)
That really was an extraordinary thing to read.
   7. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: May 26, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4140785)
the saddest story may be Bobby Ojeda. He was the sole survivor of the boat crash that killed Olin and Crews. That’s gotta suck. IIRC, like many folks, he probably felt guilty about surviving.

Yes. At one point, Ojeda disappeared and even his family didn't know where he was or how to locate him. When he reemerged, he said he'd been in Amsterdam, and that he spent a lot of the time looking out his hotel room window considering whether or not to jump.
   8. Millon deFloss Posted: May 26, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4140794)
Fantastic piece.
   9. Magnum RA Posted: May 26, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4140795)
That was a great read.
   10. Willie Horton Hears The Who (Dan Lee) Posted: May 26, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4140796)
IIRC, during his comeback with the 1993 Indians there was a lot of public concern about his mental and emotional state, even as he returned to the mound. That's when you know it's bad - you almost never hear people in and around ballclubs speak about their teammates' mental health issues. Even less so 20 years ago.
   11. JJ1986 Posted: May 26, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4140797)
When I get some free time (yeah, right,) I've thought about writing a piece called "Winning Isn’t Everything." The 1986 Mets may have been a great team, but look what happened to them. Doc and Straw had drug and legal problems. Wally Backman had some troubles. Davey Johnson lost his daughter. Dykstra is in jail and Gary Carter died young. But the saddest story may be Bobby Ojeda. He was the sole survivor of the boat crash that killed Olin and Crews. That’s gotta suck. IIRC, like many folks, he probably felt guilty about surviving.


Worst of all, Roger McDowell became a Brave.
   12. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: May 26, 2012 at 04:16 PM (#4140809)
Awesome.

Kudos to Ojeda for his honesty. It's firsthand stuff like this that helps us understand a player's era.
   13. shoewizard Posted: May 26, 2012 at 06:32 PM (#4140875)
Tremendous. Not much else to say. If you haven't read all 6 pages of the article yet, what the hell are you doing reading my comment ?

I will throw one stat thing out there....His comment about the wins stopped coming in 1988 struck me. That season always stood out to me as incredibly unlucky. It was really his best regular season. He lead the league in SO/BB ratio, just 33 walks and 133 K's,and gave up only 6 HR in 190 innings. He also had a career low H/9. Those were career bests for all of K/9, HR/9, SO/BB and H/9. He also tossed 5 shutouts.

But 17 times the team scored 2 runs or less for him and his run support was 3.04. So he finished 10-13 before slicing off his finger.
   14. shoewizard Posted: May 26, 2012 at 06:37 PM (#4140878)
By the way, look at the picture in the article, check out how long he is hiding the ball.
   15. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 26, 2012 at 08:12 PM (#4140902)
If you've gotten this far in the comments you're dumber than Tommy Lasorda, read this piece.
   16. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: May 27, 2012 at 04:39 AM (#4141124)
I read the excerpt and then I read the thread. I just got thrown out of another bar, so I'm bookmarking this for when I can read it right.
   17. shoewizard Posted: May 27, 2012 at 05:31 AM (#4141126)
channeling the 86 Mets I see
   18. bjhanke Posted: May 27, 2012 at 05:34 AM (#4141127)
Yeah. Read the essay. It's 6 pages, but absolutely, completely worth it. - Brock Hanke
   19. JE (Jason) Posted: May 27, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4141149)
I just got thrown out of another bar, so I'm bookmarking this for when I can read it right.

Don't end up in a roadside ditch.
   20. Tippecanoe Posted: May 27, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4141157)
After reading this, I'm left marveling at how little faith there must have been in any treatment options. The only thing he ever considered were palliatives, including the beer and cigarettes he chose instead of a simple x-ray. Ojeda in particular seems to have held on to this kind of machismo mindset, and it seems to have been an important part of his mental makeup as an athlete.

My guess is that this is mostly a thing of the past.
   21. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 27, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4141224)
There's a story in there about Ojeda's rookie year, when the Red Sox sent him back to Pawtucket. He found out when the traveling secretary called him and told him when his flight out was. The manager hadn't said a word about it to Ojeda, which disgusts the traveling secretary.

Ojeda doesn't name him, but that manager was Don Zimmer.
   22. Jim Wisinski Posted: May 27, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4141229)
Maybe Zimmer was busy preparing for hibernation
   23. Ephus Posted: May 27, 2012 at 03:11 PM (#4141247)
Spectacular article, without flaming any of his fellow players.

   24. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: May 27, 2012 at 10:44 PM (#4141491)
Tremendous, tremendous piece. I seem to recall that the SI piece about the boating accident he was involved in was an amazing piece of journalism as well (obviously not written by him).
   25. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 28, 2012 at 07:14 AM (#4141562)
I seem to recall that the SI piece about the boating accident he was involved in was an amazing piece of journalism as well (obviously not written by him).

Chilling stuff.

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