Viva la resistance! Viva la Guitar Hero!

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Is THE MAN trying to hold you down? Trying to suppress your creativity and crush your spirit? Is THE MAN, like, totally harshing your vibe? Then you must REBEL, my friends, you must FIGHT BACK and when THE MAN says to stop playing Guitar Hero because your arm is potentially worth many millions of dollars to you and your employer and Guitar Hero might risk it, YOU KEEPING PLAYING THAT GUITAR HERO, MAN, STRUM THAT GUITAR OF YOUTHFUL REBELLION!! WOOO!!!! RAWK ON!!

That’s right. The most ridiculous story of the postseason has made a triumphant return, because, according to the Detroit News, Zumaya won’t stop playing the game (and tons of RESPECT to Tom Gage for his gratuitous use of all caps early in the article. If this was a blog that regularly used the Royal We, we would totally approve. Maybe we’re rubbing off on the respectable public).

For those of you who missed the first part of this saga, Zumaya missed a large chunk of the postseason with weird, undiagnosable forearm soreness that probably got called tendonitis, because every vaguely undiagnosable injury of that sort gets called tendonitis. The trainers weren’t sure what had caused it, because it was unlike pitching injuries that they were used to seeing (side note, why does this always seem to happen to us? Like, Magglio’s bizarre afflictions? Is there something in the water?). One million self gratification jokes later, it came out that Zumaya had been playing this video game, Guitar Hero, and it could have been playing havoc with his arm.

Now, I know next to nothing about this game (my knowledge of video games begins with Gex: Enter the Gecko and ends at the old school Crash Bandicoot), but I know that it involves a guitar instead of a controller, and that the repetitive strumming (?) and presumed enthusiasm with which Zoom strummed could do bad things to his tendons. Remember, kids, Carlos Zambrano nearly blew up his tendony bits frantically IMing back and forth with his brother. Let that be a lesson to us all.

Zoom is currently saying that his arm problems were probably caused by how hard he grips the baseball, not Guitar Hero, and HE’LL BE CAST INTO THE PITS OF SULFUROUS HELL BEFORE HE GIVES UP THAT GAME!! I can understand gripping something too hard causing pain; I’m an illustrator, and on days when I’ve had a little too much caffeine I might find my fingers all crampy from crushing my pen. And Zoom certainly throws hard enough to make it easy for us to believe that he chokes the snot out of the seams when he pitches. BUT.

The issue is no longer whether or not Guitar Hero is indeed the sole source of his arm trouble. The point is that it MIGHT contribute, that the trainers have some inkling that it can do so, that they have TOLD Zoom about this, so he is AWARE of the issue, and he STILL INSISTS ON PLAYING THE BLOODY GAME.


Guitar Hero is not worth it! Guitar Hero does not love you like you love it, Zoom! It is an UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP. Guitar Hero is not worthy of your love!

And if you fancy yourself a revolutionary, Zoom, there are better ways to go about it than this.


(Oh, and nobody give me that “he’s a young guy thus this ridiculous behavior is understandable and excuseable” guff. I am younger than Zumaya, and this is absurdity of a high degree to me. Ugh. Hopefully he’ll get over himself soon and start playing racing games or something like the rest of Major League Baseball.)

12 responses to “Viva la resistance! Viva la Guitar Hero!

  1. that graphic is killing me. *wipes away a tear* god, what if he gets a Wii? he could end up in the emergency room!

  2. His expression was perfect for the ‘shop. And, god, let’s hope you just jinxed any chance of that happening by mentioning it, because with a Wii he would probably find a way to take out a couple other pitchers while he was at it.

  3. […] You’ve probably all heard that Joel Zumaya just won’t give up Guitar Hero.If you want my feelings on this, Roar of the Tigers has summed them up perfectly. The issue is no longer whether or not Guitar Hero is indeed the sole source of his arm trouble. The point is that it MIGHT contribute, that the trainers have some inkling that it can do so, that they have TOLD Zoom about this, so he is AWARE of the issue, and he STILL INSISTS ON PLAYING THE BLOODY GAME. […]

  4. Try the game out someday. You’d be surprised. Both in its entertainment value and its low impact on one’s wrist. Unless Zumaya plays in some crazy way, his wrist would be stationary for the most part. And if pseudo-rocking causes serious baseball injuries, shouldn’t the Giants ban Zito from playing guitar?
    Nice use of the caps lock by the way.

  5. I did think of that… there are A LOT of guitar-wielding rocker wannabes in baseball (Zito and Peavy were the first to come to mind, and if I recall correctly Zito actually taught most of the Oakland pitching staff how to play), and they don’t seem to have this problem. The issue was probably not the motion itself so much as the repetitive nature of it, which you get in a game but not in regular guitar playing, and in the fact that Zoom was playing the damn thing a whoooooole lot. And of course we’ve no idea how Zoom’s form is; he could be playing effectively but with terrible form that does something retarded to his forearm/wrist.
    I mean hey, I instant message my friends, sometimes for long stretches of time, and it doesn’t hurt my wrist at all. But Zambrano was doing it often/spastically enough that it caused physical problems for him.
    I reckon Zoom’s cut back quite a bit since, and given his pitching motion it’s probably NOT the sole cause of his sore arm, but… he missed time. Significant, important-to-the-team-and-everyone time. I wouldn’t want him taking a single miniscule risk more than he has to.
    Caps lock for the win.

  6. If he likes the game, he should play it, but just tone it down a little. Just read ivanttopumpyouup’s comment…Let’s all hope he doen’t have the good sense to get a Wii…*shudders at the thought*

  7. […] Speaking of blogging, Gage says Joel Zumaya will stop talking about Guitar Hero. Good thing because Samara nearly had a heart attack. (Hat tip Bilfer). Note to News: still can’t link directly to a post! […]

  8. Zito and Peavy were the first to come to mind
    Before Bronson??!! ‘Tis a sad, sad day…

  9. Lauren, yeah, normally I would agree… but honestly, when the trainers told him to knock it off, I would have hoped he would knock it off, regardless of how much it’s materially affecting his game.
    OMG, Iain, you’re right. Why/how did I think of Jake Peavy before Bronson?? I am actually kind of ashamed.

  10. well everyone it goes like this: joel zumaya is his own man with his own… if he wants to play a video game that may or may not lead to an injury, let him play. lets face it, if he wants to do something who is going to tell him anything different? hopefully he has some common sense and will regard his career appropiately.

  11. Doug, yes, Zoom is his own man with his own brain. The problem is that he is his own man with his own brain, all of which happens to be under signed contract to the Detroit Tigers at the moment. So it’s not as simple as personal responsibility. He is in a very real sense also mucking around with the “property” of the team. I know people don’t like to think of athletes in that way, but with the contracts they sign, that’s kind of (with obvious differences) what it amounts to.

  12. […] Flexor tendons curl the fingers in towards the palm (flex them), and run down from the fingers into the inside, or underside, of the forearm. Extensor tendons straighten the fingers (extend them) and run over the tops of the fingers and down the ‘top’ side of the forearm. The forearm strain that Zoom experienced in his Guitar Hero days was in the bundle of muscles in the forearm, the very same muscles that control the action of the tendons in the fingers. […]

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