photo by Samara Pearlstein
Brandon Inge is on the DL. All Tigers fans know this. In fact we already covered it right here in this very blog, but it has become, against all reason, a Big Story, and I’m afraid that people who are NOT Tigers fans (or who are more casual Tigers fans) do not understand what actually happened here. Yes, Brandon Inge is a dorktastic dork, but he’s OUR dorktastic dork, catdammit, and people should get it right.
I’m mostly reacting to the fact that this is the headline story on Yahoo right now. The story is right here (don’t read the comments unless you want to lose faith in all of humanity. seriously), but at the moment it’s the very first thing you see when you visit the Yahoo homepage. This will probably (hopefully) change by later tonight, but the fact is that lots and lots of people who wouldn’t know Brandon Inge from Justin Verlander right now are reading this story. On the off-chance that people come looking to Tigers blogs for more on the story, well, here ya go.
THIS WAS A PRE-EXISTING INJURY. This seems to be the biggest thing that people are NOT GETTING. Inge’s oblique has been bothering him since early June, if not before. It’s not like he gave himself an injury moving a pillow. HE AGGRAVATED AN EXISTING INJURY. He has been in pain for almost a month, he has been playing THROUGH pain as much as possible.
Because this was a pre-existing muscle strain, it had the potential to be aggravated by any small thing. The oblique muscle, in case you are not familiar with it, is in your side, below your chest muscle, alongside your abdominal muscles. It’s connected to the lower bit of your ribcage. This Gray’s Anatomy illustration (the original book, not the lame tv show) gives you a good idea of its location. Seeing that, you can surely see how both hunching motions (contracting the abdomen) and twisting motions might strain an already-strained muscle even more.
So WHY did Inge badly aggravate his oblique while shoving a pillow, and not on the baseball field? For one thing, he HADN’T BEEN ON A BASEBALL FIELD for several days; he was put on the DL on June 25 (presumably the aggravation occurred overnight), and his last previous at-bat had been on June 22. Why? BECAUSE HIS OBLIQUE WAS HURTING. We’ll return to that in a second. The point is that he didn’t have an opportunity to aggravate the injury on the field. But why the pillow?
He’s in bed with his wife and kid– presumably already a mildly cramped situation. He goes to shove the kid’s pillow down into a better position. He probably had to contort himself a little to try to do that, maybe trying to keep from waking anyone else up too. The point is that he did not need a forceful injury to send his oblique over the edge; it was already strained! It only needed a little tweak to ratchet up the pain to the point where he could no longer even pretend to play through it. An awkward twisting motion of his torso and arms, that’s all it takes, see? Suddenly it is not so weird that he aggravated his injury this way.
The reader who is not as psychotically obsessed with the Tigers as most of us may be wondering why, if Inge was hurting so much that a little tweak was all that it took to make him completely useless, he wasn’t ALREADY on the DL, like, a month ago. And this is a valid question, because the truth of the matter is that he probably should have been. Muscle strains are not going to heal if you keep doing the same things that caused them, and there’s a whole lot of abdominal contraction and torso rotation going on when you swing a bat or play catcher.
Inge was not on the DL because he was the backup catcher, and THE TIGERS DO NOT HAVE ANOTHER BACKUP CATCHER, because the guy who was SUPPOSED to be the backup catcher is having his second Tommy John surgery in as many seasons at the moment and might never play baseball again. The guy playing backup catcher now with Inge on the DL, Dane Sardinha, is someone the Tigers wanted to avoid calling up if at all possible, because as much as people may complain about Inge’s bat, at least he HAS one. Sardinha may as well go to the plate holding a handful of cooked spaghetti. Inge was out there because the team desperately needed him to be, not because he was healthy enough to actually be on the active roster in a sane situation.
Are we clear? Yes, no, maybe? Feel free to ask questions if you’ve got any and I’ll do what I can to answer them. As I said elsewhere, this is still a stupid situation, yes, pillows, ha ha, lulz, etc., but it’s stupid in a ‘holy cats why does this happen to us?’ kind of way, not stupid in a ‘holy cats our players need to be slapped in the face with a dead codfish for being morons’ kind of way (*cough*JordanTata*cough*).