Brandon Inge vs. pillows: the truth of the matter


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*).

15 responses to “Brandon Inge vs. pillows: the truth of the matter

  1. Joel in Seattle

    Wow… you weren’t kidding about those comments.

  2. Yeah, I started reading some of them and then had to stop for the sake of my own sanity. I must remember that raging against idiots on the internet achieves little… I must remember that raging against idiots on the internet achieves little…

  3. Yeah, people are obnoxious. Every other freakin’ culture on Earth sleeps with their damned kids; we’re the only ones that are uptight about it. I mean, I wouldn’t do it, since I a) don’t have any kids and b) am selfish and treasure every inch of bed real estate.
    But Brandon’s in good company. As every schoolboy knows, even Sweet Lou himself had an embarrassing injury.

  4. WOW nice link Matt

  5. I love that Lou Whitaker was even able to do ‘the splits’. In fact I’m not 100% sure what that is, but it sounds like something that a good number of ballplayers today would not be able to do.
    (Imagine Todd Jones…)

  6. Brandon Inge and his injury was even a topic on a national radio talk show. It had more to do with the fact that he allows his 3 yr old to sleep with he and his wife more than the fact that his injury was caused by something fluffy.
    I am not an advocate of lying, but I’m thinking Brandon may want to make something up next time he aggravates his injury in such a way. A lot like Zumaya telling us he injured his shoulder trying to help his parents escape a raging fire. (I’m still not buyin’ it)

  7. Detroit 3B Brandon Inge to DL with torn oblique muscle, aggravated while rescuing his family from the remains of a destroyed sinking battleship.
    Hell of a damned injury. Wish it was mine.

  8. I don’t get the consternation over the kid sleeping with them. Maybe he has nightmares, or some kind of separation anxiety because his dad is away so much. Is 3 really that old? The kid’s not even in elementary school….

  9. yea, I’m pretty sure I ran into my parents bed when I had nightmares as a kid. NOT A BIG DEAL. Sheesh, the media sucks a lot of the time.

  10. Tiff..from what I understand, it wasn’t a one night nightmare/thunderstorm thing. It’s their families’ thing to share a bed. Maybe it’s because Inge is away so often? To each their own.
    I had to update…The Brandon/pillow story is now one of the lead stories on AOL’s main page.
    Told ya Brandon may want to fib next time.

  11. Milton Signed-Rank

    Children being banished from the parental bed is not a medical/physical/psychological necessity. In fact, it is a fairly recent phenomenon and is practiced in industrialized nations who embrace individualism over collectivism……usually……I think. It really means that Inge is all about the team, you know, he puts the benefits of many over the few, and this is exemplified through his household sleeping arrangements.

  12. I have heard some ugly rumors. It wasn’t a kid in bed but Mini-me. And Inge was trying to smother him with the pillow and Mini-me used all his Centreville, MI-learned wrasslin’ tricks to get free. Inge is lucky to get away with an oblique injury.

  13. ivantopumpyouup

    I didn’t read the comments, but my friend gave me a summary of one. I’m glad I didn’t, or I probably would have thrown my computer out the window.

  14. See, I’m glad he didn’t lie (assuming THIS story wasn’t a lie, and I don’t really think it is). The problem here is not that he lets his 3 year old in the bed with him; the problem is that so many people got crazily outraged by it. Who’s the weirdo there, y’know?
    And, as Milton said, obviously it’s just another sign of his ability to work well with a team. AND STUFF.
    Bob, so you reckon this is all a coverup? Like how Zoom was obviously really injured on a dirtbike? Such mystery on this team! So many layers! A veritable onion of a ball club!
    ivan, you really, REALLY didn’t want to. I had to tell myself to just step away, because it was not worth the increase in blood pressure to read any more of it.

  15. […] lower bit of your ribcage. This Gray??s anatomy illustration the original book, not the lame tv …http://mvn.com/mlb-tigers/2008/06/27/brandon-inge-vs-pillows-the-truth-of-the-matter/Ways to help prevent urinary tract infections The Star-LedgerEvery month or two, I get a urinary […]

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