There is no shame in the fact that David Wells wept as he crumpled to the ground after Travis Lee's liner struck him right at the tenderest point of his bad knee. He wept in pain--even on a healthy knee, that has got to hurt like a rat bastard--and he wept in frustration, as the drilling cut short what had been a solid outing after a long stint in injury rehab.
A word about David Wells--and I've been wanting to say this for a long while. Can we get over the fact that he's fat? He's been in the majors for how many decades, and yet still, even in Pawtucket, every two-bit radio color announcer thinks he's a stand-up commedian with the fat jokes.
I'm not kidding. It really bothers me. David Wells is fat. He has always been fat. David Wells has probably been a fat person since he was a kid, if not since the day he was born. David Wells has also been a gifted pitcher throughout his career, and always done it with a paunch. Is it so inconceivable in our fat-phobic culture that someone can be fat and be fit? I'm not trying to say that this is true for the majority of people who are overweight--but there are cases, and David Wells is an example, where a guy with a potbelly is simply built that way. With the amount of exertion Wells gets as a major league ballplayer, and the number of years he's shown durability in his position, all the judgemental comments about his lack of conditioning are just a knee-jerk reaction to the way he looks, and frankly, I'm sick of it.
Maybe I'm being naive--I have my own history around fat issues that makes me sensitive to the comments; after all, I don't get all incensed like this when we pick on Randy Johnson for being ugly as hell. But every tired one-liner that I hear about Wells' body type just makes me feel more and more like hollering at the person who utters it.
Anyway, what happened looked like a career-ending impact, but later reports said there was "no structural damage". It's still a setback to his rehab, but I guess it's still wait and see for ole David. I don't like that "wait" part--the longer we hold our breath waiting to see how Wells will pan out, the longer we go without getting another starter, which it's becoming apparent we need. I have heard rumors that Dontrelle Willis may be on the trading block; there would be some value to acquiring him not just as an addition to our team but because New York has to be after him. When I brought up this possibility to my father, he asked me if I'd be willing to see the Sox trade both Matt Clement and Trot Nixon for him, and I hesitantly said I would.
Anyway, speaking of more people I'd like to holler at...
Keith Foulke. Dear Jesus, what the hell, and SIGH. I've got half a mind to write him a letter--dead serious. Because what was with that confrontation with the person sitting behind the dugout Friday night? As Joanna at Empyreal Environs wrote,
And a note to Foulke: Noli nothis permittere te terere [Don’t let the bastards get you down]. It was quite stupid to let a nobody get to you. You’re a former world champion and should act as such.
Seeing that whole thing, complete with Foulke losing his shit at the dugout wall shortly afterward, just made me want to cry. It was pathetic and stupid and embarrassing for both parties (although not as embarrassing, granted, as it could have been had Foulke not ducked back into the dugout and gone after the guy), and, because of my binkyism, for me.
I guess it's another thing I should accept--that baseball is a world of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately. But sometimes it's tough for me to watch Schilling (much though I love him) get the everlasting glory for 2004 when Foulke was the chief reason we won; it's tough to watch someone at our own ballpark hurl insults at him just two years removed from his '04 heroics, especially when--and I get pretty friggin' tired of pointing this out--it may have been the exertions of the '04 postseason that put Foulke on the outs ever since. It sticks in my craw that last year when Schilling was shitting the bed, everyone was ready to give him a pass because of the bloody sock and what he'd done for us. Why is Foulke not owed the same gratitude? What if he left his career out on the field at Busch Stadium on Oct. 27, 2004? Why am I the only person I've heard raise that question? Everyone likes to joke around with me about Foulke being my binky, ha-ha, but seriously: why?
Especially since what I notice, his media outbursts and teapot tempests aside, is that he's thus far been too big a person to mention any of this himself, and seems to firmly understand that Jonathan deserves his position, whether it secretly enrages him or not. Much has been made of what he's come out and said--but I also seem to be the only person in the Universe to notice what he has refrained from saying, that other, lesser players have felt at liberty to come out with in similar situations.
Call me sappy (and I'm sure you will), but under all that bluster about Johnny from Burger King, I think, is a hurting person. Foulke, to me, is showing the darkness of the game, its cruelty, our own cruelty, with what he's going through right now. I get frustrated with him, too--but I almost can't bear to watch him suffer the way he has.
I guess some people don't feel that compassion, though. They just see a chance to kick somebody when he's down, to get their own little power trip by getting a rise out of a professional ballplayer who ordinarily wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire. Witness the "fan" behind the dugout Friday night.
I hope he feels like a really big man.