It’s supposed to be the best day of your life. A day to rejoice and celebrate that you’ve made it. After pouring blood, sweat, and tears into the lifelong dream of becoming a Major League Baseball player, all that, in a flash, is gone. That was the harsh reality for Yankees’ outfielder, Dustin Fowler.
On Thursday, Fowler, just 22 years old, made his major league debut in Chicago against the White Sox (the same day he was called up). He was slotted 6th in the batting order and started in right field. In the bottom of the 1st inning, Jose Abreu popped-up a ball, down right-field, in foul territory. Fowler gave chase but ran out of room. He crashed into the half-wall, badly injuring his right knee. After two brief attempts to walk it off, Fowler’s leg gave out as he crumbled to the floor. Video of the injury can be seen here. Fowler had to be carted off the field. His 1st Major League at-bat will have to wait.
Fowler ruptured his patellar tendon and was rushed to Rush University Medical Center for surgery. His recovery and rehabilitation will last at least 6 months. Fowler wasn’t the 1st Yankees’ prospect to hit the Disabled List (DL) on Thursday (Tyler Austin – hamstring). The Yankees are making a run at the New York Mets for most injured team in New York. Here are the Yankees and Mets players currently on the Disabled List:
Matt Holliday Noah Syndergaard
Aaron Hicks Jeurys Familia
Starlin Castro Matt Harvey
Greg Bird Neil Walker
CC Sabathia Zack Wheeler
Tyler Austin David Wright
Dustin Fowler Robert Gsellman
Adam Warren Josh Smoker
Insane!! Who can compete with so many injuries?? Ahem..apparently the Yankees can (sorry Mets fans).
Injuries are not limited to the Tri-State area, as Major League Baseball seems to have a pandemic on it’s hands. There are 25 active players on each of baseball’s 30 teams (750 players available on a daily basis). 437 players have spent time on the DL at some point this season. Talk about insane!! That’s 58.3%!! And there are currently 164 players on the DL.
At the start of the season, Major League Baseball altered the terms of their DL policy. Now, 7-day, 10-day, and 60-day DL’s exist. The 7-day DL pertains to concussions and other situations, such as paternity leave. The 10-day DL, previously the 15-day DL, is for common injuries and has likely caused the number of DL stints to rise slightly. However, there were 475 DL stints all of last season, compared to 437 so far this season (through 81 games). Such a rapid increase in injuries should be alarming to the ‘suits’ of Major League Baseball. Maybe this is contributing to a decline in ratings. Fans pay to see Mike Trout play, not Eric Young Jr.
The question is, why are players more injury prone now??
Some, like Mets’ commentator Ron Darling, suggest it is today’s training style that contributes to more frequent injuries. Following Robert Gsellman’s injury Ron didn’t hold back, “These trainers, get them in a room with some of the old trainers and people that took care of baseball players and how to keep them healthy. And get them in a room and try to tap into their knowledge on how to train baseball players – not weightlifters, not six-pack wearers – baseball players. They’re doing a disservice to their million-dollar athletes that they’re paying. It’s a joke to watch this happen each and every night.”
To Ron’s point, of course players can get hurt lifting weights, but to suggest that is the main factor for an increase in injuries across Major League Baseball is blasphemous. And it actually contradicts science. An increase in injuries in baseball is not a new problem, it is simply getting worse. Here’s why:
- Steroids and other performance enhancing drugs
Money is the answer to everything, however, in this case it is a DL enabler. If I am still awaiting my ‘huge’ contract, why am I going to play through an injury?? Performance enhancing drugs effect injuries in a multitude of ways. The decrease in drug use no longer allows someone to play through an injury. And while these drugs can provide short-term assistance with performance or recovery, they actually leave your body more prone to injury upon cycling off the drug. And finally, Major League Baseball’s grueling schedule also contributes to injuries. Players have an average of 18 days off throughout an entire season. That’s 3 days off per month. So much for having weekends off….
Why do you think players are getting injured at a faster rate?? Please tell me what you think in the comment section below.