Sunday, July 20, 2008

Eat Right, Stay in Shape, Live Longer, Be Happy

My job basically requires that I sit at a desk, talk on the phone, and write memos and stuff. But even I try to eat right, avoid fried food, go to the gym 3-4 times a week, etc. I'm no gym rat, but I'd like to not die of a heart attack at 55 years old. So how is it that professional 'athletes' wouldn't be able to do at least that much?

This morning we get this in an article in the Washington Post about John Lannan:

"Well," he said after this one, "normally I don't eat anything heavy. But today before I pitched I had a Reuben. I saw it there, it just looked so good. So I went heavy today. And I always have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, like, two hours before I pitch. And I sip a Red Bull just before I go out there, just to get the taste in my mouth. Just two sips."

Look, I don't want to sound like a nanny, but no professional athlete should come within within 100 feet of a reuben sandwich. Not in the off season, and certainly not just before a game. That's corned beef smothered in sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing, and melted Swiss. You know how much fat there has to be in a reuben sandwich? And Red Bull? OK fine, he said just two sips, but Red Bull? Is a beverage loaded with massive amounts of caffeine and sugar the right substance to put in your body before a game? Does Redding pound the Bull too? Is that why he can't go past 5 innings? Is he crashing out there?

Then, we get a blog post from Chico Harlan titled, with priceless understatement, "Young must improve fitness." Harlan quotes Bowden:
"Well, it's a two-pronged approach. The first part is he's got get his diabetes under control, and you've got to get the blood-sugar levels right. The second thing is, we have to get him into first-class physical shape, the same shape he was in last year when he was comeback player of the year. That's the second part. He'll go to Florida to do that. So get the diabetes under control. Then get him into first-class physical shape so he can play baseball at the level he played last year. We'll keep him in Florida until he's able to do that. So when we bring him back and reinstate him, the diabetes will hopefully be under control and his physical shape will be as it was last year and he'll be swinging the bat and mashing like last year."
Where to start? First, for the millionth time, I'll say, "I told you so--what were you thinking giving two years and $10 million to Meat?" Second, this is the guy we consider a top-notch clubhouse leader? He's so irresponsible he can't even stay in shape?

But really this isn't about Young--he's just the easiest target. The issue is, why can't major league baseball teams enforce a basic standard for fitness and diet? It's not just the Nationals. How much of an advantage would we have if we just required guys to eat right and stay in shape? How many injuries would be prevented? With hundreds of millions in play, why is this even an issue?

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