BRONX, NY – Lots of elements go into a winning season in sports. You’ve got outstanding singular players, team chemistry, great defense, potent offense, terrific coaching, winning streaks, timing, luck, and, yes, bad sh!t happening to other teams. It’s that last one that can often be the ultimate difference-maker. You can have the best team in the world, but if your guys aren’t healthy, then you are absolutely screwed. 2018 is already shaping up as one of those years when being best on paper really doesn’t mean a damn. Here’s just a sampling of the current- and potentially snakebit.
Golden State Warriors. The defending NBA champs are an absolute Urgent Care facility right now. Steph Curry is out indefinitely with a sprained MCL, Klay Thompson broke the thumb on his shooting hand (never good), Kevin Durant has a rib fracture, and poor Draymond Green (see Chapelle clip below) hasn’t been able to kick anyone in the nut-sack lately due to a variety of ailments. Aside from Andre Iguodala, the Warriors are fielding a playground pick-up team right now. They’ve won two of the last three titles, so no complaining allowed. Doesn’t look like their year.
Greg Bird. As Big Ben Whitney mentioned yesterday, Yankees first baseman Greg Bird will be out 6-8 weeks following surgery to remove bone spurs from his ankle or, as Short Matt would call it, “a random Thursday.” The Yanks might as well flush their season down the toilet. Not sure how Sanchez, Judge, Stanton, Gregorious and the rest of the Bombers can produce without the linchpin of their lineup. Who else is gonna attack that short porch in right? Oh yeah, anyone with a pulse. But, seriously, don’t overlook seemingly meaningless injuries to not-so-meaningful players. Which leads us to…
The New York Mets. For years, Red Sox fans had Bucky “F**king” Dent, now New York Mets fans carry the burden of David “Friggin'” Wright. I hate to say it, because I know he didn’t start the chain, but I think as long as the Mets are in the presence of the broken-down specter of David Wright, they will continue to break down in far worse ways than Mike Schmidt at his retirement press conference. Having El Capitan still under contract, just ain’t healthy. He’s 35, fer the love of Bruce Boisclair! Time to call it a career.
Teddy Bridgewater. I really wish the former Vikes starting quarterback all the best as he attempts to jump-start his career after what was, by all accounts, a horrific knee injury. The Jets signed him, and are only really on the hook for $1 million if he doesn’t make the team. But early reports sound like that knee still isn’t sound. As any Civil War vet would tell you, it’s tough to get well with Gang Green.
Madison Bumgarner Bummer. The Giants ace is out for 2 months with a broken pinkie on his pitching hand. Some guy on the Royals named Whit Merrifield (Little Lord Fauntleroy was already taken) took him out with a liner through the box. Justin Turner of the Dodgers suffered a broken wrist after being hit by a pitch in another meaningless exhibition game. Baseball’s Spring Training is all of a sudden more dangerous than NFL preseason. Look for them to be playing Wiffle in a couple of years, which would be awesome.
I could continue to laundry-list all the key players injured in the NBA and NHL (where they play through the pain) but instead will direct you to this great story on Ken Brett (George’s lesser-known, yet incredibly-talented older brother) by Joe Posnanski. It’s a great read with baseball starting tomorrow. Enjoy!
Come back tomorrow for Buddy Diaz who, like every writer on this site, is playing through the pain. And you can find us on Twitter at @Angry_Ward, @MeetTheMatts & @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.