Everyone has their guilty pleasures. We all do. Mine just happen to be lathering cooking butter all over my chest, watching Jaws 3 over and over again, and Washington Nationals baseball. I can't help it. It is just me. I also listen to Savage Garden once a year. However, one of my favorite guilty pleasures requires you to truly get your nerd hat on.
I am a huge fan of David Lynch's sci-fi "holy chicken [BLEEP], what the hell was that" Dune. If you know nothing about Dune, it is an epic written by Frank Herbert that truly rivals Lord of the Rings in scope. In Lynch's cinematic version, Sting wears a blue bat on his crotch. The film was an absolute disaster, but it is visually so stunning and packed with stars (or future stars) that you almost don't notice that the story makes almost no sense. To get back on point (and there is one, I promise) there is a scene where Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam tells Kyle MacLachlan to put his hand into "The Box" for a "crisis/humanity test" or suffer the rather painful death of being injected with the poisonous gom jabbar. MacLachlan asks what is in the box. The Reverend Mother says only one word: pain.
Indeed. MacLachlan's hand dissolves in the box like liquid bacon and after a few orgasmic S&M moments he is allowed to take his hand out of the box and it is fine. No crispy bacon hand fritters. It was all mental, all inside him, all in his mind. The Nationals are going through their own pain and crisis test currently with a rash of injuries that seem to baffle the mind. Unfortunately, when the Nats take their hand out of the box, I am not sure that either their hand or their stake in the NL East will be okay.
Currently on the disabled list for the Nationals are Mark DeRosa, Cole Kimball, Chris Marrero, Sandy Leon, Jayson Werth, Wilson Ramos, Drew Storen, Michael Morse, Ching-Ming Wang and Brad Lidge. Minus Leon, those are all starters. All those guys should have been on the Opening Day roster. We might also want to mention that All-Star third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, a revived Adam LaRoche and Roger Bernadina have missed some games due to injury this season as well. That the Nats have maintained a strong position in the division when missing more than half their starters and key pitchers is a testament to the heart and guts the 2012 Nationals have. In years past, so many injuries would have been a gom jabbar to the team. They would have keeled over defeated. Not this season. These injuries have the players stepping up and pushing hard, but how long that can last without exhausting the hell out of themselves has yet to be seen. A tough part of the schedule is coming up and they are going to need many hands on deck to get through it.
It is absolutely baffling. All the injuries would be tragically hilarious if the team wasn't sitting in position at the top of the division. Morse and Storen aren't able to make it out of Spring Training, Werth breaks his wrist trying to "Take Back The Park" from his old fans and friends from Philly and a few nights later, Ramos' ACL decides it has had enough. Astounding bad luck. However, these aren't the most memorable of Nationals injuries. Over the years they've compiled some tragic, memorable and sometimes downright weird ones. Here are a couple of my favorites:
- Luis Ayala Got Shot--While Fishing: In 2007 former Nats set-up man Luis Ayala had to miss some time due to being shot with buckshot while fishing with friends.
- Jim Bowden Once Prayed To Jesus Colome's Buttocks: In 2007 reliever Jesus Colome was strangely not available during one point of the season and it was later revealed he was having surgery to remove a "abscess from his buttocks." The jokes write themselves. The injury also had former GM Jim Bowden saying, "I pray for his buttocks and his family."
- The National Who Was Never A National: Do you remember starter Brian Lawrence? Probably not because he never really suited up for the Nationals. Lawrence came to D.C. in 2006 in a trade for Vinny Castilla (whose mullet was outlasting his knees). On the second day of Spring Training it was found Lawrence had a torn labrum and a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. He sat on the DL all of 2006 and the Nats did not pick up his option in 2007.
- The Collision That Ended Austin Kearn's Time In DC: Let me just say I love former Nats first baseman Nick Johnson. I also had no problem with ex-Nats outfielder Austin Kearns, but fans were tiring of Kearns in D.C. with his low batting average and constant injuries himself. So when he collided with Nick Johnson and broke Johnson's leg during a game in 2006, the writing was on the wall for Kearns. It wasn't the definitive reason Kearns didn't work out in Washington, but who can forget that image of Johnson withering on the ground in pain and Kearns looking over him like some sad puppy dog?
Who can also forget the injury adventures of John Patterson and Shawn Hill? Dmitri Young ripping off Jim "Leatherpants" Bowden is pretty memorable as well, and who didn't think Stephen Strasburg's injury in 2010 was probably one of the darkest events in D.C. Sports History? I'm sure there are others and I'd like to hear about them and your (non) favorites in the comments.
The Nationals have issues with injuries, but this season's injuries aren't the worst they've ever had-- or the weirdest.