There’s something about baseball that makes you feel a part of it. Sure, I know football is more popular because it’s easy and it’s marketed well. The thing is, football requires no commitment and just becomes a big party you go to every week, if you’re really into it.

Baseball, on the other hand, requires a certain level of personal investment. “We” is a term I often hear–and say–when watching baseball. Greg Rakestraw always gets on me when I do SportsDesk because I start saying “We just need to get rid of Antonio Alfonseca” or “Every time Prior’s on the mound, we win.” I yell at the screen, make calls to friends, and generally agonize over a team that I have little to no effect on.

But I’m convinced I have this personal power over the team. I’m sure that you think you have it at times. I sit on the couch in front of the big screen, WGN glaring green and the little box at the top left taunting me with a Cardinals lead. I yell at umpires, scream at players, plead with Dusty, and in the end, begin watching Black Hawk Down because I just can’t take it anymore. Naturally, my powers kick in after a while, and by not watching I help the Cubs make an amazing comeback–just the kind that makes me wish I’d seen it, but like Schroedinger’s cat, it’s dead when you look. I’m sure fans of every team know that psychic surety. Come on, Baseball–market that passion.

Powered by Bolthouse Farms Orange Juice, mixed with something that goes well with orange juice late at night, on to the injuries…

  • Ryan Klesko has been dealing with shoulder pain, but the announcement that he was having shoulder surgery surprised many, including me. Klesko will have a modified Mumford procedure, and if Padres fans are experiencing deja vu, it’s because Mumford is the same procedure that Trevor Hoffman and Jaret Wright had. Shaving part of the clavicle will fix an impingement and possible problems secondary to weightlifting that would affect Klesko’s swing. Klesko should be ready for Spring Training, where the Pads will try to sort out a team that could be quite interesting if they can figure out how to make all their puzzle pieces fit.
  • Roy Oswalt cleared his last hurdle with a four-inning, 60-pitch simulated game on Tuesday, and is likely going to be back in to the rotation next week. The Astros will give him one start against the Brewers on Monday, rather than the anticipated Saturday start, in order to set up Oswalt and Wade Miller for a pair of starts against the Cardinals. A quote from Oswalt in the Houston Chronicle worries me, however: “My mechanics were a little off (in the simulated game), but overall, I felt well.” Yikes.
  • The Cardinals are so good to me, always giving me something to write about. On Wednesday, Jim Edmonds missed the game with a bruised knee, but was available to pinch hit (and in fact did). He is expected back in the lineup today. We also learned that J.D. Drew isn’t having as much problem with his oblique as some sources had led us to believe. Drew’s biggest question for September remains not with current health, but with the ability to remain available for any extended period of time.

    Meanwhile, in the unexpected category, Eduardo Perez underwent an appendectomy and is lost to the Cardinals for at least two weeks, and likely for the remainder of the regular season. With those injuries behind us, I’m still stunned that TLR elected to use Woody Williams as a de facto closer. Williams was scheduled to throw his side session today, but that’s much different from being thrown into a game that matters as much as this one. With a bullpen decimated by injury, ineffectiveness, and a doubleheader that included extra innings, TLR made his play and could have done more damage than good. Williams is expected to make his scheduled start.

  • Doug Mientkiewicz forces me to spell his name again by stating that he’ll decline surgery for the time being and try to gut it out as long as he can stand the pain. OK, let’s give him points for guts and macho and all that, then move on to the real issue: will Ron Gardenhire know when enough is enough, realize that he has options better than an aching Minky, and start putting together the best roster he can? On the other hand, Dustan Mohr put a vicious (but legal) blow on a play at the plate today. The result was a fractured wrist that left Ben Molina writhing on the Metrodome turf for several minutes after the game winning play. Molina broke both bones in his arm (radius and ulna) and some reports state that one of those was an open fracture. I dislike the collision play more than almost any in baseball, but I don’t have a good solution to the problem. Molina is done for the season, could face surgery, and depending on how he is treated, his timetable could run over into 2004. (And just because I’m curious: Was the collision play common before the Rose/Fosse collision in the All-Star Game
  • Another day, another Red having problems with health. Paul Wilson is having serious shoulder pain and will head to the DL, pending inspection by Tim Kremchek. Add in a serious hamstring pull to Ryan Freel and a 40-man roster might not be enough. I see Ray Knight in uniform and I think he might end up at third before the end of the season.
  • John Sickels highlighted Cody Ross as someone to watch during September in a recent Down on the Farm column for, but I’m here to tell you that you won’t see him. In his first game on Tuesday, Ross tore his ACL in a play at first that is similar to, but looked much more violent than, the play that put Corey Patterson out for the season. Ross should make a full recovery, but I’m not sure how–if it all–it will affect his game.
  • Quick Cuts: The Royals had two pitchers under the knife this week. Kyle Snyder and Kevin Appier both had surgery and could be back for spring training. Appier’s return depends on a lot more than rehab…Kevin Mench will have additional surgery and is done for the season…Lots of speculation regarding Randy Johnson and his surgically repaired, Synvisc-filled knee, but no facts. Keep your eye on him and his travel schedule…I had late news on Vladimir Guerrero last night, but it appears his knee injury was minor and he missed no time. Jose Vidro, on the other hand, could miss some time with knee pain, but he’ll try to play as much as possible with Montreal in contention.
  • Reader Bryan Smith sends along this interesting nugget…
    	    Height  Weight  Throw    G   GS   ERA  H/9  K/9  BB/9
    Pitcher A     6'5"     218   Left  193  161  3.66  8.6  6.0   2.0
    Pitcher B     6'6"     208   Left  117  117  3.77  8.9  6.1   2.4

    Brian says: Pretty similar careers, huh? Player A had his career over at twenty-six years of age because of a hip injury. Player B? Currently 26 years of age and on the DL with a hip injury.

    Player A = Britt Burns, Chicago White Sox
    Player B = Mark Mulder, Oakland Athletics

    Mulder’s injury is significantly different than Burns’ degenerative condition that required replacement, but the numbers are similar. Looking at his PECOTA, Mulder does have several comparables in the “good early, done early” mode, with some notable exceptions like Steve Carlton and Tom Glavine.

One quick correction: I said yesterday that the Toronto Feed will take place on the 26th of September. That’s a day early–it will be on Saturday, the 27th. To RSVP, contact Location and reasonable cost to be determined.

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