RGIII & Strasburg
Sitting on my couch last weekend, it was readily apparent that RGIII was hurting. After a couple quick scores in the first quarter he spent the rest of the game hobbling and limping his way around the field, valiantly trying put his team on his shoulders until this happened:
It was painful enough watching him hobble around the field for most of the game but that ankle/knee disaster is rough to watch. Even more so learning about all the drama surrounding his knee. It had come out earlier in the day that Shanahan had lied about RGIII being cleared to play the prior week by team orthopedic Dr. Andrews. The fact that he was never even given any type of physical assessment seems negligent at best. Here’s a potential franchise player that could make the Washington Football Club serious contenders for years to come, and the team treats his long-term health as secondary to the short-term glory of winning a playoff game. Also this is but one example of the machismo that permeates professional football. If you’re a man you’ll go out and play despite whatever little pussy injuries you think may have. This is one of the reasons why football players are developing dementia at 40. Congrats! (Contrast this with the push-back in baseball over the last couple years regarding collisions at home plate. You have had everyone from writers to managers talking about how dumb home plate collisions are. There’s nothing manly about taking one for the team and being subsequently injured for the rest of the season.) This whole incident made me think of the Strasburg saga that took DC by storm last September, and appreciate a bit more what the Nationals did.
There’s many arguments that can be made about how the Nationals used Strasburg throughout the year (other options included using him in the pen for the first few months, starting his season in May instead of April, or skipping starts throughout the year to keep his innings limit down) and the arbitrary innings limit–160 instead of 170 or 180 etc–but there’s virtually no argument to be made about their vision for the team. The Nats decided that they would prefer to be contenders for the World Series for the next 4-5 seasons while they still have their core in place rather than push their star in his first season back from TJ surgery. As it is they came 1 strike away from winning the NLDS without Strasburg and the NL East will be significantly weaker this year (Mets still suck, Marlins rebuilding, Phils 1 year older, Braves still good). The Nationals now have both Strasburg and Zimmermann, not to mention a hopefully healthy and effective Haren, fully healed and ready to lead the rotation. Add in the rest of their core and they could win the division or qualify for a wild-card 3-4 times in the next 5 years. That’s a long-term vision for making your franchise viable. It’s something that the best franchises in sports are good at. Then you have the Washington Football Club, which always seems to make decisions in the hopes of some short-term success and viability mostly to their detriment.
Things are looking up for the team that actually plays their games in DC. How many days until pitchers and catchers again?
RGIII gif via fansided.com