Earlier this week, the San Francisco Giants lost their ace pitcher, Madison Bumgarner, for an extended period of time.
Not from a sore elbow or any damage to his arm caused by throwing a baseball. Not an injury sustained while jacking one of his 16 career home runs. But he suffered shoulder and rib injuries in a dirt bike accident.
As usual, some people are overreacting, suggesting that the Giants should try to void his contract or that Bumgarner is never going to be a good pitcher again after this incident.
As of now, it appears that Bumgarner could still come back about midway through the season. And if the Giants are still in postseason contention, he could certainly provide a huge lift towards that goal.
Braves fans have had an easy go of it over the years when it comes to their superstars. Never did one have to go to sleep at night worried about what kind of trouble Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz or Chipper Jones might get into. And now Freddie Freeman, who seems to be a fantastic guy on and off the field.
(That’s a different story than former closer John Rocker, when fans had to worry about him saying something potentially inflammatory.)
None of that is to suggest that Bumgarner is any sort of troublemaker, only just to point out how good the Braves have had it over the years. Things happen. But there is a question to be raised.
How much control and say should organizations have when it comes to players pursuing their passions away from the competition field? Golfer Rory McIlroy injured his ankle playing soccer with friends in 2015. That same year, NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin tore his ACL playing basketball.
On one hand, these athletes are people just like the rest of us, with passions that are pursued with their time away from the office. On the other, organizations have billions of dollars invested in the ability of these guys to be able to achieve peak performance.
What say you guys?