Once again an Orioles player combines his million dollar arm with his five cent head…
I don't know if you know this, but the movie Bull Durham (arguably the best baseball movie ever, and all but impossible to refute as the most accurate portrayal of minor league baseball in history) is based (VERY) loosely on a former Orioles prospect named Steve Dalkowski that writer/director Ron Shelton played with in the Orioles' minor league system in the 1960's.
Now, why am I bringing this up when we are 5 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting for Spring Training? Because one of the players that the team is counting on to continue improving and help move the team towards respectability and eventually playoff contention has gone and put himself a good 10 days behind the rest of the pitchers because he hurt himself WHILE FILMING A COMMERCIAL FOR THE TEAM!
Brad Bergesen filmed a commercial back in December. Now you may remember that he was pitching some lights out baseball until he took a sick line drive off of his shin while pitching against the Kansas City Royals on July 30th, which wound up ending his season. During all of this his upper body was fine, but because he couldn't put weight on his plant foot (he is a righty, so when stepping down on the mound his left foot is the foot he strides and plants with), he was unable to throw off of a pitcher's mound. So he shows up for this commercial shoot and starts trying to simulate game speed (there is a Baltimore Sun article HERE that goes into detail on what exactly happened during the filming).
The good news is that it does not seem like a major injury and that he is expected to be able to catch up on the program set for the starting rotation and that he should be ready for the Opening Day rotation. But I do have a question for Mr. Andy MacPhail and the Orioles front office. Why weren't you paying attention to this possible outcome before it happened?!? In the Sun article MacPhail says that they will be “monitoring” the commercial shoots in the future. But the commercials are shot by MASN crews (a network that Peter Angelos and the Orioles OWN), so all aspects of the quality control is the direct responsibility of the team. And if Bergesen is truly considered a legitimate prospect/contributer (and after his performance last year of 12 straight starts with at least 6 innings pitched and only one start during that stretch with over 3 earned runs, including the game that knocked him out for the season), shouldn't the top brass be thinking of things like this BEFORE a player hurts himself? How lucky is the team that he didn't do any major damage and that he should be fine (and heaven help them if this winds up not being the case)?
This team cannot afford to make stupid mistakes. This was a stupid mistake. Let's hope it is the last one.
About the Author
Written by Ron Burr
Ron is a lifelong resident of Maryland and has been a passionate player and fan of sports for as long as he can remember. When he is not watching the games or explaining to his lovely wife why he is cursing at the television, he runs an improv/sketch comedy troupe, Drop Three. He can't hit a curveball or run a sub 4.5 40 yard dash, but he knows the games and loves talking about it with anyone. Differing opinions are welcome and encouraged!