So the Mike Leake trade didn't exactly vault the Giants into first place. Well, shoot. FanGraphs has the Giants down to a 12-percent chance of making the postseason now, which wasn't the plan. Still, the trade made sense, and there's still a month-and-a-half of baseball, so ... I don't know, maybe? Maybe it'll work? Which is sort of the catch phrase for every baseball team in the history of the sport.
The relative merits and timing of the Leake trade aren't the topic du jour, though. Today, it's time for me to get something off my chest, and it involves something almost all of us have taken for granted:
Do you realize how hard it must have been for Tim Hudson to step back and quietly cede his spot to Leake?
I legitimately can't remember which side of the body the liver is on, which makes me feel better when I get a sharp pain on one side because I think "At least there's a 50-percent chance that's not my liver!" Which is to say, I'm not very medically astute. And I wasn't in the trainer's room with Dave Groeschner and Hudson. I don't know what tendon was hanging on by a thread, or what kind of pain Hudson was going through just to get on the mound every five days. But I have a hint that this much is true: If the Giants asked him to, Hudson would have tried to pitch through it.
That's based on quotes like this:
Asked which body part would put him back on the DL, Hudson smiled and said "pick one." The Giants officially called it a right shoulder strain.
He was put on the DL with old. Everyone you know and love will eventually be put on the DL with old. Happens.
What were the alternatives? Hudson demanding a trade that probably wouldn't have happened, unless the A's were interested in a sad farewell tour, which they probably wouldn't have been. That means he would essentially have been demanding his release. There wasn't an exciting, palatable option other than going on the DL with old. So maybe this is giving him too much credit.
But I'll set up a scenario and tell you what I would have done. The scenario is this:
Pretend I have the ability to write well. Now pretend that this ability is finite. It won't last much past 40, and that's if I'm one of the luckiest few. I know this. Everyone knows this. The writing part of the brain just slowly melts away in everyone's 30s. And lately, I've been writing articles trying to connect the Giants' minor leaguers with various theories about the moon landing being a hoax, with random pictures of player's wives and girlfriends creepily inserted without context. Just horrible, disastrous articles that make no sense and make it hard to remember anything good that I might have done previously. I know the articles suck. I shake my head reading them, too.
At the same time, I know there's another one left in me. There's another perfect Shawshank Redemption quote and analogy to get, by gum, and I'm going to find it and go out in a blaze of glory. There's still one more chance for me to bask in the click-click-click sunlight, and like hell am I going to quit now.
That's when Vox Media comes up to me and says that they've acquired the folks at Cespedes Family BBQ, and they want me to spend the rest of my contract in the copyediting room.
I've been with Vox since it was a ragtag band of misfits. I've seen the company grow from a pollywog into a new media force. Do you think I'm here because I don't have a choice? I'm here because I want to be. I'm proud of this place on 3,000 different levels, and I'm a team player. So in this scenario, with my brain degrading, and the new kids being clearly better at what I'm trying to do, there's only one choice for me:
I would throw a tantrum.
Because I've worked hard to become a professional writer. So many words, so many stressful days and nights thinking about gerunds and ledes and shitty jokes. I'm not sure how many WAR i'm worth as a writer -- I'd go for a solid 2.2, with some of that coming via my defense -- but that doesn't mean I haven't worked hard for my entire amateur and professional career.
This is what I've done with my life. It's all I've done. And to face life without it, without the only craft I've cared about for the last decade or two? No, I'm gonna squeeze every last drop out of this before I go away. Screw that. Get away. I can still get more out of this. I would lock myself in the bathroom and write a "Things Only Fans Of The 2008 Giants Would Understand" listicle. Maybe it would hit.
But that's not going to happen to me. My profession allows me to get older and older, possibly even better with time and experience. I don't know what line of work you're in, but it's probably the same for you. Hey, you get to code forever, or you get to be a cooper forever, or you get to ... look, I don't know what you do, and frankly you regulars and normals disgust me. The point is that unless you're an athlete or supermodel or adorable child star, time probably isn't going to suck the blood out of whatever you love to do. Not for a while, at least.
And yet when this situation comes up for our favorite teams, it's so easy to say, "WELL, THEY SHOULD JUST PUT HUDSON ON THE DL."
He's already announced his retirement after the season. This is all he has left. He's leaving behind a career that was often brilliant. Baseball has defined him for almost his entire life. He has two more months of it.
"WELL, THEY SHOULD JUST PUT HUDSON ON THE DL."
I mean, it made sense. It was logical. It's what they did. My whole point is that it couldn't have been easy for Hudson to accept. And it's something that's far too easy for us to take for granted. This isn't just about Hudson, either. It's also about Angel Pagan playing center field with knees made from misshapen Duplo blocks and telling his manager that he feels fine, ready to play, feelin' fine. Of course he's doing that. I would, too.
Hudson is going to make a rehab start soon, ostensibly to get him ready for September when the rosters expand and he comes up for his last tour. Just don't take what he's doing (or what's being done to him) for granted. It had to happen, sure, but it still stinks in a way that's hard for us to comprehend.