Speaking of Arias, he was called up to take Aubrey Huff's spot on the roster. Huff was DL'd for "anxiety issues" and is expected to rejoin the team at some point. When I posted my thoughts on Huff after that weird game in New York, I had no idea there were deeper, personal things involved. (The story broke the next day.) It is easy to forget that ballplayers (entertainers, really) are human beings with real lives and real problems. Any job, no matter how lucrative, with the kind of intense public scrutiny that these guys face daily, has a dark side. (I'm a public schoolteacher in a small town, rather bucolic compared to most, but I'm here to tell you it takes a psychic toll. And nobody writes blog posts or newspaper articles about me.) It has to be difficult to balance fame with family, and glory with ignominy. My observations about Aubrey Huff were entirely baseball related, viewing him only as another player on the team and not as a whole person. I certainly hope he gets things figured out. I remember when Mike Ivie (who else remembers Mr. Pinch-hit Grand Slam?) had a similar problem back in the late 70's in the Joe Altobelli/Dave Bristol Era. (Ivie was the #1 pick in 1970.) I was a college kid at the time. Bruce Bochy is five years older than me and here's what he had to say:
I'm sure it was there when I played, but you probably weren't as likely to talk about it openly . . .No doubt. I like to think that we are a little more enlightened about things like anxiety, depression, and other mental struggles. These are just as real as torn ligaments, only harder to pin down and come up with treatments. My dad was a Korean War vet--he fought at Chosin with the 5th Marines when he was 19 years old. He suffered horribly from post-traumatic stress, yet was from a generation of men unable or unwilling to accept mental illness as a legitimate problem. Fortunately even Major League Baseball can manage to limp into the 21st century now and then.
The Giants have limped along like the .500 team they are. They show flashes of brilliance and then put on some rather wretched displays. The parts are there but they are not all clicking together. It's April, and despite the Dodgers fast start they are still close enough. But .500 innings are not what champs are made of, and it is time for this team to quit screwing around. I expect to see a steady improvement and better well be reporting on a 10-8 or 11-7 second inning 18 games from now.
p.s. I can't get the goddamn B-R Linker tool to work!! Normally I'd make all the player names hyperlinks, but the "bookmarklet" (java script app) that B-R supplies isn't functioning. Even RMC isn't firing on all cylinders this early in the season!