Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Five Indictments of the Red Sox' Doctors

Guess what - this is part one of a two-part series, because in their six-year reign of terror, there have been at least ten incidents tying Dr. Thomas Gill and his underlings in the Boston Red Sox' medical staff to lack of effectiveness.  The Clay Buchholz incident this year, when a suspected stress fracture went completely undiagnosed by these clowns for four freaking months, is the last straw for me.  This goes beyond the fact that I once called them for my own injury and the phone rang off the hook.  It's time for a senior thesis. 

These are in no particular order of severity; only in order of the ones I can easily remember.  The next post will go into the incidents I need to research more.  It's not unlikely that my volume of research could be in more depth than the time they took to figure out what was wrong with these multi-million-dollar human assets who need to be healthy to play good baseball.

1.  We Don't MRI Bruises.  I blame 46 about 60% for the crap that he went through last year.  Sore ribs do not require five years of heliotherapy in Arizona.  At least not in 2010 it doesn't.  But the quote "We Don't MRI Bruises" effectively sums up the Gill & Co era in Boston in one line.  Arrogant, lazy, and clearly ineffective.  I've heard the Red Sox were up 20% last year from John Henry.  You can't spend another $300 to MRI 46's back?  At what point is it okay to MRI his back?  After he misses two months?  Three?  Four?  Or not until he writes out note cards and reads them to Heidi Watney?  This medical staff is too stubborn, pompous, and pigheaded to "MRI bruises," but they will...

2.  MRI Both of Manny's Knees.  In July 2008, the Red Sox' Dominican outfielder decided it was time to perform his annual "don't feel like playing for a little while, so I'll fake an injury" stunt.  (If it sounds like I'm insinuating that the Red Sox have a white American outfielder who does the same thing but gets a fraction of the hate until this year, you're absolutely right!)  He was claiming that one of his knees was barking at him, but allegedly forgot which knee was hurting him on the way to the MRI exam.  So the Red Sox footed the bill for that extra MRI.  This incident in isolation is not that bad.  But it IS that bad when you are willing to MRI left and right, but are NOT willing to MRI, in 46's words, "front...AND back."

3.  Buchholz's back.  This one's fresh in my mind, and it's one of the most irresponsible of all this medical team's follies.  It's not like Gill and friends are in a private practice in Chisholm, Minnesota stuck in the year 1972 here.  It's 2011 and you're in freaking Boston.  Diagnose an injury.  I haven't been JDing in medical school the last seven years, but I cannot fathom an injury being undiagnosed and misdiagnosed so many freaking times.  It's also not like we're talking about some schmuck whose back isn't important.  It's not like we're talking about a marginal runner with a full time job and a sports hernia here.  Last year Buchholz emerged as one of the legitimately elite pitchers in baseball.  His presence would have been a pleasant reinforcement to the Red Sox, I don't know, maybe winning the World Series this year?  But because these guys absolutely SUCK at their jobs, the player's been jerked around from May until now, Andrew Miller has been pitching meaningful games, and the season rests on Erik Bedard's shoulders.  Fan-freaking-tastic.

4.  Mike Cameron's tenure as a member of the Boston Red Sox.  I've gone over this one a few times, because I had the same injury Cameron had (on only one side, however, while he had it on both).  A sports hernia is hard to diagnose, but once diagnosed, easy to treat.  Surgery, couple of weeks, start back up again.  The most painful part of my sports hernia AFTER I got the surgery was sitting on the couch high on Vicodin watching that prick from Canton make his decision to take his talents to second place in the NBA Finals.  Meanwhile, the Red Sox diagnosed Cameron's sports hernia in March, let him play center field like Lt. Dan Taylor (in other words, without any legs) for four months, and THEN, after the season was lost, give him the surgery.  When playing, he undoubtedly picked up bad habits and probably compensation injuries - all things that could have been avoided by getting surgery in March.  That's garbage.

5.  Dustin Pedroia's foot.  The real challenge would be to find an injury that has been handled appropriately by these guys.  After missing 44 games with a foot injury suffered in San Francisco, Pedroia came back for a two-game cameo in August.  He reaggravated the injury and never came back.  That's good, though.  Let's play a game called "F With The Injury That Cost Yao Ming His Career."  Tom Gill, you go first.  We're not talking about putting a player out there with sore ribs just to have him bellyflop in the outfield.  A completely different situation and one that was possibly handled worse than the 46 injury.  As you will recall, it took Pedroia a good eleven months to recover from the foot injury.  And these clowns thought he could come back after 44 games.


Anonymous said...


First things first--Jacoby Ellsbury just keeps on being awesome.

Carl Crawford? Not quite. I was reading something last week, don't know if it was Bill Simmons, Chad Finn, or someone else, but basically they wrote something to the effect of "at times it looks like Crawford has never played baseball before." He is taking TERRIBLE swings. Swinging very early in the count on balls that aren't even close. And it rarely seems like he hits the ball with any authority. It's early, but we could be looking at a guy who plays hard but produces worse than JD Drew for the next seven years. That's gross.

Lastly, (and I know this wasn't the point of your post) but Manny's antics and the reaction to them had nothing to do with race. You keep talking like that and NESCAC schools might raise tuition %50 next year so they can put together a task force to oversee media treatment of Caribbean athletes.

The fact is that Manny was beloved DESPITE all the garbage he pulled. He's STILL my favorite player and all Red Sox fans owe him a debt of gratitude. But he was a pain in the ass and wanted to be traded basically every year except for 2004 and 2007 (when, ironically, they won the World Series). Also, he was a star. Big time. And when you're a star the things you do attract more attention than say, a guy who has one career all-star appearance, and the attention will be bigger and louder.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

Are the first four at-bats also going to be mentioned in the free-agency binder? Gonzalez must have given him the periodic news flash of "you're not a power hitter, stop acting like one" sometime in the eighth inning.

Agree that Crawford's a disaster.

On Manny versus Drew, I've mentioned it obliquely before in this space, and you've called me on it each time. But I think we're just going to have to disagree on this. Manny's a greedy Dominican who is stupid because he doesn't speak English and dogs it, but Drew is just a simple Southerner who loves Jesus and is a lot of a nicer guy than everyone thinks he is. Ask Shaughnessy or John Tomase. It's not a fan thing as much as it's a media thing, and it's garbage. The JD Drew Truth Serum has been flowing steadily through over the past five baseball seasons, but nowhere else. JD's dogging it is justified by OPS, but Manny's OPS is discredited by his dogging it. It makes no sense.

And the NESCAC high schools are going to raise tuition until market conditions no longer allow them to do so.

the gm at work said...

By the way, I hope the first two comments don't take away from what I really want to talk about, and that's the EMBARRASSING behavior of these doctors. I have six more incidents I am writing about tonight, because these guys really do not deserve to have this job anymore.

Anonymous said...


I can understand where you're coming from regarding the media portrayal of Manny/JD Drew, though it is probably a small sample size. To be clear, I thought you were talking generally--because Sox fans everywhere can't stand JD Drew. Also, all joking (and massive production) aside, your tongue-in-cheek description of Manny is accurate. The problem is if you substitute "Georgian" for "Dominican" the exact same can be said about JD Drew.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

Exactly, and right there you're making my point: They're treated completely differently. Maybe not by a lot of fans, but certainly by the majority of the media. I agree with you: Give JD dreadlocks, baggy pants, and poor command of the English language, and he is the same dog Manny Ramirez was.

To take it to one more level (and this is something I'd like to discuss in November when I take my final cuts on HYD), a lot of people are going to say that Manny is more wasted talent than JD. Is that true? I mean, JD was supposed to be the "next Mickey Mantle" (not my words). Could he hit the ball 501.5 feet? Probably not. But he could hit it 450 with regularity. We've just never seen it.

Anonymous said...


Personally I think your perspective on Manny/Drew is totally distorted. I don't think Drew has gotten a free pass here at all, nor do I think many people in the media or fans have stated that Manny was a bigger waste of talent than Drew. If Manny didn't do steroids, he'd be a sure fire hall of famer based on his numbers. People respected and liked him for a period of time despite his goofiness and despite the fact that he dogged it at times or was lazy in the field. He was loved by everyone.

What got him into trouble with people was the fact that he started pushing around old men and became a clubhouse cancer. That's why he got run out of town.

J.D. Drew has never done those types of things. Yes he's extremely frustrating but he's never been a clubhouse cancer, he's never assaulted anyone, and he's at least a half-decent fielder.

If Manny didn't do those things, he would be held in higher regard than Drew even despite Manny's lack of effort.

The race thing has absolutely nothing to do with it in this case.


ZWeiss said...

This is a great post. Admittedly, the ideas of the Red Sox having a shitty medical staff never really crossed my mind. But what you laid out here really shows how much they suck, especially with the most recent example being Clay Buchholz. Like you said, the season is on Erik Bedard's shoulders. What the hell guys.