Lest We Forget 

In all the hubbub about Barry Bonds's return, we tend to forget that the man is taking a risk in re-injuring and crippling his knee. That's one reason for the caution of the past few days, according to reports. Fans tend to forget that professional athletes often spend their retirement years hobbled. Instead of sympathy for their aches and pains, we berate them for their breakdowns.

I notice this attitude especially in twentysomething fans, who haven't gotten the hint of the body's inevitable decline and thus can't fathom not being able to play with their kids or walk up a flight of stairs at the age of 45. Yes, they're paid multi-millions to play through pain, but at least we can acknowledge what these guys have to do to do what they do.

Football players put up with even more damage. Read this paragraph from today's Scott Ostler column about 49er Jeremy Newberry's knee:

Newberry will apply heat packs to the knee Sunday morning, and a sports cream that provides heat and anti-inflammation medication. He will feed his knee a Vicodin before warm-ups, then have a doctor shoot the knee with Toradol (anti-pain, anti-inflammation) just before the game.

And I thought I was a wimp for needing two cups of coffee to start my work day.

Other random notes:

* I could get mad at Armando Benitez for last night's kick in the teeth, but when you've busted your ass to return from major hamstring-pelvic bone-reattachment surgery to help your team down the stretch, and you've thrown the ball well in 10 straight games, you're allowed to have a bad day.

* Jeremy Accardo, welcome to the learning curve. Some people don't get it, though, and ask why Kent wasn't walked in Tuesday's game. Alou did exactly the right thing letting Accardo pitch to Kent; the pennant race is an illusion, let the kid do his thing.

* The Giants would do well next year to find a backup shortstop who hits lefties well. Omar Vizquel's numbers against lefties are bad enough that when he rests, he should rest against the Dontrelle Willises and Randy Wolfs and Andy Pettittes of the world.

* Edgardo Alfonzo is being psychologically and physically prepared for less playing time and perhaps a backup second-baseman role next year, according to today's Chron.

* For those of you nerdy enough to read my small print: I've finally finished Arthur Phillips' novel Prague. A complete load of shite. Unfortunately I have an undiagnosed form of OCD that prevents me from abandoning a movie or novel in midstream, no matter how putrid. I even sat through Detroit Rock City.

On the brighter side, I've rediscovered Lucinda's classic "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road." In the Katrina aftermath, radio stations are playing lots of Dr. John and Louis Armstrong ("Do You Know What it Means To Miss New Orleans?"). Just as bluesy and poignant, put on any Lucinda record, and she instantly immerses you in the Deep South and Delta landscapes that now lie blown out, tossed around, and ravaged.

I'm gonna go to Slidell and look for my joy
Go to Slidell and look for my joy
You took my joy, I want it back
You took my joy, I want it back


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