Sunday, April 19, 2009

is it too early to PANIC?!?!?!

Tell me Troy Glaus has given up baseball to start a religious cult and is asking that everyone call him Ishmael and I'll chuckle and shake my head.

Tell me Chris Carpenter was the victim of a tragic surgical "goof-up" when he had both arms amputated instead of the tattoo removal he had been admitted for and I'll yawn indifferently.

Tell me the bullpen is giving up late-inning leads and losing winnable games and I'll choke you with my bare* hands, then hyperventilate and pass out in my own vomit.

Call it Post-Traumatic Bullpen Disorder, or PTBD.

It happens when people who have lived through painful and stressful late-innings pitching collapses are confronted with the threat of an equally painful year ahead of them.

Victims are forced to re-live the two-out walks and hit batsmen, and are consumed by memories of falling behind in the count and 0-2 mistakes.

These memories can trigger serious emotional reactions such as depression, anger, or drunkenness.

Even early in the season, watching relievers allow inherited runners to score, give up tying or go-ahead runs late in games, put runners on base in front of power hitters, and give up game-ending runs can be just as terrifying for the victim as the original trauma.

The victim may feel trapped in time, unable to escape the frustrating and never-ending cycle of decent starter + competitive offense + unreliable bullpen = losing the game.

Symptoms include (but are not limited to): mood swings related to the outcome of the game, inability to focus on anything but the television, frequent outbursts such as "Jeez, ____! Where'd you learn to pitch?" and "Get this guy outta here!", feelings of hopelessness followed by periods of silence, profuse sweating, and binge drinking.

Unfortunately for those suffering from PTBD, there is no cure. (At least not one that the Cardinals can afford.) The best we victims can do is keep our their backs to the corner (so that no one can sneak up on us them) and try to start every ninth inning with a 10-run (or greater) lead.