When Injuries Happen

When news came, first speculatory Wednesday and then confirmed on Thursday, that St. Louis Cardigan pitcher Adam Wainwright had injured his elbow and would require Tommy John surgery, ending his season, many NL Central fans breathed a sigh of relief.

Wainwright was the ace of the Cardinals staff and his loss has a big impact on the other teams expected to compete for the division title – namely the Brewers and the Reds.

So when speculation started that Wainwright was done for the season, over at a Brewers site I write for, the reaction was mostly “man, that sucks – but it’s good for us.” But there were also a few “cheers.”

Most notably, Hall of Fame reporter Hal McCoy reported that the Reds’ Jonny Gomes openly celebrated upon learning Wainwright’s fate. Gomes has since denied that’s why he was celebrating and McCoy has removed the story from his blog.

But it made me wonder – what’s appropriate in this kind of situation?

As a fan, it’s difficult not to have a little private “YES!” moment when you learn that ZiPS projections are for the Cardinals to lose 5-6 more games without Wainwright, leaving them third in the division.

But is that wrong?

I feel like most every Brewers and Reds fan had a similar reaction to mine privately, but would not admit it. It’s not a very tasteful way to handle the situation. Singing and dancing is probably taking it too far, but if had been reported that Gomes showed joy upon learning about Wainwright, he’d probably still have been ripped and called “classless.”

No fan wishes harm upon an opposing player (at least, I hope not.) I had nothing to do with the ligament problems in Wainwright’s elbow, so does my private excitement about what the injury could mean for my team make me a bad person?

I was at a game in 2008 when Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo tore his ACL. Fans from the opposing team actually cheered as he was removed from the game. Clearly, that’s probably a little extreme as far as celebrations go – but where is the line drawn?

I’d probably have been pretty upset at any reaction from the opposing fans, to be fair – we get so defensive in situations like this.

So what do you guys think? Is any kind of happiness or celebration wrong? Or is it just human nature to look at the injury in the way most beneficial to you?

2 thoughts on “When Injuries Happen

  1. I’ve been out of the loop so I’m just hearing about Wainwright. That sucks.

    I think it’s human nature to feel a little relief that your team isn’t going to have to face a good player for a while. But truly, my reaction is always disappointment for a player because nobody asks to get hurt nor does anyone deserve it. As it’s been well documented, I loathe Papelbon but he’s still entitled to make a living with his arm. Even if he is a bonehead. A player would have to be awfully despicable off the field for me to not feel sorry for him.

    Besides, where is the pride in beating a team missing its ace or best slugger? I get much more satisfaction out of watching the Yanks beat a team of healthy starters.

  2. Good point – I totally missed the “beating the best” angle. That’s a big driving point behind a lot of people’s argument for not being “excited” for an injury.

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