Good news for Ells

A mere 5 days ago, baseball was dead to me.

The season was over before it even really got started.

My favorite player suffered a nasty injury as his shoulder was crushed by the Rays’ Reid Brignac. Speculation ran rampant that the hottie center fielder would be out for the season.redsox.com

Brignac had dislocated Ells’s shoulder, causing my favorite player a lot of pain. Shame on you, Brignac.

According to the ESPN article, “A minor dislocation typically requires a minimum of four to six weeks, but if further evaluation reveals additional trauma to the shoulder, such as tears to the rotator cuff, labrum or other muscle or tendons, Ellsbury could be in jeopardy of missing months more.”

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine had no info on Ellsbury’s condition after the Sox-Rays game, saying only that he expected another outfielder to arrive in Boston on Saturday. Raise your hand if you’re surprised that Bobby V didn’t have a clue. Raise your other hand if you think that moron has a chance in hell of being able to find his brain with both hands. Bring back Tito! For the love of all things holy in the great sport of baseball, bring back Tito!

As Sox blogger Dan Lamothe says, “We’re on the cusp of a year that will be filled with more annoying drama than your average Adele song, and there’s nothing we can do to about it. At the center of this, of course, will be the transition from Terry Francona to Bobby Valentine.”

Amen.

After reading about Ells’s injury and DB Valentine‘s lack of info on this time-stopping, all-important topic, I hung my head, dried my tears, and channeled Doris Kearns Goodwin with thoughts of “Wait ’til next year.”

Alas, there is good news for fans of Ells: Orthopedic surgeon Lewis Yocum reviewed Ells’s MRI results and agreed with Sox docs that the injury is treatable and won’t require surgery.

Hopefully we’ll soon be seeing less of thisthe bleacher report

and more of this

and this

and this

That Ellsbury won’t be out for long is the best news I’ve heard in a while. Come on, Ells! Heal fast, ok? The game isn’t the same without you.


5-0

Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester is one of my heroes. Not only because he’s a bad-ass left-handed pitcher who delivers for my favorite team but also because he’s just celebrated a milestone worth coveting: 5 years of being cancer-free.

Lester was just 22 years old when he was scratched from the Sox lineup in late August 2006 because of back pain. At that point in his rookie season, he was 7-2 and his pitching was on fire. After a few tests, doctors at Mass General determined that his lymph nodes were enlarged, and a few days later they delivered unthinkable news to an uncomprehending pitcher: Lester had anaplastic large-cell lymphoma, a rare and fast-spreading cancer. The Red Sox announced the news on September 2, 2006, and manager Terry Francona said that Lester was beginning a “journey that few us can comprehend.”

I’m almost embarrassed to type the words “being diagnosed with cancer is devastating.” Duh. If only I could invent new words to convey the devastation. If only. For a 22-year-old major league pitcher, I imagine the news was shocking and gut-wrenching, to say the least. As a 40-year-old non-pro athlete, the news of my own diagnosis was shocking and gut-wrenching. Duh.

Lucky (?) for Lester, his type of cancer is non-Hodgkins lymphoma and is highly treatable, with a cure rate of upwards of 80 percent. I’m sure his youth and his physical fitness helped, too, but no matter who you are, the diagnosis is a bitch, and Tito was right, Les was on a journey that few can comprehend.

No one thinks it’s going to happen to them, but cancer bulldozes through millions of people’s lives every single day–atheletes, celebrities, and regular people alike. Sometimes I think: if someone like Jon Lester isn’t safe from cancer, who is??

Not me, obviously.

Lester and I have a similar attitude toward our cancer. “It sucks,” he said in more than one interview. “But you can’t let it define you.”

“I hate hospitals to begin with,” he says. “I hate needles. I hate anything related to doctors. Getting blood drawn every 10 days [during chemo] … it drags on. You’re tired all the time. You want to do stuff, but you can’t. You’ve got to watch where you go because of germs. It’s not something you would wish upon anybody.”

Yep, that’s right.

Lester says as a pro athelete, his pursuit of excellence helped him demand a willingness to accept constant physical challenges, something with which cancer patients are quite familiar. He spoke of his frustration of feeling weak, of wanting to be active but his body saying no. He learned to listen to his body and to accept that he wasn’t in control of every aspect of the treatment and recovery process. I’m no pro, but I know that feeling — of wanting to overcome but being thwarted at every turn but none other than your own body. Suck.

Lester endured 6 cycles of chemo and lost his hair but not his drive. He wanted to pitch again, and to be known as a great pitcher, not as a cancer survivor.

On October 28–barely more than two years after being diagnosed–Lester started and earned a win in the final game of the 2007 World Series against the Rockies. The following May, he pitched a no-hitter against the Royals.

taking the mound for the final game of the World Series

no hitter for Lester!!!

I’d say Lester did it. He’s a pitcher first, and a cancer survivor second. Throw hard, Les!