Friday, March 12, 2010

Jose Reyes and the amateur medical community

One of the first things that flashed through my mind when I heard Jose Reyes would be out 2-8 weeks because of his thyroid condition was the final scene in Pulp Fiction where Jules tells Pumpkin about the Bible verse (Ezekiel 25:17) he has memorized, the one about the "path of the righteous man," the one he recites to his victim before he pops a cap in his ass.

Jules questions the meaning of the verse, finally determining that Pumpkin is the weak, and that he is the tyranny of evil men. "But I'm tryin,' Ringo," he says. "I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd."

That's how I felt with the Reyes news. It's yet another in a string of unfortunate events for this Mets team that I have been rooting for the past 35 years, and while it would certainly be understandable for a Mets fan to just give into the gloom and doom and write off the season in friggin' MARCH -- I'm tryin' real hard to stay positive.

Honestly, the diagnosis was extremely positive for Reyes personally. Too bad he's an athlete. For us desk jockeys, being told to rest and relax for a couple of weeks would have little impact on our lives. For a pro baseball player in the middle of spring training -- even though the condition appears that it will go away on its own and is not chronic -- the timing just sucks.

And for a team like the Mets, who endured an epic avalanche of injuries last season, and is already starting the season without Carlos Beltran... well, I don't have to explain how bad it is.

What gets me -- but no longer surprises me -- is how so many fans and media types are falling over themselves playing doctor. Why doesn't he just take medication and get back out there? This can't possibly be because of diet or a virus! Something's fishy here!

Thankfully, there have been plenty of reports in various places quoting actual medical professionals, who say thyroid issues like this are not uncommon and completely treatable.

Joe and Evan -- after talking about thyroids for two hours on WFAN -- finally had an endocrinologist on their show Friday. It went something lke this:

FAN: Can it really be 2-8 weeks? They can't narrow that down?

DOC: Yes, that range is right. It depends on the person. Average is 3-4 weeks.

FAN: He can't play at all?

DOC: No, a 'fast' thyroid elevates the heart rate even at rest. Physical activity makes it worse, and can cause real problems with your heart.

FAN: Why doesn't he take medication?

DOC: In this case, it wouldn't do anything.

Well... OK, then.

The real trick will be to see if this knowledge changes the tone of guys like Benigno, who couldn't even pronounce endocrinologist when the doctor came on the air.

So what can you do? Like Mets fans do every year, hope for the best and that Reyes only misses the first 2 or 3 weeks of the season.

Is Reyes just really unlucky? I'm not sure. Let's just say I wouldn't share a cab with him or stand anywhere near him during a rainstorm anytime soon.

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