Oakland Athletics: Shoulder surgery, 9/11 and baseball

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 30: Sean Manaea
OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 30: Sean Manaea /

The Oakland Athletics will play twelve of their remaining eighteen games on the road beginning tonight in Baltimore.

Normally I’d say it’s a less than ideal scenario for a team chasing down an improbable postseason berth, but the Oakland Athletics have already shown they are up to the task of winning away from the Coliseum.

With a 41-28 away record, the A’s should have little trouble handling the 102-loss Orioles. The only force strong enough to throw the A’s off course at this point may be the weather as Hurricane Florence begins to bear down on the East Coast beginning Thursday.


It is with a heavy heart that I write today’s blog. There’s never a good way to approach the ugliness and heartbreak this day brings with it.

It’s been seventeen years since 9/11, but every anniversary since has been a horrific reminder of the loss and feelings each of us experienced as we watched nearly 3,000 people perish.

It was a day where the world came to a screeching halt. This morning, like every other 9/11, I forced myself to relive the images and tragedies that consumed us, and I couldn’t help but feel like today, maybe the world should stop once more.

The pain of it all still feels so fresh, and each year, on this day, I struggle emotionally to get through to tomorrow.

I also still haven’t determined if it’s cathartic to write about it or if others would rather the topic wasn’t so far-reaching on this day because it reminds them of things they’d prefer to forget.

This anniversary, I decided to briefly write about it. Writing, for better or for worse, is my contribution to the world and if someone reading this is comforted knowing that today, others around them share in their pain, then maybe my time putting pen to paper is well spent.

The events of 9/11 were dark, but not dark enough to dampen the resiliency of the American spirit. The days that followed the attacks were met with great heroism, courage, and acts of valor.

To this day, I have yet in my lifetime to see our country as unified as it was during the weeks after 9/11. Divisiveness faded, and for a short time, we were all neighbors, as we should be every day.

When I think back to how we suffered together, I also remember how we began to heal. For many, baseball was the catalyst.

The return of baseball to home parks around the nation provided a sense of normalcy. Amidst safety concerns, fans, friends, families, and players all took a small step towards hope by filling stadiums together and demonstrating that our lives would not be ruled by fear.

I could sit here and fumble through all of the words that symbolize the spirit of the American people in the weeks following 9/11, but there are times when words fall short. Instead, this is one of those moments that must be felt. Please, have a look.

My eyes tear up each time I watch it, but it’s also the video that takes me out of the darkness and back towards the light on this anniversary of 9/11. The roars of the crowd undeniably ring true with hope and faith that life could be normal once more.

Something as simple as sharing a baseball game together showed that even though our resolve had been tested, we would persevere, together as brothers and sisters.

On this day, seventeen years ago, I remember not knowing how to move forward. In the days that followed, I remember baseball being the medicine I needed to tell myself it was ok to start to live again.

Sean Manaea

While writing this, news broke about Sean Manaea. Susan Slusser, the A’s beat writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, tweeted this after speaking with Bob Melvin.

For those A’s fans who are unaware of Slusser’s work, seek it out and follow her on Twitter. She is a tireless worker who always has her finger on the pulse of this team.

The news, simply put, is terrible. Sean Manaea has been known to have shoulder issues previously and a shoulder surgery that shelves him for all of next season leaves all kinds of question marks for our rotation moving into next year.

First and foremost is Manaea’s overall health. Recovery from shoulder surgery is a long and grueling process when you’re not a pitcher.

So when you’re talking about missing all of the 2019 season, it’s safe to say that the baseball part of all of this is a low priority.  May Manaea’s surgery leave him in good health and with a chance to successfully return to the game he clearly loves.

More from Oakland A's News

These injuries aren’t just an Oakland Athletics’ problem, it’s a league-wide issue. The body simply can’t withstand the stress of trying to throw a ball a hundred miles per hour repeatedly year after year.

This epidemic will continue and at some point, I believe baseball will have to address the solution beginning with children in little league. Increased repetitions at a younger age have led to arms that are overworked even before they reach college ball.

Slusser reports that ten starting pitchers for the Oakland Athletics have now had injuries this season.

I’m not a fan of bullpen games, or the “opener” strategy, but with this rash of pitching injuries across baseball, it’s not difficult to imagine a future where starting pitchers become extinct.

If repetitions are causing the arm injuries, it stands to reason that pitching specialists who only throw an inning or two may become the norm across baseball as we move forward.

Life, mixed with baseball

For me, life and baseball always seem to intertwine. If you’ve read my past blogs, you know this to be the case. There are life lessons out there on that field, and equally as many shared in the stands.

Normally, I’d include far more talk about the Oakland Athletics, or the postseason hunt, but tonight, I just don’t have it in me. My mind is too clouded with memories of 9/11 and I’m also anxiously watching as Hurricane Florence continues to grow stronger over the Atlantic waters.

Next. Oakland Athletics: It's time to slow down and enjoy the ride. dark

For any of you in it’s path, I hope you will heed the warnings. Most important, take care of one another. We’re stronger when we work together.