As the injuries accumulate for the Minnesota Twins and injured Twins struggle to make it back to the lineup effectively, plenty of questions have arisen regarding the medical care and oversight given to the Twins by their training staff. VeryWellThen.Com recently got a chance to sit down and ask some probing questions with one member of the Twins training staff, Theodoric of York, Medieval Twins Trainer.*
*Nothing was more required viewing for Monday morning pre-bell discussions in my junior high home room than Saturday Night Live episodes, especially those hosted by Steve Martin. [Original Video]
VeryWellThen: Thank you for agreeing to talk with us today, Theodoric.
Theodoric of York: Thank you for having me.
VWT: Before we discuss the numerous Twins injuries, I’d like to ask you a little about your background. According to the Twins’ press release, your medical credentials come from Yorkshire Tri-County Barber School. Is that correct?
TofY: Yes. As you may know, for much of the past millennia, medical services have been provided by barbers. I’m sure they told you back in grade school that the iconic red and white striped barber pole symbolizes the blood and bandages used in the profession. That’s pretty much what we’ve got here in the Twins’ clubhouse – blood and bandages (laughs).
VWT: Yes. Lots of them. Well, let’s start off with the injury most on the minds of Twins fans — that of Joe Mauer.
TofY: Oh. Yes. Joseph, son of Jake the Coach. Yes, a fine lad. Coming out of spring training, we were concerned whether his bodily humors were properly balanced for a full season of playing catcher and we did some tests on Joseph. We used a Caladrius Bird – an important diagnostic tool with an uncanny ability to detect illness. It first looked at Joseph’s face indicating that he did not need to go on the Disabled List, so we authorized Joseph to start the season with the team.
VWT: And do you feel you made the correct diagnosis?
TofY: Well, as it turns out, the bird may have been inadvertently attracted to the smell of Head and Shoulders Shampoo, causing it to turn its head the incorrect way. When we re-tested Joseph, the humors were clearly out of balance – “black bile-ateral weakness” was our revised prognosis.
VWT: How do you think that condition was exacerbated by Joe’s bout with a virus.
TofY: Actually, we intentionally introduced what you refer to as a “virus”. We of the medical arts refer to it as a “phlegmatic and coleric temper rebalancer.” We put it in his protein shake. We formulated it to shock the proper tempers so as to elevate his weaker humours to bring him into better balance.
VWT: So why did the flu-like symptoms pass through the clubhouse?
TofY: How were we supposed to know that Delmon, brother of Dmitri the Firstbaseman and Justin of the Northern Land would drink Joseph’s milkshake?
VWT: Okay. You brought him up. Let’s talk about Justin Morneau.
TofY: Well, when Justin of the Northern Land first came into the training room last July, we – consistent with the latest studies in the doctrine of signatures – ordered a poultice made of the seeds of skullcap to alleviate Justin’s head discomfort.
VWT: Do you think your efforts hastened what still ended up being a rather long recovery time?
TofY: Look, we do everything humanly possible, but we trainers are not gods. Medicine is not an exact science, but we are learning all the time. Why, just ten years ago, we would have told Justin to “suck it up” and “get back in the game” and that “it’s all just in your head,” but now we know better. We now know that Justin’s concussion was caused by a hex put on him by a Canadian warlock in retaliation for Justin competing against his homeland team — the warlock’s beloved Blue Jays.
VWT: Oh, yes, the slide into second base did take place in Toronto. And how have you been able to break the hex?
TofY: How did we “reverse the curse”? Is that what you’re asking? Well, we weren’t able to bring back Big Papi – a proven spell-breaker. We’ve tried a few approaches suggested by some of the Caribbean players, but they didn’t seem to have any effect on this particularly Canadian version of a hex. We’re not sure, but we believe the hex lifted due to the warlock’s concentration being re-focused on a new anger — things started to turn for the better right about the time that Justin Bieber lost the Grammy Award.
VWT: Interesting. Let’s turn to Joe Nathan.
TofY: Yes. Joseph of the A.J. Trade. I have to say, I’m a little embarrassed about his treatment. We used a procedure that I fear reflects badly upon the profession. A totally barbaric method, outright early-medieval. It consists of taking a tendon from the patient, drilling holes in his elbow and weaving the tendon through the elbow. Talk about unenlightened. I guess this was perfected on another gentleman allegedly from York, — a ‘Tommy John’ — though I had not heard of him nor of his father.
VWT: What was your preferred approach for Joe?
TofY: I had advocated for the much more modern idea to bury Joseph overnight up to his head in the on deck circle, but I guess it’s against the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
VWT: Let me go through a series of other injuries and you tell me what you have proposed for treatment. Ready.
VWT: Delmon Young
TofY: Blood letting
VWT: Kevin Slowey
TofY: Blood letting.
VWT: Jason Repko
TofY: Blood letting. And suppositories of calomel and jalap.
VWT: Suppositories? For a quadricep injury?
TofY: Oh….now….Who’s the barber?
VWT: Fair enough. Jim Thome
TofY: Oblique Injury. We’ve tried blood letting. Leeches. A worming. Nothing worked. I’ve talked to trainers on other teams – no one has any clue what to do about that.
VWT: Tsuyoshi Nishioka
TofY: We’ve got him up on the gibbet – sort of a rack – twice a day to stretch out his bones. He’s probably going to come back too tall to play second base. The Timberwolves appear interested, however.
VWT: All interesting remedies. But I have to say all very unorthodox. With all the injuries and unexpectedly long recovery time, I need to mention that there have been some rumblings about the job that the training staff has been doing for the Twins. Any comments?
TofY: Wait a minute. Perhaps our critics are right. Perhaps we have been wrong to blindly follow the traditions and superstitions of the past. Maybe we trainers should test our assumptions analytically, through experimentation and “scientific method.” Perhaps this “scientific method” can be extended to other fields in the baseball endeavors. Perhaps someday pitching staffs can be managed for optimal effectiveness instead of for contrived stats like “wins” and “saves”. Perhaps individual batting performance can be measured by more meaningful values like the ability to avoid an out rather than team-dependent stats like RBIs. Perhaps I could lead the way to a new way of thinking, an age of rebirth, a Renaissance!