Dear Joe Nathan,
Sorry to hear about your elbow. Man, that must suck. It sucks for me, and I’m just a fan. You’re the one with the bum elbow and the tough decisions.
You are, like, all that any of us bloggers are talking about here on the Twins-based internet (the Twins-ernet?). Howard over at the Strib – you know, that Section 219/220 (whatever it takes) guy – he even linked to a medical video that showed how Tommy John Surgery is performed.
Wow. That Tommy John thing is really something. I’m sure Dr. Andrews already told you all this, but I was amazed to learn they take a tendon from another part of your body and loop it into your damaged elbow to stabilize everything.
But I also learned something else. Sometimes they don’t use your tendon. Sometimes they insert the tendon from another donor. Well, that got me to thinking… and I got this idea.
You see, it’s not like I’m ever going to have a baseball career or anything. I mean, let’s face it, my shot at glory has faded. But then I just get ideas like the one I just mentioned and there seems to be some glimmer of hope.
So I’ll just say it.
Joe. It would be so incredibly awesomely cool if … if you’d use my tendon for your Tommy John Surgery. I mean, if that’s the route you’re going to go.
I mean, I’m just imagining you coming in and blowing away Pujols on a nasty slider to lock down the 2011 World Series, and I’d be high-fiving my friends at the bar and screaming… SCREAMING!!!… at the top of my lungs, “That’s my tendon! That’s my Palmaris Longus Tendon!” Oh gawd, that’d be awesome.
I’ve always said I’d give a testicle to be a major league baseball player. And here I’d only have to give up a little ole arm tendon I rarely use [Note to self: check on limitations of missing P/L tendon. Can I still type? Click a mouse?]. I mean, it still wouldn’t be me out there mowing ‘em down – you’d be doing all the real work. But just knowing that there’s this little part of me helping out … that’s all I’ve ever wanted. Don’t worry, they’d still be cheering for you, Joe. But I’d hear Target Field a’rockin and though they’d be chanting “Joe! Joe! Joe!” I’d hear them chanting my name instead. It would be like one of those fantasy baseball camps times a million.
I’d even pay you to take my tendon. No, really! I (as in ME) pay YOU for MY body part. [That way, I don’t even think it would trigger any of those anti-organ-selling laws.] I’d be willing to go as much as $500. I’d offer more, but I still need, like, my MLB Extra Innings package and everything.
I’d have to ask that the Twins pick up the cost of my surgery too. Do you think they’d spring for that? It’s medically related to your surgery, after all. And one more thing… after my tendon is harvested (yes, that’s the medical term) I’d like that the surgeon work with a tattoo artist to have my arm-stitches look like stitches on a baseball. [Do'ya like that? Maybe you could do the same thing with your stitches.] As for my stitches, when I’m at the bar, with my friends, and us cheering you and the World Champion Minnesota Twins (yow!), I would show everyone my baseball stitches to emphasize my point. You gotta admit, Joe. That’d be so eff’ing cool.
Let’s say that we keep this a secret, Joe. If word got out there, I know there’d be others who’d pay dearly to do the same thing — I probably shouldn’t have told you that : ) But, as I’m sure you’re aware, there are a lot of obsessed fans out there. I mean, how many guys have had there ashes scattered at old Yankee stadium? You can buy a coffin with a licensed Red Sox logo on it, for christsake.
I’ll be honest, it’s not like I’m going to get far in a bidding war. But since it was my idea Joe, if you pick me, I’ll be sure you get the credit for all this. I mean, why hasn’t anybody else thought of this?! This is the next big thing in athlete and celebrity endorsements.
You could be the pioneer of this, Joe. Tommy John was first with the surgery and his surgery fame has outperformed even the fame of his very fine pitching career. You, too, could live on immortally. Every pitcher with a torn UCL will face the same reporter question: “So, Tommy John Surgery, huh? Who’re you going to grant your Joe Nathan Rights to?“
You should probably check with Dr. Andrews to be sure this would work. Maybe he wants a better “specimen” than me – I’m not in too bad of shape or anything, I got this treadmill in my office and all. But maybe there’s like a blood-type compatibility thing. Wouldn’t that be awful, Joe, if your body rejected my tendon after the transplant? And what if that happened in the bottom of the ninth in the ALCS against the Yankees? I’d be to Twins’ fans what Bartman is to Cubs’ fans.
So maybe I should think this through a bit.
You know what, Joe? I don’t need to think about it.
I can’t worry about what might go wrong. I’m willing to take that chance. I got to go seize the moment. And if A-Rod knocks one out of the park, so be it. The grumpy columnists might be unkind, but I have to be fearless and not let the fear of failure control my life.
But you know that. That’s the heart of a being a closer. And maybe, the tiny little woven elbow-bracing tendon of a closer too.
With or without me, Joe, good luck with the decision.
Your Brother In Arms (ya’ think?)
[UPDATE: The post above was originally posted on March 12, 2010 while Joe Nathan was facing the decision on whether or not to have Tommy John surgery. The next day Howard Sinker of the Minneapolis Star Tribune gave my post a prominent (and kind) excerpt and link on the Strib's Twins website. Joe elected to have the surgery using his own ligament. The surgery was performed on March 26. The Star Tribune quoted Joe, just before the surgery, as saying "I told him to put Usain Bolt's ligament in there if they have to." I like to think that Joe Nathan was inspired to make the joke of using another person's ligament after reading or hearing about my post.]