Is this John Lackey all over again?
You remember. Everyone killed Lackey in 2011. He was terrible. The worst pitcher in baseball history. Then it was revealed that he was forcing himself to play through a pretty significant injury. That’s why he was terrible. He was sacrificing himself to try and help the team. He should have been celebrated like Schilling was, not buried.
Then we come to Panda.
He’s lousy. He’s so fat! The guy’s so fat he can’t even throw! He can’t even bend over far enough to field a grounder! He’s not even as good as a mediocre minor leaguer at third base! What? His shoulder is strained? He’s so fat he hurt himself on the bench! Did he strain his shoulder because his fork was too heavy?
But, reports are that his shoulder is actually a mess. We’re not quite sure when this happened. But, since we can’t pinpoint a time, wouldn’t that suggest it’s been a while? At least all season? After all, he’s played so little this year that if he hurt himself, we would have noticed. At least while he was struggling through his fielding in Spring? At least while he, for some reason, needed to play for his job?
Maybe it’s been bothering him for a while? Maybe that’s why he had a sudden drop in production last year? Maybe he’s been pulling a Pedroia. Acting tough while trying to play through an injury when you’re actually hurting the team. Pedroia gets applauded for that. Panda, apparently, gets scolded.
And that’s too bad. What if Panda has been doing exactly what he thought that everyone wants him to do? He didn’t whine. He didn’t blame his injury. (People hate it when you do that, for some reason.) He suffered through it quietly. Yeah, it’s stupid to do that. But, the rest of Red Sox nation thinks it’s the thing to do.
Maybe it’s time fans stop doing that. Maybe if you’re injured, you should just tell everyone. Maybe you should rest so it gets better. Maybe if Panda had done that, his performance wouldn’t have suffered.
Maybe people would call him lazy.
But, apparently they’ll do that either way.