If I Never Got Hurt Last Year...

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If I Never Got Hurt Last Year...
It's done. There's nothing I can do about it. These are the two phrases I tell myself every morning that I wake up not with my team in New York but with a minor league franchise based out of Nashville. I got hurt a year ago. My surgery was 385 days ago. Physically, I'm fine. Mentally, I just can't get over myself. I've been a starting pitcher since Little League. Heck, in 1980 I threw my first no-hitter, all 6 innings of it (I hit a home run too). Relief pitchers can't throw no-hitters. Relief pitchers put out fires other people started, usually starting pitchers (like I used to be). Relief pitchers wait, warm up, sit down, warm up, sit down, get angry with their manager, then shower and never get in the game. Relief pitchers get frustrated and have to have incredible egos and incredible self-confidence. If I never got hurt last year, I wouldn't have to think about this. But I did get hurt. And now I'm a relief pitcher. There's nothing I can do about it.

I'm not a control freak, or never was before. But I think I'm becoming one. Is that possible? To change later in life from a colorful, flexible fellow to a colorful control freak? I guess so. It's happening to me. Just like that injury. It is what it is, as someone recently said.

I don't like to sulk. It generally doesn't get me anywhere. I spent about 180 of the last 385 days sulking and all it did was get me fat and help me notice the bald spot growing on my forehead. Valuable lesson learned. If I'd never gotten hurt last year, I'd never know sulking was bad.

Relief pitchers can't sulk. They have to be ready every day to play, kind of like outfielders, only more in charge than outfielders, who just stand around waiting for something to happen to them. Relief pitchers make things happen. Pitchers make things happen. I've always been a pitcher. Always tried to make things happen - good things. Maybe I've always been a control freak and didn't know it.

Imagine if you spent your whole life doing something, then something happens and you can't do that thing anymore. Like breathing. Imagine if you could breathe your whole life, then you suddenly can't. It stinks. Horrible metaphor, but that's how I felt while sulking. I couldn't breathe. I thank my lucky stars, I thank God, Yahweh, Buddha, Reagan - I thank who or whatever it is/was that taught me to breathe again. Now I'm breathing one inning a day, one day at a time. I'm used to 7 innings every fifth day. So if I can get around the possibility that I could conceivably pitch 7 innings in a week (one per day - stay with me), I'm therefore pitching just as much as I ever did before. I'm just spreading it out.

It's like if you put a big hamburger on your plate. You want to eat it. And there's a lot of it. Now put that same hamburger, cut up, onto 25 plates. It's not as effective, in terms of presentation to one's hunger palette, as one big burger on one plate. I used to eat one big burger every fifth day. Now I'm eating White Castle every day.

There's more. If I never got hurt last year, I wouldn't have spent as much time with my family last year as I did. Which makes this time, right now, even harder. You get used to things. I was used to a life on the road before the injury. Then I got used to life at home. Yes I was sulking, but I was doing it in the presence of my wife and daughters. They hated me for it, but that's their problem. Now, I'm healthy and on the road again (17 of the first 24 days of the Hounds' season are on the road - and my family isn't even staying with me in my Nashville trailer). And I'm missing my three girls (I threw my wife in there as a "girl" to make her feel better after my previous "that's their problem" statement regarding my sulking at home earlier in this paragraph. Oh, I could have deleted the statement and never had to throw in the "girl" line as an apology gift to my wife, but I didn't so sue me.) Bottom line: If I never got hurt, I never would have known how important my family is to me.

There are other things that have happened that may not have occurred. If I never got hurt last year...
  • I never would have had the off season contract dispute with the team.
  • The Vets wouldn't have had to fire Larry Picketts and hire Rick Churches to manage.
  • I never would have gotten into heated arguments, many times publicly, with Rick Churches because he wouldn't be my manager, laid back Larry Picketts would be.
  • Rick Churches would still be in the NYS (our regional sports network) broadcast booth, not managing, and my father, "Red" Scott, would still be anywhere but New York broadcasting games.

If I never got hurt last year...

  • I'd already have my 300 wins. Now, as a reliever, it may take me 3 seasons to win 13 more games. Do I want to play that much longer? More important, does anybody else want me to play that much longer?
  • I never would have started this blog.
  • I'd still be talking to the media.
  • I never would have "grown" and "matured" and would be my old, happy, ignorant, lovable self.
  • I wouldn't be in as good a shape as I'm in right now.
  • I wouldn't be playing in the minor leagues, on rehab assignment. I'd be in New York on a starting assignment.

If I never got hurt last year...

  • My Nashville Hounds would probably have a better record than 4 and 16.
  • I probably would not be a de facto owner of my Nashville Hounds, thanks to billionaire Charlie Walker.
  • I never would have met Andy, my personal trainer who also serves as my security "detail" in Nashville. (He's very big. Don't mess with him.)
  • I never would have been sued by the team psychologist (not psychiatrist - there's a difference), Dr. Henry Cohegans, for breaking the terms of our confidentiality agreement because I wouldn't be blogging or even going to him because I never got hurt.

If I never got hurt last year...

  • I never would have had public run-ins with my father, "Red" Scott, NYS broadcaster who's mad at me for not talking to the media (him) on the record but blogging instead.
  • I never would have been as fulfilled as I am right now with my life.
  • I never would have been turned into a relief pitcher.

You know what? It happened. It just did. And there's nothing I can do about it except move on. No more sulking. No more regrets. I got hurt last year and now I'm better. I can't wait to prove myself again in New York.

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