O’s Bergesen injured – who shoulders the blame?

February 12, 2010 | Drew Forrester

OK, first things first.

Baseball players have a habit of picking up injuries in weird, tell-me-it-didn’t-really-happen-that-way form. Guys have suffered injuries reaching for the phone in their hotel room, or by washing their car, or by bumping their head on a water fountain in a mall.  Remember Marty Cordova of the O’s? He once fell asleep in a tanning bed and suffered facial burns.

Add O’s pitcher Brad Bergesen to the list of those suffering weird injuries.

Oddly enough, I was watching the UMBC/Hartford college basketball game on MASN last night when lo and behold, on came an Orioles commercial.  It was Bergesen, in the indoor pitching area at Camden Yards, talking about coming back and working hard and breaking a sweat and getting people out in 2010. By the end of the commercial, he was in game-form, firing strikes and looking like he was in the 6th inning of a mid-July home outing.

Honestly, I thought the commercial was kind of peculiar.  ”They couldn’t show some of his best strike-outs and a diving catch or two by Adam Jones and do better than that?” I said to myself.

As it turns out, Bergesen now wishes they would have done that type of commercial too.

The pitcher suffered a strained right shoulder filming the commercial back in December and will now apparently miss the first 10 days of spring training because of it.  He has resumed light throwing recently, but won’t be ready to go full bore for at least another month.

So on how earth did this happen?

For starters, you can blame Bergesen, who by his own admission, grabbed a ball and went to the mound to start throwing heat.  No warm-up, no soft-toss for 20 minutes, no loosening up.

That was a mistake, obviously.

And who within the Orioles organization knew of this commercial being shot?  Anyone?

For all we know, the folks at MASN might have sidestepped the O’s executive ladder and just obtained Bergesen’s number through a PR staffer. Why wasn’t someone from baseball operations on hand at the shooting to make sure Bergesen didn’t – ahem – injure his shoulder?

I guess they figured Bergesen would be smart enough to warm up…that’s my guess.

But still, when you’re talking about (potentially) million dollar arms, shouldn’t the pitcher have a front office valet on hand to make sure the commercial goes right?  ”Can I get you some water?” – or – “Is the temperature right for you?” – or – “You need to throw 50 warm-up pitches before you start going after it, Brad”.  I can think of a couple of folks who would qualify for that valet-role, but it’s 2010 and the new Drew will let you do the creative thinking part on this one.

It appears like this is nothing serious.  Everyone is saying the right thing.  It’s just one of those whacky baseball injuries that occurs from time to time and as long as there’s no lasting or significant damage, all’s well that ends well.

But in the future, we all hope the Orioles are a bit smarter when they farm out their talented employees for TV commercials.  Even Andy MacPhail has noted publicly that in the future, the Birds and their front office will be a little more (OK, a lot more) aware of what’s going on with the players in circumstances like these.

Note to the club:  Don’t ever have someone appearing in a spot with that Juicer guy.  That’s a connection to avoid in baseball.

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