Replaceability, Contingency, and Get Well Soon

Contingency Plan – An alternative for action if things don’t go as planned or if an expected result fails to materialize. [The Ohio State University]

When the Padres signed right-hander Doug Brocail this winter, I lumped the transaction in with several other moves, writing that I didn’t want to waste an entire entry on the likes of Brocail, or words to that effect. As a ballplayer, his accomplishments don’t present a particularly compelling tale — certainly no more so than those of, say, Jay Witasick or Antonio Osuna.

Brocail is, by all outward appearances, a generic middle reliever. A cog in the machine. A replaceable part.

But tell me about 99% blockage of the left anterior descending artery, invoke the names of former big-leaguers Darryl Kile and Rick Mahler, and I start to pay attention. You see, I don’t care all that much about Brocail as a pitcher — his repertoire and statistical record are virtually instinguishable from those of hundreds of other guys; I’m just as happy with Steve Reed or Scott Sullivan.

An angioplasty, on the other hand, is a different story altogether. Now we’re not talking about a pitcher, we’re talking about a guy with a family and a life to live.

I don’t know Brocail from Adam, and I couldn’t tell you anything about what kind of person he is, but in the wake of Kirby Puckett’s recent untimely passing, I expect I’m not the only one with mortality on the brain, so to speak. So tell me about nipping a heart problem in the bud and I’m on the edge of my seat.

Replaceable part, indeed.

People ask whether Brocail will pitch again. I say, Who cares? Not that it doesn’t matter, but dammit, he’s alive, and at the risk of sounding corny, that’s pretty special. Anything else is gravy.

As for who will fill Brocail’s spot in the Padres bullpen, there are plenty of options in camp. Plenty of contingency plans. I expect the situation will resolve itself one way or another, and in the grand scheme of things it won’t make much difference.

Meantime, here’s wishing Doug Brocail a speedy recovery and, if possible, a return to pitching for the Padres. If the latter turns out not to be in the cards, he’s always got life to fall back on.

I’d call that a solid contingency plan.

13 Responses »

  1. Well, I offer very little in baseball analytics, just a fan, but I can offer this small tip to coffee drinkers.

    Free SB coffee from 10-12 today. Enjoy.

  2. Agree, Goff, but I find is curious that a 99% blockage would go undetected. Don’t these guys get physicals? With such a blockage, his chol had to be elevated, not to mention his BP, and family hsitory (apparently father died of a HA). Brocail got lucky and thank goodness for his family and five daughters (somebody has to pay for those weddings). My point is he probably would have known about his heart if he got any kind of a phyical.

  3. Apparently, not.

    A friend who’s a surfer and has a family history of heart attact was very careful with getting check up once he hit 40. He also watched what he was eating and did lots of exercises.

    On one of his trip, he went surfing and had a heart attack and was lucky enough to swim himself to the shore instead of drowning.
    Got checked into the hospital and the doctor found 98% blockage and operated him within 24 hours. Three months prior to this he had some discomfort and the doctors that he visited wasn’t diligent enough to find anything wrong with him. Lucky for him, he’s alive today.

    A physical only apparently doesn’t show blockage. The human heart is an amazing thing. It still works with all that blockage.

  4. Yeah, I can second that. A co-worker was complaining of chest pains, saw his doctor who ran an EKG and some other tests. The doctor told him it was stress and he needed to relax. 3 days later he died of a heart attack in his sleep.

    Anyway, I hope Brocail can come back. Not from a selfish Padres fan point of view but I’m sure most of us would want to return to our careers after a health scare and none of us have jobs that are half as cool as major league pitcher.

  5. We don’t have Bobby Hill to kick around any more. Padres asked for waivers in order to provide him a complete release. htttp://

  6. GY – good words about Brocail … THANKS! Yes, the man matters!

    Anyone else into March Madness? I’ve created a “group” over at Yahoo …

    Group Name “Ducksnorts”
    Group Password “go padres”

  7. Thanks, LM, for setting that up — I haven’t been ignoring you, just haven’t had time to get around to it.

    On an unrelated note, the USA’s fate in the WBC rests in Chan Ho Park’s hands when Japan and Korea meet.

    Game will be broadcast live on Channel 4SD. I may fire up an IGD.

  8. Idiot. Tell them the game is tonight at 7 p.m. PT.

  9. Uh, what “game tonight”? WBC? South Korea vs. Japan …

    Then USA vs Mexico tomorrow @ 430pm … it might matter … it might not …

  10. Sorry, the previous message got caught in my spam catcher (good to see that it works!). Yes, the Korea – Japan game.

  11. I know you guys at ducksnorts already started a few fantasy baseball leagues at yahoo, but this for anyone who didn’t get in or wants to play in another league:

    I’m starting an NL Only Fantasy Baseball League on Yahoo! aimed at the kind of people who are interested in in-depth baseball analysis (baseball prospecuts, think factory, etc.) and read blogs. I’m posting this message on the blogs of a number of National League sites in the hopes of attracting quality players.

    It is a live draft this saturday at 3:30 pm ET (just in after the first NCAA game on Saturday and around the start of the next three — hopefully we will be done in time to watch the end of those games).

    The league can have up to 14 teams. It’s Head-to-Head, 5×5 with OBP instead of AVG. Weekly lineup changes. 8 starting batters, 8 starting pitchers, 5 bench, 2 DL. To sign up go to yahoo fantasy sports…

    The league id is 245082
    The password is nlonly

  12. Great write-up Geoff!

  13. Gee, now I’m worried about my own heart. I get physicals and workout a lot (AG triathlete) but I guess you can never tell. OTOH, its been beating for a long time, guess it can’t go on forever, i’d like a few more years though.