Cubs staff needs to speak our language

By Kyle Betts

There is a significant distinction between normal English and sports English. Both use the same grammar and vocabulary, but the actual meaning behind the words tends to get lost in translation.

For example, when an athlete says he’s happy to be in a new town that he just signed with, he really means he’s happy someone is paying him a ton of money to play there. Or when a coach says he will stick by a player despite bad performances (think Lovie Smith saying, “Rex is our quarterback”), they really mean there is no one better on the roster to replace him.

See what I mean?

Well, there is one group in the sports world I just can’t seem to figure out: the athletic trainers for the Chicago Cubs.

It seems like every time the trainers make a diagnosis of an injury and set a timetable for how long the player will be out, they are completely off.

Let’s take the recent injury of Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano.

On Sunday, the trainers said that Soriano would only miss about 3-5 days, which was the amount of time it would take the swelling to decrease.

Then, just days later, the trainers changed their mind and said Soriano would most likely miss 1-2 weeks.

Now, I understand the difference between 3-5 days and 1-2 weeks isn’t that big, especially during spring training, but this isn’t the first, and probably won’t be the last time that the Cubs trainers have made this kind of “mistake.”

Remember the Mark Prior/Kerry Wood traveling injury carnival? We were told these guys would miss a couple months, but they ended up missing years.

In Prior’s case, the trainers were so far off that it not only led to his eventual exit from Chicago, but it might have severely altered what could have been an amazing career.

The worst part of the whole thing is that the trainers always underestimate the amount of time that a player will be out. Then when the injury requires more missed games than originally expected, it makes the injury seem much more demoralizing.

To help bridge the communication gap between the trainers and the fans, I’ve decided to come up with my own equation for figuring out the actual time missed for an injury to a Cubs player:

Original Injury Recovery Time (in weeks) x 2 + 1 week for rehab/recovery/safety = Actual Injury Recovery Time

I have no athletic training experience or advanced knowledge of mathematics (obviously), ,but I think I will be a lot closer in my assessment of time missed due to an injury with this equation than the Cubs trainers will.

Call it a “prepare for the worst but hope for the best” strategy, but it’s better than what Cubs fans are getting now.

I think Lou Piniella agrees too because I know Lou and I are speaking the same language when he said this: “The trainer said three to five days, and when they tell me three days, I would say five.”

Kyle Betts is a senior in Communications. He can be reached at [email protected]