Best Books For Ironman Training in 2023
The Triathlete's Training Bible: The Worldâ€™s Most Comprehensive Training Guide, 4th Ed.
Strength Training for Triathletes: The Complete Program to Build Triathlon Power, Speed, and Muscular Endurance
Fast-Track Triathlete: Balancing a Big Life with Big Performance in Long-Course Triathlon
Triathlete Magazine's Essential Week-by-Week Training Guide: Plans, Scheduling Tips, and Workout Goals for Triathletes of All Levels
The Complete IRONMANÂ®: The Official Illustrated Guide to the Ultimate Endurance Race
Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds
Be IronFit: Time-Efficient Training Secrets for Ultimate Fitness
The Triathlon Training Book: How to Be Faster, Smarter, Stronger
The Endurance Training Diet & Cookbook: The How, When, and What for Fueling Runners and Triathletes to Improve Performance
Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body (Muscle for Life Book 1)
Putting Cal Ripken's MLB Consecutive Games Played Streak in Modern Perspective
Cal Ripken's ironman record for consecutive games played is made all the more incredible by the Prima Donas who play today's game.
Ripken received tremendous fame and fanfare for the feat. Personally, I found it to be a great accomplishment, as it is certainly difficult to go 2,131 consecutive days at anything without an absence. At the same time, I was slightly perplexed by the degree of media attention. After all, baseball is not exactly the most physically grueling of sports. With few and relatively rare exceptions, the sport is largely non-contact in nature. Yes, there is the occasional collision at the plate, the infrequent hit by pitch, and the occasional collision with a well-padded outfield wall. But aside from these generally rare occurrences, baseball is far from a rugged sport. It certainly pales in comparison to football, hockey, and even basketball, where hard screens, elbows under the boards, and offensive foul collisions all combine with several miles of hard sprinting to make the average college and professional game an ironman event in its own right.
So why, I wondered, was it thought such a big deal for a professional player to go fourteen seasons without missing a baseball game?
Today, the answer is far more clear and one worthy of no sugar coating. Ripken's streak was a legendary accomplishment because Major League Baseball players are, quite simply, spoiled pansies who are more than happy to sit out for the most trivial of reasons.
Just look at MLB's "Disabled List" at any given point in time for the proof. You will find countless players declared disabled for "injuries" ranging from sprained thumbs, sore ring fingers, strained obliques, nagging hamstrings, and a variety of objectively unverifiable ailments. How often do we see a player exit a game and land on the DL after stepping awkwardly onto first base or sliding too hard into second?
Having lived in Atlanta for seven years, I continue to follow the Braves. Chipper Jones, for all of his fanfare in Atlanta, has to be the team's poster boy for lame injuries. He has not played a full season since 2003. He has regularly appeared on the DL for the following ailments: a "nagging hamstring," an injured foot, a strained oblique, and sore hands. The injuries are usually mysterious in nature. That injured foot, which bought him several weeks of missed action in 2020, occurred after he stepped across home plate after a teammate's outfield hit. There was no slide, no collision, no impact whatsoever. And still Jones ran straight off of the field, into the club house, complaining of a sharp sensation in the foot. The sore hands that kept him out for weeks on end this past season resulted from a base running play at third base when Jones was upended, at low speed, by the opposing third baseman. He landed on the outstretched palms of both hands and then writhed on the field seemingly forever. Nothing was broken, but somehow this injury resulted in unrelenting pain, and a corresponding absence from the lineup, for a period of weeks.
Seriously, can anyone imagine any NFL player missing a game, let alone a quarter of a season, because of sore hands? Or a strained oblique? When was the last time that a hockey player missed a game for a sore finger? And for those who would argue that the hand is more critical in baseball, how often do basketball players skip games for sprained fingers? Jammed and swollen fingers are virtually a daily occurrence in basketball. The same injury in baseball routinely results in 7 - 10 missed games.
Chipper Jones is no anomaly. Teammate Edgar Renteria hit the DL after "suffering" a high ankle sprain while fielding a ground ball. His first return to action came in a plate appearance weeks later. Renteria stepped backwards to avoid a slightly inside pitch. He then bent over, the trainer visited, and suddenly Edgar headed to the dugout, having "reaggravated" his injury. The incident was reminiscent of Quilvio Veras's career ending injury, also in Atlanta, when he too merely stepped out of the batter's box in response to an inside pitch. Yes, leave it to professional baseball to prove to the world what a dangerous maneuver a backwards step can be.
Baseball players are indeed becoming legendary for absurd injuries. We all remember Sammy Sosa's sneeze induced back injury. Marty Cordova burned himself in a tanning booth and missed the following day's game as a result. The list goes on and on.
Why should we care? Because as fans who finance these absurdly paid athletes, we deserve better. When a family of four lays out a couple hundred bucks to watch a single game, the multi-millionaire players should be able to play through a strained oblique or sore ring finger.