Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Dodgers Are Anxious

And they should be.  They don't know when or if their relief pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo will return to the lineup.  Right now he's on the disabled list.  That's bad for the team.  The fact that the team is openly saying why he's on the disabled list is a huge step toward the normalization of mental illness.  In a sport plagued by such ailments as torn rotator cuffs, pulled ham strings, and fractured pinkie fingers physical injuries or conditions are de rigueur.  The mere mention of even an emotional vulnerability seems foreign.  Why, the medical profession has even immortalized at least two Major League Superstars:  Tommy John Surgery and Lou Gehrig Disease.  (It should probably be mentioned that while Tommy John actually underwent the surgery bearing his name Lou Gehrig might not have suffered and died from the disease bearing his name.)
Such are the vagaries of fate or language.  Take your pick. Anyway, Hong-Chih Kuo is not able at least for awhile to perform the job related duties for which he was hired because he suffers from a mental illness and it's kicking up right now.  That's right, folks.  He suffers from a mental illness.  That's what an anxiety disorder is just as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a physical disease.  It's just that ALS, while it has downright terror associated with it, doesn't carry around the stigma that goes along with anxiety disorders or any other mental illness for that matter.
So that's what makes Hong-Chih Kuo and the Dodgers pretty amazing.  They came out and said what the deal was and made mental illness just as respectable as broken elbows and bruised shins.
More than his pitching records and game saves matter, Hong-Chih Kuo has helped win the battle against marginalizing people who suffer mental illness.
That's a save in anyone's book.

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