In case you slept through yesterday, Tom Brady made a visit to New York and was photographed wearing a walking boot on his right foot. (It was prominently circled in red by the morons at the NY Post, who were probably paying deference to the fact that most of their reading audience doesn't know their right from their left.) Anyway, to say it ruined my morning and the morning of my loved ones is an understatement of epic proportions. In between trips running to the bathroom to throw up blood, I got calls from both my mother AND brother, saying, "Did you hear about Brady's foot!?!" I would have preferred to begin the morning with a subpoena and a broken tooth. Thankfully, Tom Terrific showed up later walking tall in pointy-toed cowboy boots, probably hoping to stave off a mass suicide of New Englanders.
Anyway, during all this I had a flashback to a similar episode a lot of people won't even remember unless they were diehard Sox fans back in 1986, the year Roger Clemens really arrived. Yes, I know I can't speak of him now without spitting nails, but this was back in the day before he became a bloated caricature of himself and a national punchline. He was 23, young and slim (really!) and we were going to ride that golden arm to the promised land. He was absolutely amazing to watch, and had as dominating a year as I have ever seen before or since. So what happened? It's funny, because I really couldn't find any web references to it, and I had to go to my Red Sox Century book to refresh myself on the details, although I remember the emotion like it was yesterday. It was almost the last regular season game of the year, the Sox were playing the Orioles, and Clemens was on the mound. Second inning-whap! Clemens gets nailed in the elbow by a line drive off the bat of John Stefaro. Gave us all-and I mean the entire states of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and half of Connecticut-a collective heart attack. We couldn't've been more panicked if Godzilla had been strolling through town. I was in agony-THE PLAYOFFS WERE ONLY A COUPLE DAYS AWAY, AND OUR BEST PITCHER MAY BE OUT!!!!! (It didn't help matters any that the Sox FO then threw it in Clemens' face, saying-on the eve of the playoffs, mind you-that they wouldn't give him more than a two-year contract because of concerns about the injury.) X-rays were negative, and Clemens did pitch in the postseason...but he really was nowhere near the pitcher in the playoffs that he had been during the season, although how much can be put down to the elbow injury, overuse during the season (he threw ten complete games that year) or just him being pissed off at Gorman is hard to say.
So, yes...I saw all of that within seconds of seeing the boot on Brady's foot yesterday, most glaringly the part about the dropoff in performance that came after being hit...are Tom's cowboy boots the equivalent of Roger's clear X-ray...? But Tom said he was going to be all right. Tom's dad said he was going to be all right. Every orthopedist in Boston has weighed in on this, and they all think he is going to be all right. There are absolutely no parallels between an injury to the star pitcher 21 years ago just before the World Series-and the worst championship loss in Boston's history-and an injury to the star quarterback just before the Super Bowl, right?