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"Paging Dr. Practice...Dr. Mal Practice"

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Editor's Note: This post is 60% tongue-in-cheek and 40% based on the belief that the A's medical staff can't actually tell a tongue from a cheek.

My standards for a doctor really aren't all that high. Basically, I want someone who understands the medical profession better than I do. That is really not a high standard, as I have been known to utter, with alarming frequency, phrases like "gluteous maximum," "between my spleens," "are the quads the ones in the front or back?" and "plantar fascist".

And I don't blame the A's crack medical team (and by "crack medical team" I do refer to "what they must be smoking when they analyze a medical situation") for Crosby's injuries (they have not been preventable, as no small-market team can afford that much bubble wrap), or Duchscherer's elbow tendinitis (it happens), or Kotsay's back troubles (chronic, and predating his arrival in Oakland)--there has certainly been some bad luck involved.

But folks...

  • Here's a real "stumper": A guy is supposed to throw 92-93 MPH and he keeps topping out at 85 MPH. He says he's not injured. Dr. Nico and Captain Obvious huddle in a corner and conclude... "Y'know, I think he's injured." Duh. The A's failure to reach this incredibly self-evident conclusion has cost Dan Meyer somewhere between two years and an entire career, and has cost the A's every start Esteban Loaiza made in April and May.

  • Jay Witasick has been out 3.5 months with a sprained ankle. That's 13 weeks, or a 1/4 of a year. Ever had a sprained ankle or had a friend who did? Even a bad one? (Bad sprain, not friend.) Dr. Nico and Captain Obvious huddle in a corner and conclude... "3.5 months with a sprained ankle???" (In fairness, the A's medical crew doesn't appear too familiar with some of those new-fangled treatments like acupuncture, and maybe the leeches haven't been taking.)

  • Eric Chavez has pain in his forearms, so the A's did an MRI on his forearms a couple weeks ago. It isn't getting better, so a couple days ago they did an MRI higher up on the arm and said if that doesn't reveal the problem they'll just keep going up higher and higher. Dr. Nico and Captain Obvious huddle in a corner and conclude... "OK, so we know that the hip bone is connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone is connected to the rib bone...so it wouldn't be `breaking news' to learn that the source of an injury may not be exactly where it hurts. Eric Chavez makes $11million a year. I think Chavez and the A's can afford to have more than one MRI taken per visit." Or does Blue Cross refuse to cover MRIs of the forearms, upper arms, shoulder, and neck all at once, because Chavez has a pre-condition of existing?

So here I am, owning only the fake medical degree I got from sending in 7 box tops of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs, wondering why a team of highly trained specialists can't figure out a way to stop Milton Bradley from tripping over first base when he had to know it was there, and why the staff can't get past `A' in the Yellow Pages to recommend a better restaurant than Applebees.

I don't notice a lot of skin problems, though, I'll give `em that.