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Fasten Your Seat Belts: It's Gonna Be A Bumpy Ride

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I'm not talking about the season; I'm talking about January. The next 31 days will see AN besieged by a cacophony of leadership blunders the likes of which will, by comparison, make Don Nomura appear to be sane, Bob Geren appear to be "one step ahead of the competition," Ed Crosby appear to be objective and diplomatic, and the McCourts appear able to balance business and personal feelings.

Yes, gigglingone has been banned strictly because she has three g's in her user name and that suddenly struck me as suspicious.

Sure, perhaps it showed poor judgment and bad role-modeling when I got a phone call yesterday asking if I'd donate money to support Alzheimer's research and I replied, "No, and you called five minutes ago!" In my meager defense, I didn't actually say it, I just thought it, and let's face it: if thoughts were CGVs we would all be banned (not just gigglingone -- seriously, how many g's does a user name need to have? Troll!!!).

Should I have changed the site's name to Nico's Funhouse Of Fun without so much as consulting the moderators? Well, how could I when I just banned one of them -- but no, I probably shouldn't have done that. Yet it's January and these things just happen.

It's a force out of my control -- kind of like the infield fly rule -- and it has become a time-honored tradition on AN. In January, everything is my fault. I'm sorry. Or I will be on February 1st. Right now, I'm too busy arranging for an A's logo to be dropped onto Adrian Beltre's head. Now, onto some baseball talk...Warning: cold front ahead.

I've been watching Ken Burns' documentary on baseball and so I've been pondering "baseball then" and "baseball now" quite a bit. Listening to old-time players talk about old-time baseball is to hear, "We didn't have relievers then; you were expected to go 9 innings," and "In 1946, Bob Feller completed 36 games, winning 26." He threw 371.1 IP that season, and as you know he wasn't exactly a soft-tosser.

Now you can talk all you want about the advent of the slider and how hard it is on the arm, or about how pitching is just bad for your arm, period, but the bottom line is that just 50-60 years ago pitchers were throwing plenty hard, throwing breaking pitches, and able to stay healthy, and to pitch numbers of innings that are simply unheard of today, and what it leaves me wondering is this: As far as we have come in so many ways, have we really come forward that much -- or at all -- when it comes to caring for a pitcher's arm?

Tim Lincecum is proof that it is at least possible to stay healthy, while throwing hard, without icing your arm. Why does this miniscule sample size impress me? Perhaps because intuitively, icing seems like a bad idea to me. I see pitchers with a huge ice pack on their arm between innings and it seems like the wrong approach. You want to slow down blood flow to prevent a wound from swelling, not to soothe muscles that have just been used and are still being used. I would think that gentle massaging of the muscles, if anything, would be most helpful, perhaps a little damp heat, but ice?

The times I've found myself using ice, no one has ever advised me, "Now go out in 10 minutes and put lots of strain on those muscles again." I'm no doctor, physical therapist, or trainer, but that routine seems really odd to me. So when I see Lincecum eschew the conventional icing routines, see him stay healthy, throw smoke and dominate, that's what makes sense.

What I wonder is whether baseball is stuck in a "but everyone does it this way" mindset, forgetting that pitchers haven't always done it that way and that "how it's being done" isn't really the best barometer for how we should do it, anyway. I'm just not convinced that the routine teams customarily have their pitchers follow is actually the best one for the human arm. Are you?