Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Dr. Dan

One of the things I've learned from being married to a neuropsychologist is that it’s a long expensive process to become one. If only they knew what Dr. Dan knows, they'd skip med school and go straight into column writing. The latter pays better, and they'd avoid all the student loans too.

On to today's column.

In February 2004, the son of former major league pitcher Jeff Reardon died of a drug overdose. This week, Reardon was arrested for allegedly robbing a jewelry store. In today's piece, amid odd tangents on Reardon's pitching career, Tony Dungy's dignity, Dan Duquette and Tony Fossas, Dr. Dan dissects whether the two incidents were related. Judging by the evidence, Dan lingered a little long at the yuletide eggnog bowl.

Let's start with his conclusion. "No need looking for explanations," he writes. "It will never make any sense. Jeff Reardon's world stopped making sense in February of 2004."

Dr. Dan apparently forgot what he wrote just three grafs earlier: "But it's clear that the once-dominant pitcher never got over the death of his son. And why would he? Why would anyone?"

And he apparently forgot that in the second graf he wrote: "No. It wasn't about money. It wasn't about debt. In all likelihood, it was about loss."

Mmmmm ... ten cent psychoanalysis ... mmmm.

It's hard enough for professionals to analyze a patient, and no professional worth their salt would make an assessment from afar. More worrisome, though, is that Dr. Dan -- who has always struggled remembering what he wrote weeks and years before -- now can't seem to recall what he wrote a few sentences earlier. (Personal note to the good doctor: If you want some memory help, I'm sure my wife could hook you up with a few good specialists.)

And finally, let's, er, bury once and for all this idea that somehow racking up high saves totals means you were a good pitcher. The save rule is a joke, and if that's the only case one can make for a pitcher's worth, then they are better off not making it at all.


Beck DeRobertis said...

You've laid the verbal smack down on Dan once again, congrats. What did this guy do to invoke your blogging fury? That's what I'd like to know. I hope he didn't have sex with your wife. No matter how hard you tried, that would be a tough one to blog away.

Keep up the good work and visit:

Thanks a bundle,
Beck DeRobertis

Anonymous said...

The column on Reardon was well done and written by a father (one that almost lost his daughter). You should have let that one as is.
Normally you have some valid points, not today.

The Chief said...

So does that mean you'd turn to Dan for clinical advice? But it's OK for him to give it when someone else is involved. Just saying. (You know, I was just kidding about him being a doctor.)

I lost a brother at age 20 and now have a 11-week-old son who has been in the hospital and on oxygen since Christmas. Somehow I don't think that qualifies me for a job at MGH.

The CHB's column was disjointed and cobbled together. And as I noted, full of pop psychology. We can't get into Reardon's head (or those of Tony Dungy or his late son, I should add). We do know, generally speaking, that some persons show a predisposition to chemical dependencies. We also know that Reardon's son OD'd. But that's all we know.

If a doctor assessed Reardon's actions the way the CHB did it would border on malpractice. We in the general public simply don't have sufficient information to be making such analyses, let alone publishing them.

Steve said...

What struck ME about Dan's piece was something that resonates with this article over at Sheriff Sully. In the comments to that article I got into it with Mikey about his speculation about Dungy's relationship with his son - my take is that it's indecent to go there.

So Dan says this: "Only those who have experienced such loss can truly know the depth of despair that accompanies the most personal tragedy of them all. Parents who lose a child are an unfortunate club unto themselves. The rest of us never can really know how or what they feel."

And I say - exactly right.

But if that's how he feels, why does he later include THIS quote from Reardon's attorney Mitch Beers:
"People handle things differently. Tony Dungy, maybe this will be easier for him. He's got other things on his mind. He's got his team and all the people who are counting on him."

How the heck can Beers know what's on Dungy's mind? If Dan believes what he wrote 4 paragraphs earlier, why does he include this quote?