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Nate McLouth slams the Pirates

Mar 5, 2010, 9:10 AM EDT

McLouth.jpgNate McLouth doesn’t miss Pittsburgh:

“Things here are a lot more positive and relaxed,” McLouth said.
“People aren’t so … uptight. Losing for so long, there’s so many
negative things said about the Pirates. It’s tough to read them; you
get defensive. The thing is, it’s true and it’s tough to deal with that
negativity every day. It was kind of nice to get here to an
organization that’s won for a long time.”

Oh, and he has new contact lenses which he said he’s probably needed for years. Why didn’t he get them before now?

The Pirates checked his vision each year during spring training, but never detected any problems. “A blind man could pass that test they do,” McLouth said, noting it basically consisted of reading an eye chart.

Ouch.  Rob Neyer lately has been talking about how teams are often penny wise and pound foolish, spending all kinds of money and mental energy on big name players but spending scant dollars and almost zero mental energy on little things like player nutrition, conditioning and stuff.

If what McLouth is saying is true, put the Pirates’ eye test in that same category.

  1. Joey B - Mar 5, 2010 at 9:32 AM

    “Rob Neyer lately has been talking about how teams are often penny wise and pound foolish, spending all kinds of money and mental energy on big name players but spending scant dollars and almost zero mental energy on little things like player nutrition, conditioning and stuff.”
    Mo Vaughn hurt his biceps in a September game for the Angels. Didn’t hit a lick the rest of the season. The next year, he tears it completely in spring training and misses the season. I’m not a doctor, but I’m guessing that he should’ve been slated for surgery the day after the previous season ended
    At each season-end, every player should sit down with the manager, the GM, the trainer, the team doctor, the coaches, and a nutritionist to discuss what that player should do in the off-season. Address any playing weaknesses, and physical ailments, develop a workout regiment to strengthen areas of concern.
    There are people out there with a checklist of what to do around the house prior to winter, or prior to the kids going to school, or a due diligence at work, etc. I don’t know why every team doesn’t have the same thing for their players.

  2. Greg - Mar 5, 2010 at 10:28 AM

    I find that story interesting because the braves did the same thing with Matt Diaz. His improved vision could be argued to have been the primary contribution to being an afterthought in TB to a .300 hitter in ATL.

  3. ecp - Mar 5, 2010 at 11:04 AM

    I don’t know what level of responsibility clubs take for their players’ vision exams (or are obligated to take), but I suspect that most clubs don’t keep an optometrist on staff. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if the standard eye exam given by club doctors is similar to the one given when you get a driver’s license – which is reading an eye chart. Players are likely “encouraged” to get regular eye exams on their own and such exams are also likely to be covered by the players association’s insurance. McLouth’s admission that “his vision could have been corrected years ago, but he never bothered to visit an optometrist” tells me two things: he knew he wasn’t seeing well and he didn’t do anything about it. And nowhere does he say that the Braves were responsible for him getting contact lenses; he only says that he got them. It may be that he finally bothered to make that optometrist visit and do something about his eyes. Sorry, not buying this as the Pirates’ fault.

  4. ecp - Mar 5, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    Coincidentally, some interesting comments yesterday by the Brewers’ Corey Hart on their eye exams:
    http://espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/mlb_spring_training
    “A vision test during a team physical exam has confirmed what Brewers outfielder Corey Hart has suspected since last year — he’s nearsighted…Why wasn’t the problem caught last year? “I guessed right [on what letters were shown on the eye chart],” Hart said, according to the report. “This year, I guessed wrong. By the third letter, I was like, ‘Maybe H?'”

  5. Joey B - Mar 5, 2010 at 3:08 PM

    “but I suspect that most clubs don’t keep an optometrist on staff.”
    Probably not. My company doesn’t keep a medical team on staff either. But once a year, they have a team come to administer flu shots, take blood tests, tell you how fat you are, etc.
    You could hire a guy for a couple of days to check the eyes. It won’t break the bank. Maybe $3k? You hire fielding coaches, batting coaches, you might employ a bunting coach for a couple of weeks for the right prospect. When you shell out $80M in salaries, it’s penny wise and pound foolish to allow them to go into spring training without their best vision.

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