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Must-click link: Baseball, depression and Justin Duchscherer

Jun 11, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

Justin Duchscherer

Jen Mac Ramos of The Hardball Times has a post up today that, statistically speaking, will resonate with many of you directly. And even if you don’t have a direct connection, is an interesting and thought-provoking read. It’s about how she and others have coped with depression, often by using baseball as therapy of a type:

From the perspective of a fan with a mental illness, baseball can be a way to escape from the reality.

Lindsey Adler, a BuzzFeed sports intern, noted that the unpredictability of baseball holds her attention as she has anxiety and depression. The simplicity of the game keeps it stress free for Adler.

“I’ve found baseball to be really effective in curbing my anxiety/depression,” Adler said. “Watching upwards of 150 games over the course of the season serves as a major distraction from my anxieties. It creates a routine for me, in which I spend approximately four hours every night focusing almost solely on the game.”

Jen’s touchstone: former big league pitcher Justin Duchscherer, who himself battles depression. But who also served as an inspiration for her thanks to an opportune visit to the Oakland Coliseum back in 2008.

Even if we don’t suffer from depression, I’m guessing a great many of us have used baseball as an escape of sorts and treat those three or four hours much the way she or Lindsey Adler or others do.

A good read. Do check it out.

  1. historiophiliac - Jun 11, 2014 at 1:52 PM

    Baseball as therapy? Uhhhh, was someone hacking my Twitter messages this morning?

    /looks around office awkwardly

    • happytwinsfan - Jun 11, 2014 at 2:12 PM

      Wasn’t me.

      /quickly changes browser tab at sound of approaching footsteps

  2. Hard On For Harden - Jun 11, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    How much do shrinks make in third world countries?

    • indaburg - Jun 11, 2014 at 2:18 PM

      What is your point?

      • historiophiliac - Jun 11, 2014 at 2:23 PM

        I think that was way outside the paint but it hit the rim and bounced out.

      • Hard On For Harden - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:38 PM

        That it’s existence in third world country is minute compared to ours. Translation: when our basic needs our taken care of, we have all this open time to think and trip over inconsequential things unless we’re focused on something. But after the two responses I got and how many thumbs down I received, I revoke my initial thought because I am now severely depressed.

      • indaburg - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:51 PM

        Depression isn’t just a first world problem though. Conceptions like yours, that it is a mental health problem for people with too much time on their hands, are not accurate. It can affect people from all walks of life, from the rich to the poor. Depression rates are very high in countries with great poverty, low employment, conflict, and little hope for a better future. Being poor and/or in a war stricken country makes a person more vulnerable to depression, and it also means he or she lacks the resources to get help.

        I asked because I was giving you the benefit of the doubt. I was hoping you wanted to know how much mental health professionals make in third world countries so you could maybe go help.

      • fifthstarter - Jun 11, 2014 at 7:27 PM


        This is a very ignorant comment. Have you ever spent much time in developing nations? Do you think it’s enjoyable being poor? Like Jen says in her article, sometimes depression doesn’t have a known cause, but a lot of the time, it is triggered by a specific situation. And if living in poverty, without ready access to opportunities for improvement isn’t a situation that can trigger depression, I don’t know what is.

        I served in the Peace Corps in rural Eastern Europe. People I knew had lived through massive societal upheaval, the loss of huge amounts of industry (ie, opportunities for employment), and then the loss of many friends and family members as they fled west to find work. Depression is rampant; so is alcoholism.

        I have written and rewritten this comment many times, and I can’t seem to tell one story without it leading into an essay. Suffice to say: you are wrong, both in your characterization of mental illness and of the realities of life in developing nations. Please try to be more compassionate toward other people.

      • indaburg - Jun 11, 2014 at 8:55 PM

        Very eloquent statement, fifthstarter.

  3. twenty1miles - Jun 11, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    …Nailed it.

  4. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jun 11, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    This is why Feb and March are the worst months of the year. April -Oct are solid with actual baseball. Nov-Jan there is at least the hot stove stuff to keep us thinking about it, and the occasional football game as a distraction. But the only things that happen in Feb and March are insignificant baseball activities and injuries.

    • mazblast - Jun 11, 2014 at 2:37 PM

      NBA games occupy one’s attention for only the half hour per game it takes to play the last three minutes.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jun 11, 2014 at 2:41 PM

        Agreed. Not even a sport.

    • johnnysoda - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:57 PM

      I would say December-January are the worst. At least there’s spring training in February and March.

      • jwbiii - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:38 PM

        The holiday season is when suicides peak. February is pretty lousy, but I always get the “Well, I’ve made it this far. . .” feeling.

    • ezthinking - Jun 12, 2014 at 2:26 AM

      If you’re not down with spring training in Feb-March you’re missing a key part of life.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jun 12, 2014 at 10:10 AM

        It is OK, and I usually get excited about the lead up to it, but once the games start it all boils down to “So and so pitched 2 innings today before being replaced by a parade of non-prospects in a game that does not mean a thing.” For two months.

  5. mazblast - Jun 11, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    I used to find my local baseball broadcasts here in Cincinnati very relaxing and interesting, but with Jeff Brantley on the radio and Thom “My Only Qualification for This Job Is That I’m Marty’s Son” Brenneman on TV, it now generates more anxiety than relaxation.

  6. thenaturalmevs - Jun 11, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    I am pretty sure the game has kept me out of depression that has afflicted some family members. I have no other way to explain my avoiding it.

  7. cur'68 - Jun 11, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    I have to admit, there’s way too much of me in that story. May not be perfect, but its better than drugs or alcohol. I guess.

    • historiophiliac - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:30 PM

      It’s kind of like Baseball Anonymous around here.

  8. philliesblow - Jun 11, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    I don’t suffer from depression, I enjoy every minute of it.

  9. stlouis1baseball - Jun 11, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    Great article CC. Thanks for sharing.

  10. hopespringseternal - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    Watching the Cubs can actually cause depression . . .

    • jwbiii - Jun 11, 2014 at 4:40 PM

      My father-in-law and I call it WGN Summer Depression Theater.

  11. ziiz8 - Jun 11, 2014 at 11:55 PM

    very well said, fifthstarter.

  12. coryfor3 - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    Great read and so true.

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