Baseball is a sport, a game and a business.
But the fans don’t want to hear about that last part. When they go to a ballgame, they want to see players hustling out groundouts, running into the wall to make a catch and playing through bumps and bruises.
Which leads us to the Atlanta Braves’ “Suffer in Silence” campaign.
Outfielder Reed Johnson greeted each of his Braves teammates at Spring Training with a t-shirt and a speech reminding them that the upcoming season is going to be a difficult marathon. There will be injuries — though I doubt he had a clue there’d be as many as the team has suffered so far this year. But under no circumstances should any player gripe about the situation they’re in.
They’re ballplayers, and they don’t want baseball fans to think they’re complaining about the difficulties of the game they’re playing all summer.
The t-shirts, as pictured above, depict a man with tape over his mouth, and the players have written their numbers over said tape. Several of them wear the shirts under their jersey; some of them on a daily basis.
“There are 25 guys in here going through a lot of the same issues, whether it’s aches and pains or things they might not agree with — whether they think they should be playing more, playing less, or whatever,” said Johnson in an MLB.com article.
I know there’s a perception that it’s easy to be a ballplayer, but 162 games is quite a toll. Try to play three games in a week and you’ll be sore. Now, imagine seven. Three thousand miles from your bed. And you have a sprained ankle.
It would be much easier to suffer out loud, but I’m happy to root for a team that’s doing it in silence.