Sports Night, Ep. 2

Jeremy is a new associate producer and is “cutting” his first highlight. Casey, one of the anchors on the program, has been asked to help. Jeremy has a deep appreciation for the game of baseball, and has difficulty removing from the footage aspects that he feels has a deciding impact on the game:

Jeremy: I can’t imagine what I’d cut.
Casey: Well, you start off with Cedric, the lead-off batter, at the top of the first inning, despite the fact that nobody scored until the 5th inning.
Jeremy: There’s action beyond scoring.
Casey: Yeah, but Cedric grounded out to the short stop and was thrown out at first by quite a large margin.
Jeremy: Yeah.
Casey: Well that is what is called a routine ground ball. In your search for things that are newsworthy, let the word ‘routine’ serve as a danger sign.
Jeremy: There’s nothing routine about it. Casey, the guy’s hitting .327 since the All-Star break, he’s drawn 22 walks in the lead-off position and he’s a threat to steal second every time you put him on. He fouled off seven pitches.
Casey: And you show each and every one of them.
Jeremy: You bet I do.
Casey: We usually just show the pitch that puts the ball into play.
Jeremy: But then you miss the battle.
Casey: The battle?
Jeremy: He started him off with a fastball up and in, then slider away, slider away, comes back with a split finger change, drops the curve off the table, sets him up off speed, then… jams him high and tight, that’s what got him out.
Casey: It was a ground ball to the shortstop.
Jeremy: The inevitable conclusion to a job well done.

Most people tune into a sports program looking for the home run, the stolen base, or the squeeze play, rarely the routine ground ball. Jeremy may argue that only after understanding and valuing the routine ground ball can someone fully appreciate the game of baseball at all, rendering the home run a physical feat without a necessary context.

As I was watching the scene unfold, I cannot help but think of the patient in chronic pain who seeks out physical therapy. Often, they just want to feel better. They often want the physical therapist to get them better without an interest in education.

Casey: Okay this section here where the batter taps dirt off his shoe and spits four times…
Jeremy: We can’t cut that…He’s breaking Carrera’s pitching rhythm.
Casey: The battle?
Jeremy: The battle.
Casey: The battle. Look…
Jeremy: If people just want to hear the score they can listen to the radio. We have an opportunity to effect their appreciation of baseball.

I can relate to Jeremy. When I worked in the outpatient setting, I repeatedly tried to speak to my boss, colleagues and patients about pain science.  Some feigned interest, but more often than not they had no interest in the battle (Neuromatrix) and were more interested in the 30 second highlight (manipulation).

Enter Dana, the show’s producer:

Dana: Casey what are you working on?
Casey: An epic miniseries.
Jeremy: It’s Cubs/Marlins.
Dana: I gotta make room…Just give me the double off the wall, the homer in the fifth, and the error at third.
Jeremy: That’s a travesty!

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