Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A Punch to the Gut

Excuse me while I cry over some bad news that hit me today like a 1-2 punch. While this isn't exactly a trading card post, as of today I learned that two great players for my teams will no longer be appearing on cardboard as one player signed with another team and the other retired from the NFL.

Today was a long day at work and by the time I got home my family had already finished eating dinner. I sat at the table by myself eating a great plate of spaghetti, thumbing through various social media accounts. I've been expecting news of where Josh Donaldson was going to land every day and again...nothing. By the time I got my girls tucked in bed and gave them good night kisses, I could feel the effects of the day wearing on me. I laid in bed, again playing around on my phone when I got the breaking news notification from the At Bat app...Josh Donaldson was no longer a Brave.

While I can't say that I'm shocked at the news, it's still disappointing. I loved watching the guy play last season. I loved his umbrella/bringer of rain gimmick and how he seemed to have so much fun playing the game of baseball and interacting with his Braves teammates. However the longer the hold out continued the less I thought he would return.

As @FakeDanUggla posted on Twitter this evening, "I feel like we dated Josh Donaldson when he was broke and unemployed, living in a van. We supported him emotionally and financially until he was back on his feet. Then he one day after all that growth decided he's better than us (Braves) and hooks up with some flooy in Minnesota". Well said @FakeDanUggla!!

I'm not sure what the future holds for the Braves now. Reports are they will platoon Johan Camargo and Austin Riley at the hot corner as they don't want to give up on their prospects for a rental of a player like Nolan Arenado or Kris Bryant. I have faith Riley can turn his offense around and be the stud that many Braves fans hope he can be. Only time will tell. Still sucks loosing JD's bat though. Let's be honest, Freddie Freeman had one his best years with JD batting behind him in the line up. Oughta be an interesting rest of the off season to see what AA and the Braves do next.

Oh yeah, the Braves also revealed the new name of their ballpark...Truist Park. Yeah, I hate it too.

While lying in bed, talking to my wife about the Josh Donaldson news I then see a video on Twitter posted by my hometown Carolina Panthers that Linebacker Luke Kuechly was retiring after 9 seasons. What?! Where did this come from? This was like Andrew Luck part 2!!!

The video was emotional and it was clear that Luke didn't want to walk away from the game, but he knew he had to...for his own health. While he didn't bring up his health as the reason, we know that is the case. He's suffered 3 concussions that we know of between 2015 and 2017. I stress the "we know of" portion of that statement because their could be more. Luke did say that he didn't feel he could play with the intensity and speed that he wants to. While he did gather All-Pro 2nd Team honors this season, fans here in Carolina could tell that Luke wasn't his normal self. However I don't think anyone saw this coming...especially so soon in his career.

While this isn't a good look for the NFL, I respect his decision to move on while he still can. He's only 28 and I imagine his long standing girlfriend may want him around for a little bit longer. Quality of life is something that you can't put a price tag on so kudos for him for knowing his body and when it's time to walk away and do something else.

The 2020 season will be a rebuilding year for the Panthers and it sucks that we have lost one of our cornerstones. I wish Luke all the best in the next chapter of his life and hope that one day we'll see him standing on the sidelines of the Panthers as a coach in some capacity.

Needless to say it's been a rough day in my household...


  1. It's always tough when sports heroes retire or find a new home. Hang in there!

  2. I don't blame these NFL guys who have suffered multiple concussions for retiring early. They've gotta live with their bodies for the rest of their lives. Luckily guys like Kuechly has made plenty of money during their careers. If they spend their money wisely, they should be set for life. The ones I feel especially bad for are the ones who suffer multiple concussions in high school and college, but never make the big time $$$... and end up having to deal with the repercussions while trying to live a normal life outside of the NFL.

  3. I wasn't surprised by Donaldson, but Kuechly retiring was surprising

  4. Horrible day for sure. So much talk about the Braves getting the final bid for Donaldson so I really thought they had a shot. They were OK with Camargo in '18 but this hurts especially since the rotation issues haven't been addressed. I'm not optimistic. Kuechly hurt. Really like that dude and this was out of nowhere. I'm glad he goes out on his own terms but sad it is so soon.