Sometimes Routine is Anything But

If one stops to think about it life is full of routines.

From the hours we work, to the route we take to get to work, there are routines that tend to be the same day after day.

There is even an order in the way we get ready each morning. Any deviation in the routine such as putting on the deodorant too soon can lead to stains on one’s shirt and the need to try again.

Other routines can include eating at a certain restaurant on a certain day each week because one likes the pot roast special that is only offered that day.

These routines can breed both comfort and contempt for their daily sameness.

The world of baseball is also full of routines before, during and after the game.

Before the game players follow the same pregame warm-up rituals which can be both performance based as well as superstition based.

During the game there are things called routine pop flies and double plays with the assumption being they are so easy to turn that they become routine and almost second nature.

After the game many players follow the same post game rituals night after night before returning to the Ballpark the next day to start the routines all over again.

I was thinking about routines and how they can sometimes go wrong the other night when I saw a video of Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado’s knee injury when he was running to first base.

Two routine plays sent two Baltimore Orioles players out of a recent game proving that routine is not always so routine after all. Photo R. Anderson
Two routine plays sent two Baltimore Orioles players out of a recent game proving that routine is not always so routine after all.
Photo R. Anderson

Now, Manny Machado, like every other Major League Player, has run to first base hundreds if not thousands of times since first playing the game of baseball as a child. One might go so far as to say that running to first base is one of those routine plays.

While players can be called either safe or out upon their arrival at first base, few would argue the fact that the act of arriving at first is pretty much routine.

Every so often though something goes amiss with the routine and a player gets injured by doing something just slightly different from the way that it had always been done.

In Machado’s case the deviation from the routine occurred when he caught the edge of the first base bag at a slightly wider than usual angle.

The resulting angle caused Machado’s knee to buckle as he fell to the ground behind first base. Machado remained on the ground for several minutes as the training staff tended to him and he ultimately left the field on a stretcher with his season over.

The good news came a few days later in that the injury was not as bad as first thought and the recovery time should be short and allow Machado to join the team in Sarasota, FL in March for Spring Training.

Of course in the same inning that Machado was injured another Oriole player was hurt during a seemingly routine play.

In the bottom of the seventh inning Orioles infielder Alexi Casilla went after one of those routine fly balls and was running into right field to get it.

Unfortunately as Casilla was diving for the bases loaded ball hit by Rays’ right fielder Wil Myers Castilla’s head was introduced to the knee of Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis’ leg.

Although Casilla initially had the ball in his glove to record the out it rolled out of his glove as he hit the ground, and Markakis’ knee leading to what would become the tying runs for the Rays.

Casilla finished out the seventh inning but was soon sent to a hospital for observation. During a press conference after leaving the hospital Casilla stated that he has no memory of the play due to what is likely a concussion. Time will tell if he is able to return this season.

In the same inning two players from the same team showed that routine plays are anything but and can lead to injuries when just the tiniest of things change.

Machado’s and Casilla’s injuries made me think that if highly trained athletes at the top of their game can get injured doing routine things what hope is there for the rest of us?

A few years back I sprained my back after tripping over my cat in the middle of the night. Now the path I was taking at the time was one that I had taken many times before.

In fact, I had even managed to avoid colliding with the cat in his favorite sleeping spot along the way time after time.

Still the routine was interrupted on this particular night leading to a doctor’s visit to explain why my back was sore and some medication to help it get better.

That was the last time that I hurt myself tripping over the cat and the walks once again became routine but history shows us that we are just one false step away from altering the routine at any given time.

That seemingly boring daily commute to work can be interrupted by construction, accidents, or even a rain shower that lowers visibility.

The restaurant with the great pot roast special can run out of mashed potatoes one week making the pot roast seem not so tasty.

Even the most routine of routines can change with little or no notice. The key is to not be the one leaving on a stretcher when it does.

Now if you’ll excuse me, all of this talk about pot roast has me a little hungry.

Copyright 2013 R. Anderson