Wednesday, May 19


There’s no telling what a silly sneeze can do to you…especially when you’re a baseball star. All Sammy Sosa had to do was unleash a couple. And the Cubs are paying for it, right through their noses. A sneeze happens, it is said, when the inside of your nose gets tickled, and this tickle sends a message to your brain, to a 'sneeze center,' to be precise. The ‘sneeze center’ passes the message on to all the muscles that have to work together to bring out a convoluted sneeze. Now these muscles, mind you, are a team in themselves. The stomach muscles, the chest muscles, the diaphragm, the muscles at the back of your throat, the ones that control your vocal cords, as well as the eyelid muscles.

Imagine the impact of two such drawn-out sternutations on muscles like Sosa’s. They straightforwardly bestowed him with a sprained ligament in his lower back, and a spot on the ‘disabled’ list. He missed Sunday's game in San Diego, after, what the media has been promulgating very anxiously as ‘two vehement sneezes,’ triggered pangs of twinges in his back. Dr. Schaefer, the Cubs' orthopedic specialist, examined Sosa before Tuesday's game against the Giants, and tests exposed a sprained ligament.

An epidural or two to alleviate the inflammation and stabilize that stressed lower back, it is hoped, might just about get him back in shape. But then, as hard as Sosa swings, one wonders if he needs to slacken for more than a couple of weeks in a row. Dusty Baker and his men are sure keeping their fingers crossed…and all one can hope in these times of adversity is that they don’t, consequently, come down with peculiar cases of Distal or Proximal Interphalangeal (read finger knuckle/ middle) joint injuries. Bring on the panacea, Dr. Schaefer!

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