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King Of Pain In The Groin
2006-08-20 00:33
by Ken Arneson

The Internet is weird sometimes.

Catfish Stew doesn't have "Oakland Athletics" in its blog name or tag line, so you won't find it at the top of many search results related to what is presumably the topic of this blog.

Yet, on the other hand, if you want to know about a "stomach punch", you have come to the right place. A Catfish Stew blog entry is currently the #4 result for that phrase.

So, I got that going for me, at least.

And perhaps, when I add the title of this entry into the searchosphere, I can grow my Internet empire further. I shall become the King of All Pains Abdominal!

* * *

There's a little black spot on the sun today
It's the same old thing as yesterday

* * *

Things never go as planned. The other day, I wrote a baseball article that I thought had a fairly good point: the language we use to describe slumps lacks precision. I thought maybe some people would take the idea and expand upon it, and we'd have an interesting little baseball discussion.

Did it happen? Nope. The blog entry didn't get a single measly comment. Not a single baseball blog linked to it. But then, something weirder happened. Two of my favoritest non-baseball blogs in the whole wide world (Language Log) and (God of the Machine) linked to the article. Which triggered a series of other, smaller non-baseball blogs to also link to the article.

Jeers to the unintended failures! Cheers to the unintended victories!

* * *

I have stood here before inside the pouring rain
With the world turning circles running 'round my brain

* * *

On Dodger Thoughts the other day, there was this exchange:

109. D4P
> Bronx Banter went over 1000 [comments] for Game 1

I blame the respective blog names. "Banter" provokes discussion; "Thoughts" provokes contemplation...


121. King of the Hobos
And Catfish Stew provokes the desire to eat, yet I have never had such a desire after reading the Stew.

Perhaps that's because I'm better at providing stomach punches than hunger pangs. Wouldn't it be great to be able to write something that literally makes someone else's mouth water?

I am failing at the things I want to succeed at, and succeeding at things I have no intention of succeeding at. So who the heck am I? What in tarnation am I doing here, writing on a baseball blog, when Google loves me elsewhere?

On my more optimistic days, I imagine myself as the baseball version of Babette, a stranger in a strange land, trying to fit in, to provide the meals you expect me to provide, barely scraping by for the longest time. But one day, maybe, when things fall just right...

* * *

There's a blue whale beached by a springtide's ebb
(That's my soul up there)
There's a butterfly trapped in a spider's web
(That's my soul up there)

* * *

I served on a jury a year ago for a robbery. The victim got kicked, punched, and hit over the head with the butt of a gun, making him bleed profusely. He could barely see for all the blood pouring down over his eyes. When the cops showed up and caught the bad guy a block away, the victim, instead of nursing his injuries, ran over to try to punch the robber in the face.

He ended up punching the cop in the face, instead.

Shortly thereafter, the victim's adrenaline wore off, and he passed out.

* * *

There's a king on a throne with his eyes torn out
There's a blind man looking for a shadow of doubt

* * *

Friday night, I was playing indoor soccer in my old farts' league. A ball was sent into our offensive corner. The opposing goalie and I both chased it, arriving at the ball at the same time.

This league is presumably a non-contact, recreational league. The primary objectives are to have fun, and stay healthy. You're supposed to avoid any sort of moves that may end up hurting someone, even if it means you might give up a goal that costs you the game.

Somebody forgot to give the goalie the message. Instead of easing up when we got close to contact, he came at me like some freakish combination of Ronnie Lott and Scott Stevens. He ran full speed for the ball, jumped as high as he could to knock it away from me, and in the process, sent his knee full force straight into my groin, and slammed the rest of me right into the hockey-style boards.

* * *

There's a red fox torn by a huntsman's pack
(That's my soul up there)
There's a black-winged gull with a broken back
(That's my soul up there)

* * *

I hurt like hell. As I peeled myself off the boards, I instinctively screamed something profane as loud as my voice can carry. Instantly, I was insanely angry. I mean, like Jason Kendall insane; maybe even worse. The pain was killing me, but if they had measured the amount of adrenaline and testosterone in my bloodstream at that moment, I would have made Floyd Landis look clean. I barely noticed how much I hurt through my rage.

Somehow, through my madness, I kept my head just enough to stomp off the field without turning around to look at the guy. Because I don't know what I would have done if this guy had given me any sort of John-Lackey-ugly-mug look that would have made me even more ticked off. Perhaps the words "stomach punch" would have come to my mind, and then to my fists, and then I might have ended up repeating history, wanting and trying so badly to punch the goalie, but accidentally punching the ref, instead.

So I stomped off the field and kept stomping; stomping straight to the locker room, where I grabbed my bag without showering; stomping straight out to my car, and then driving off, straight for home.

* * *

There's a fossil that's trapped in a high cliff wall
(That's my soul up there)
There's a dead salmon frozen in a waterfall
(That's my soul up there)

* * *

Just as I was getting in my car, Huston Street was entering the A's game in the eighth inning against Kansas City. The A's held a slim lead. My anger began to blend with dread. Street has seemed to be losing more and more stuff lately, the result of too much work during the A's current hot streak. "Ken Macha is going to run Huston Street's arm straight into the ground," I thought.

Sure enough, Street proceeded to blow the A's lead. Then Street left the game. He had an injured groin. The A's lost the doubleheader.

Perhaps Street's groin injury is for the best. I think his arm was starting to wear down, and now Ken Macha will be forced to rest Street and his tired arm, and maybe, someday, when the time is right, Street will be able to return to the A's bullpen, and lead his team to a glorious, delicious ending.

* * *

My groin injury, on the other hand...I don't see any silver lining for it. My adrenaline has worn off. I feel like crap. There's nothing for me to do right now except feel like crap.

* * *

I guess I'm always hoping that you'll end this reign
But it's my destiny to be the king of pain

* * *

My pain--the throbbing, the aching--probably doesn't have the wonderful, juicy ending from which great stories are told. I think my story is meant to just pass out.

2006-08-20 08:21:37
1.   Jon Weisman
I was trying to think of one word to sum up this post, but to my great frustration, I can't. Nuts.
2006-08-20 08:27:48
2.   das411
Yeah, I agree with Jon. I have a few words I've used to describe Scott Stevens in my day but none of them are particularly Toaster-appropriate...
2006-08-20 08:32:05
3.   rabid stan
I thought about posting on your slump article, Ken, but every time I read this site, I get the strangest urge to make gumbo. I'm in the mood for crayfish today, so I'll make this:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup sliced okra
1 cup chopped tomato
1-1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon Cajun-Creole Seasoning
4 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
2 bay leaves
1/2 pound skinned red snapper or other firm white fish fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
3/4 pound crayfish, peeled
1/4 pound medium crayfish, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
4-1/2 cups hot cooked long-grain rice


Place flour in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet; cook over medium heat 20 minutes or until browned, stirring constantly with a whisk. (If flour browns too fast, remove it from heat, and stir until it cools down.) Remove from heat; set aside.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic; saute 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add okra and tomato; cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1-1/2 cups water, Cajun-Creole Seasoning, clam juice, and bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Gradually add browned flour, stirring with a whisk. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add snapper; cook 5 minutes. Add green onions, crayfish, and crayfish; cook 10 minutes or until seafood is done. Stir in hot sauce; discard bay leaves. Serve gumbo over rice. Yield: 9 servings (serving size: 1 cup gumbo and 1/2 cup rice).

For more crayfish recipes, try

2006-08-20 08:33:13
4.   Vishal
fifth outfielder also linked to you. so there, you got some baseball blog love.

ps. i liked it, too.

2006-08-20 08:34:19
5.   rabid stan
They're like little lobsters. Very classy.
2006-08-20 09:34:53
6.   Ken Arneson
4 I missed that somehow. Cheers for Fifth Outfielder!
2006-08-20 10:23:02
7.   Philip Michaels
I am sad to report that Hallmark does not offer a line of "So the guy whose blog you contributed to just got kicked in the groin" sympathy cards. On the bright side... market opportunity!
2006-08-20 11:04:12
8.   Ken Arneson
7 An untapped market, to be sure. May you become very wealthy.
2006-08-20 21:22:40
9.   Daniel Zappala
Ken, a great post. You may toil somewhat in obscurity, but I always enjoy reading your stuff. If there was justice in the world, you would have a nicely populated A's site.
2006-08-21 13:58:46
10.   BlueMamma
Ken, I'm not a big commenter, but a frequent reader. This was a terrific entry, I loved it.

A friend of mine was badly injured playing goalie in a soccer game four days ago. He'll be released from the hospital in about six more days, following his third surgery. You gotta watch out for those "friendly" sports.

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