Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Joel Zumaya... Play "Free Bird!"

Earlier this week, the Minnesota Twins signed reliever Joel Zumaya to one-year contract worth $800k, but could be worth $1.7 million if certain incentives have been reached.  The signing passed with relatively little fanfare, and with good reason.  Zumaya hasn't been healthy since 2010, and he was never as dominant as he was in his 2006 rookie season.  His main weapon was always his 100 mph+ fastball, and he is reportedly now being clocked between 92-94--still fast, but not the same.  Now certainly Joel could ramp that speed back up during the course of the season, but even if he performs at a high level, I don't think it will drastically change the mediocre outlook for the Twins in 2012.

So why write about this signing?  Because it reminds me of one of my favorite sports stories of all time.  Back in the 2006 American League Championships Series, Zumaya had to be sidelined for a couple games because of forearm soreness.  Many figured the soreness was understandable, even expected, given how hard Zumaya threw.  But doctors were somewhat befuddled, because the injury to Zumaya was more consistent with injuries they regularly saw with musicians that play the guitar.  That's when Zumaya admitted his love/addiction to the video game, Guitar Hero... Which doctors said explained the injury perfectly.  Awesome.  

Below you can find a picture formerly posted on Zumaya's Facebook page (which it appears he has since deleted), attesting to his devotion to the game, and forever reminding me of how hard Joel rocks...

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