“Everything in My Life Sucks Right Now.”

It can be easy to forget that major-league baseball players are also human beings.  We watch them every night on television, read numerous articles about them on a daily basis, and treat them like commodities when discussing roster moves with fellow fans. We pay large sums of money for something as silly as their autograph, and we adorn our backs with their names and numbers. Many of these players we’ve idolized since childhood and put on a pedestal; they don’t seem to exist on the same plane as us everyday fans, but are something higher and greater.

But when you stop to think about it, this is a load of bollocks: ball players are regular people just like the rest of us. In fact, their lives aren’t necessarily all that great. Sure, they get loads of money if they reach the majors, but there are lots of costs to pursuing professional baseball as a career. Many of them aren’t as well educated, as they have to put so much time into baseball and are normally drafted before finishing college (and sometimes, before even starting college). Baseball is their career and life, but that means they have to kick around in the minors, spend half of their year traveling from place to place and living in hotels, and become mini-celebrities whether they want to or not. Ball players are watched by thousands of people while performing their job, and their success or failure is talked about and dissected by even more people. And if you want to have a family, talk about a stressful life; from mid-February to early October every year you become a vagabond and get to see your wife and kids infrequently. Being a baseball player ain’t all sunshine and lollipops, that’s for sure.

So when I heard John Lackey‘s now infamous quote Thursday — “Everything in my life sucks right now” — my heart went out to him. Here’s a person whose world is crumbling all around him. Not only is he failing at his job at an epic level, but he’s had personal issues crop up over the last year: his wife is battling breast cancer at the moment, and the couple suffered a miscarriage only a little more than a year ago. And for all we know, Lackey could have even more on his plate; these are just the details of Lackey’s personal life that have been made public.

This is probably the most obvious statement in the world, but Red Sox — if you’re out there, you need to give Lackey a break. As someone that’s worked closely with cancer families, you simply can’t underestimate the stress that cancer can have on a family.

I doubt there’s one person out there reading this article that hasn’t had someone in their family or among their close friends affected by cancer. Sadly, in the day and age we live in, it’s becoming increasingly commonplace for people to come down with a form of cancer. But even though we’re becoming slowly desensitized to cancer, that doesn’t mean it isn’t an incredibly scary thing to hear that someone you love has been diagnosed. Even if the prognosis is good and they catch it early — which it sounds like the case is with Lackey’s wife — those three words (“You have cancer”) can throw your entire world into chaos.

It’s difficult for people to understand unless you’ve been through it yourself, but having someone in your family diagnosed with cancer (or any serious disease, to be honest) instantly changes everything. All of a sudden, you don’t exist in the normal day-to-day world you did before; your priorities are thrown on their head and everything is focused in and around the cancer. It’s almost like you’re stepping out of your life and into an entirely different mindset; while before you may have been focused on career goals and saving up money for that larger house or big screen television, now all you can see is beating the disease. Budgets get changed, your life gets dictated by the chemo schedule, and you simply do what you need to do to get through the next day, the next week, the next month.

While this can be stressful enough in a normal household, I can only imagine what it’s like for a major leaguer. Lackey is traveling around the country on a weekly basis, and considering his wife is being treated in California, who knows how often he gets to see her. Each of us has developed coping skills throughout life that help us get through stressful times, but even these will only get us so far without support…and judging from Lackey’s comments after his last start, it sounds as though he’s at or near his breaking point.

Because here’s the thing: even though it doesn’t feel like it to him, there are positive things in Lackey’s life right now. I don’t know his wife’s diagnosis or prognosis – so things may be worse than we know — it was originally reported that her cancer was caught early, which is always a good sign. And while being a major leaguer means he’s forced to be away from his wife right now, it’s also provided him with a huge comfort: a guaranteed $15.5 million salary for this year. He also probably has a good health insurance policy, so between that and his salary, he can guarantee that his wife is getting the best possible care and treatment. Unlike so many other families having to deal with cancer, he doesn’t have to worry about medical expenses. He doesn’t have to worry about not being insured when diagnosed. He doesn’t have to worry about losing his salary because his boss fires him. He doesn’t have to contemplate selling his house to make medical expenses. Money and job security are almost always the largest stresses that affect cancer families, and those are two areas Lackey doesn’t need to worry about.

Please don’t take that statement as a criticism of Lackey – I’m not trying to suggest he has it “easier” than other cancer families and that he’s being a wimp, as his life as a major leaguer adds in so many unique stressors. All I’m saying is that Lackey has some reasons to look up and be thankful; it’s just he can’t see those right now since his coping skills seem to be stretched to their breaking point. He needs time away to destress — to spend some time with his wife and escape out of the public eye for a stretch of time. The time away may or may not help his performance, but regardless, some things are more important than baseball.

Cancer can have the odd effect of turning people into optimists, as it’s too easy to look on the negatives so you find your gaze constantly fixed on the small, daily things you have to be thankful for. John Lackey isn’t at that point yet, and I hope the Red Sox offer him all the support and understanding they can in order to help him through.




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Steve is the editor-in-chief of DRaysBay and the keeper of the FanGraphs Library. You can follow him on Twitter at @steveslow.

176 Responses to ““Everything in My Life Sucks Right Now.””

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  1. everdiso says:

    If he wasn’t such a dick, maybe more people would care.

    big fat (ugly and prickish) baby

    -354 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • My echo and bunnymen says:

      Yeah, I’m not a fan of the man. But that steps aside when it becomes focused on someone I harbor no ill will towards, his wife.

      +28 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Baron Samedi says:

        Criticisms of Lackey and his attitude can be made without maligning his wife. Many professional athletes have had to cope with adversity without lashing out at the media and other competitors.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • everdiso says:

        Lackey’s not the only major leaguer to have a loved one suffer serious illness or tragedy. I know many of us have suffered through loved ones getting sick or suffering tragedy – except most of us don’t have an $82m contract to fall back on, and actually need to continue performing our jobs well.

        Don’t get suckered by his “poor me” schtick – this is a guy who’s become an expert in passing the buck and never accepting responsibility for his poor performance.

        -150 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • LexDiamonds says:

        Fuck the heck, dude?

        How does his contract have anything to do with his wife having breast cancer?

        $82,000,000 /= immortality.

        +40 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • everdiso says:

        you’re right. Lackey’s the ONLY player in baseball to face any personal difficulties involving loved ones, and therefore deserves to get a pass for failing to perform (while on one of the biggest contracts in baseball to boot), and deserves a pass for being one of the biggest pricks in baseball.

        my bad.

        -139 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • My echo and bunnymen says:

        Maybe y’all don’t understand the point of the article and the fact that his past actions don’t matter and we should just let him handle his business while not bringing him down further?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Baron Samedi says:

      Lackey had some pretty unkind things to say about John McDonald.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • everdiso says:

        Lackey: “Everybody’s had success with him in the past. You can’t give hits to him when you’ve got other guys in the lineup that can hurt you.”

        what McDonald should have replied: “Everybody has success against Lackey. I’m not surprised I had a big night against him, and I’d be embarassed if I hadn’t been able to hit him as hard as everyone else does.”

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Sam says:

        Most of those comments were really Lackey blaming himself. It was badly done for sure, but I don’t think he meant the comments as a way to piss off McDonald, but were instead about him. He’s clearly beating himself up about his performance, but he’s got too much pride to admit he’s been making mistakes. I’m not defending him, just saying that I don’t think the comments were meant to be malicious. Instead he’s just being pushed past his breaking point, and that’s his own way of criticizing himself.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • I don’t know if you can be banned from commenting at Fan Graphs or not, but if you can, everdisco should for that comment. What a horrible thing to say, especially in response to the specific article. Just… wow.

      +89 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • zorob says:

        here here

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • My echo and bunnymen says:

        here here, ni.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • doctorogres says:

        People will have their reactions, and I don’t think that everdisco’s is invalid just because he’s insensitive (his later posts, the first one is pretty much trolling). These people make ridiculous amounts of money doing something they love, and the devil’s end of that bargain is that they undergo intense scrutiny in every aspect of their life, work and personal, and few people have sympathy for that sacrifice.

        On the other hand, if you’re commenting on this blog you’re already tacitly supporting a field where the LOWEST an employee can be paid is over $400k. In a sense baseball is blue collar people paying to watch millionaires play a game of leisure. Being a fan means, to a certain degree, a willing suspension of disbelief with regard to salaries. It’s always a valid comment on any article about a major leaguer underperforming, but it also adds absolutely nothing to the conversation since as fans we’ve already accepted this bizarre where Victor Martinez is insulted by someone offering to pay him $20 million for 2 years of work.

        Anyway, I don’t know why I was motivated to comment on this, because I really never comment on Fan Graphs articles. Maybe because I love your blog (Red Sox Beacon, check it out ya’ll). Maybe because in my heart of hearts I do agree with everdisco, that in the overall scheme of things a professional baseball player is doing pretty damn well and we can save our sympathy for people who are actually facing bankruptcy, homelessness, and unemployment in the face of a major illness. Maybe because something about Lackey’s off-hand comment, “Pretty much everything in my life sucks right now,” felt shockingly personal, the unvarnished truth. I really heard the human behind the sound bite.

        Luckily, baseball is always going to be about baseball, precisely because such huge amounts of money are involved. No matter what the problem is, if Lackey is underperforming he’ll be put on the DL to get himself straightened out. And I hope he does, because cancer sucks and should lose.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • johngomes says:

      rumor has it theo epstein never watched an angels home game pass the third inning, he went to sleep. pass his bedtime. it was a bad signing and anyone who paid attention to lackey knew it.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • jeff says:

      Excuse me, who are you and how do you know John Lackey? I think you’re the dick and probably uglier. Wow.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Chris says:

      Cold hearted fuckwads

      We shouldn feel empathy towords someone who is going through real tragedy because he makes a lot of money and can be a jerk sometimes?

      Please go away.

      +27 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Kevin says:

      I’m confused. The name at the top of the comment says “everdiso”, but then he signs it “big fat (ugly and prickish) baby”…
      Which one is his real name?

      +49 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Small Sample Goodness says:

      Congrats on the posting the worst comment in FG history.

      +13 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Texas_Dawg says:

      Troll hard, everdiso. Troll hard.

      +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • jaywrong says:

      everdiso,

      based on what you’ve said, i really can’t argue with what you are saying.

      in fact, since you already have being a prick down, i would like you to have 82 million dollars, and then have your wife get cancer and a miscarriage.

      if you don’t have a wife, i hope it happens to someone you love or you yourself. afterall, you’ll have all that money to fall back on.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • everdiso says:

      You guys are all correct – I am a prick.

      But sorry, you’re not allowed to call me out for it because I too have loved ones with cancer.

      -5 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • fredsbank says:

      wow that has more minuses than any 2-3 generic articles combined get comments at all.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • csawce says:

      How often do you hear, “I would give it all up just too…”. I am sure you could put Lackey into that group.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. My echo and bunnymen says:

    Here, Here.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Surrealistic Pillow says:

      As I’ve seen this mistake made a few times on this post alone, I have an announcement:

      The phrase you’re looking for is “hear, hear” not here, here.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jason B says:

        He was just answering roll call.

        Echo? “Here!”

        Bunnymen? “Here!”

        “Present” is also acceptable.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Dan says:

    Wish his wife well, and going thru a miscarriage must be horrible.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Baron Samedi says:

    “He also probably has a good health insurance policy”

    Really?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Danmay says:

    He may not have to worry about the financial aspects of cancer (which, as you say, is huge and rarely the case) but I have to imagine that not being able to spend a lot of time with your wife is seriously stressful under those circumstances.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Sam A. says:

      He could always take time off from baseball to be with his wife. My sympathy is with both of them for what they are going through with the cancer and the miscarriage, but the work-related separation is a choice.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • B N says:

        I tend to agree with that too. I mean, if I was already going to make somewhere around $100m for my career, at least- I’d be willing to lose $10m of that earning to go support my wife through cancer. I mean- what the hell is the point of money if you can’t use it to support your family?

        Plus, it’s not like he’s pitching well at all. I think it would be a good deal for both parties if he worked out a deal where the Red Sox paid him $2m to not play for the rest of the year and get himself straight. Hopefully by then he’d be in a different stage of the coping process and would be able to actually produce at work.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • B N says:

        The Red Sox could then use those extra millions of dollars to pick up a 5th starter from some team in need of a salary dump.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. mike says:

    Yeah those problems are definetly legit and my heart goes out to him.

    But when I hear Markakis’ problems are from when he had a child and how much his life has changed, and he has to get up to feed and change diapers. I want to strangle him.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Dan says:

      Have an article?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • mike says:

        nah, I’m an Oriole fan, and that’s the talk on the Oriole boards. That he does attribute some of his struggles to that.

        I do remember him saying that it completly changed his life. But I never actually blame it for his problems.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Oscar says:

        As a fellow O’s fan, what the fuck? You want to strangle Markakis (metaphorically, sure) because some fans use his new family as an excuse for him? When Markakis says “don’t blame me for going 0-5, I’m so exhausted from raising a family”, I’ll be right there with you. Until then!

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Aaron says:

      Sleep dep isn’t really a joke. Remember that one of the “enhanced” techniques used in Guantanamo was a combination of sleep deprivation and playing constant loud noises, including babies crying, inside prisoner cells.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Sleep deprivation was also one of the most common methods used by the KGB to force someone to confess. After about a week without sleep, you begin to hallucinate, and your grip on reality becomes a lot more tenuous. Arthur Koestler’s novel “Darkness at Noon” illustrates the technique brilliantly.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • eastsider says:

        We (at least if you are a citizen of the United States) have been torturing Bradley Manning for months using sleep deprivation. He may very well be guilty of leaking classified information. Get on with the court martial. But stop the torture.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • My echo and bunnymen says:

      I’m gonna respectfully disagree. If anyone isn’t having trouble adjusting to a new family then he/she isn’t trying. Nick Markakis should be tired.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. Random (Gay) Guy says:

    Oh wait, I forgot this is a baseball blog, not a place for me to spout my political opinions, which no one cares about anyway.

    +16 Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Nate says:

    I read the title and thought you meant Brandon League.

    But seriously, good article.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. disco says:

    I totally disagree.

    Everyone in the WORLD –professional athletes or not– has gone through rough patches in life. Everyone has family members get sick and die. When people are going through tough times, they generally get passes for being more irritable/too quiet/bad temper. I don’t know of many people who get passes for not doing their job. A bus driver won’t get a pass for plowing into parked cars because his wife is sick; a firefighter won’t get a pass for hosing the wrong house because his dad died; and a cop won’t get a pass for letting a criminal run away because his brother had a heart attack. And they don’t get paid 80 million dollars for their jobs — John Lackey does.

    John Lackey, stop whining and do your job like everyone else on the planet. We know you’re upset and you have every right to be. But man the f** up and do your job. If you can’t, then retire and donate your paychecks to cancer research or something if it means so much to you.

    -54 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Kevin says:

      If Lackey were doing the metaphorical equivalent of crashing a bus into parked cars, you might have a point. But at this point all he’s doing is running 5+ minutes behind schedule most days, and being kind of surly towards riders. For THAT I’m wiling to cut the bus driver some slack, and he’s certainly not getting fired.
      Are you justified in criticizing those results? Sure.
      Are you a dick for not caring about things that are ultimately more important that HR% and 5-minute late buses? Yea.

      +23 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Preston says:

      I disagree. Most people have to go to work because they have to pay their bills. Medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcy in this country. I think that seeing as Lackey made 16+ million dollars last year the way for him to “man the F*** up” is to go home and be with his wife. Go to the doctor with her, spend time with her. Having a high level of performance while going through a tragedy would not impress me, having his priorities straight and walking away from the game for a while would.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • JP says:

      If John Lackey was a bus driver/cop/firefighter and his wife was sick and in the hospital – he could probably take FMLA leave if his finances could support it – I don’t think he’s going to be able to take 3 months off during the middle of the season.

      This is certainly not saying he has it better or worse – and I’m reasonably confident saying that Lackey wouldn’t trade his profession for most others, but just your compensation is lavish, doesn’t mean you aren’t thinking about your sick wife while you travel across the country.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • victor frankenstein says:

        “I don’t think he’s going to be able to take 3 months off during the middle of the season.”

        Oh no.
        There isn’t a physical agency on the planet that could stop him if that’s what he wanted to do.

        However, I have no idea of the Lackeys’ personal financial holdings or what they’re guaranteed if in fact he voided a contract with the Sox. Perhaps he wants to walk away but his financial picture is that all parties named Lackey are best financially served by him NOT voiding that contract.

        I’m going to ignorantly and blissfully give him the benefit of the doubt and assume this is the case, and hope for a happy resolution for all concerned.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. JR says:

    Seems a lot of people think that money is a cure-all; since he’s a millionaire he should be just fine with his situation and perform as though everything’s hunky dory and keep his mouth shut.

    Well if I was offered $82 million with the caveat that my wife would get cancer and I’d lose a child to a miscarriage, I think I’d just stick with my everyday job, thank you very much.

    +63 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jon says:

      If you are, in fact, married-show your wife you wrote this. You deserve one hell of a meal for it.

      If you aren’t married/taken-ladies, what are you waiting for?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • taite says:

        Are standards really that low? Jr sounds like a good guy, but I think it should be a given that money is less important than your family not dying.

        And, for being so nice, JR’s wife should cook for him? Really?

        +20 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Oscar says:

        taite your wife should wash your clothes extra hard for a week to reward you for being so feminist!!

        +19 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • taite says:

        Funny.
        a) I’m a girl and
        b) no matter how you try to put it, being a feminist will never be a bad thing

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Wally says:

        taite

        1) It is certainly not a given that others getting sick (no one is dying here) comes before money. Sorry. Welcome to reality.
        2) You can be feminist as you like, but understand that beyond a certain point the degree to which you are inversely correlates to your ability of attracting a suitable mate.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. MonteroSmash says:

    Money doesn’t buy happiness. I don’t think it’s something that could’ve prevented the miscarriage and cancer stuff for his family…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. j6takish says:

    Didn’t Magglios wife have cancer in 2009?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. greenfrog says:

    As a Jays fan, my first reaction to Lackey’s comments was critical – I just assumed he was being his usual jerk self. But upon reflection, I think the guy deserves a break, for all the reasons mentioned in this article. It’s so easy to point the finger at someone. It’s a lot harder to refrain from judgement, to try to understand someone who is going through a rough time, and to adopt a more tolerant and forgiving attitude. After all, a few (on their face) jerky comments or antics really aren’t that big of a deal. And the health of someone’s loved ones is a lot more important than his or her net worth.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. Random Guy says:

    Some (perhaps even “most”) of the people who comment on this site are idiots.

    I wrote a post above that had nothing to do with politics yet people are saying things like leave the politics at home. FWIW, I am actually a Democrat so to the extent you misunderstood the comment as bashing Democrats..well, you misunderstood the comment. I am simply pointing out the sheer ridiculousness of talking about health insurance when someone makes US$15 million per year (and will likely exceed gross income of UD$100 million per year for his career if he hasn’t already).

    I can assure you that while cancer treatments are expensive, he’ll be quite able to afford the best care even if he doesn’t have health insurance.

    Period.

    Take that, ya freakin’ wankers.

    -45 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Marco says:

      Nobody cares, wanker.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • williams .482 says:

      yeah, “Barack Hussein and ObamaCare” is obviously not political in the slightest.

      +10 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • DavidCEisen says:

      Actually, do you have any idea of what kind of costs are associated with cancer treatment? Without a good insurance policy (which I assume is tied into being part of the players union), it is entirely possible to get on the wrong side of those costs. Even for those that make 15 million a year that can cause issues and stress, so yes having a good insurance policy probably is a relief to Lackey.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • My echo and bunnymen says:

      You know, it’s not the politics that I think we have a problem with, I think it’s how the whole world revolves around you stick that bugs us.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Erik says:

      what the f*ck does politics have to do with anything?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. RiverAce says:

    I can’t believe the amount of douche bags on here; I thought that only occured on CBS, yahoo, or msnbc. Money means nothing when a family member is ill. Most of you fail to see the reality of the situation.
    I found this article to be excellent – thanks Steve S. for a nice in-depth article on something other than sabremetrics or sample size.
    Everdiso: you are flat out embarassing
    Baron Samedi: if you aren’t going to say something interesting, don’t say anything at all
    Random Guy: move out of your mom’s basement and find something to do
    disco: you are WAY OFF. Everyone complains about their job. Most do so without cameras in their face.
    If you guys are a cross section of America then I know exactly what’s wrong with our country and it doesn’t start in Washington DC

    +15 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • R says:

      Are you really surprised by the scumbags in this world? A FanGraphs message board should be no different. It’s just an example of the scum that really should be exterminated from the face of the Earth.

      -7 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • DavidCEisen says:

        Really? That is how you show how much more compassionate you are? By calling for scum to be exterminated?

        +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • R says:

        @DavidCEisen,

        Uh, yeah. There are people that deserve compassion and others that do not. How is that hard to understand?

        Judging by your comments, I’m sure you are one of the twats that felt sympathy towards the way Osama Bin Laden was killed.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • DavidCEisen says:

        Haha, oh boy. You’re right I feel sorry for Osama. Also for Hitler. If only I had been able to hug Osama I feel that I could have shown him the light.

        I take no great joy in the death of others, but understand the necessity in the actions. I think 99% of the world deserves compassion, though.

        you seem to believe that the inability to show compassion to someone based on perceived character flaws (ie Lackey is an asshole) means that those people have a character flaw that not only leads them to be unworthy of compassion but ultimately makes them ‘scum’ that should be ‘exterminated from the face of the Earth.’ Now what were you saying about Osama?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • R says:

        Are you comparing not showing compassion to Lackey, for his allegedly being an asshole, to not showing compassion for Osama Bin Laden for killing thousands of Americans?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • DavidCEisen says:

        I’ll try to put it simply for you. Your argument is that people that lack compassion for those they believe to be assholes are actually assholes themselves. And because they lack compassion for those they consider assholes, they should be exterminated from the Earth. This is odd, because by lacking compassion for these people (they are, afterall, scum that should be killed) you logically should kill yourself.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • hk says:

        Game, set and match.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • R says:

        Actually, you ended with “Now what was that you were saying about Osama?”, implying that the lack of compassion for that piece of shit is the same as lacking compassion for John Lackey. You can’t even get your points straight.

        Additionally, “my argument” is not just a general, blanket statement saying “that people that lack compassion for those they believe to be assholes are actually assholes themselves.”

        I never uttered those words. Leave it to a left-wing, human rights hippy to take it overboard.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • DavidCEisen says:

        Actually I was making a slightly exaggerated comparison between people that believe scum should be exterminated from the Earth.

        You’re right you didn’t call them assholes, you called them scum. I’m failing to see the distinction. Replace ‘ashhole’ with ‘scum’ and the argument still stands.

        P.s. Seriously? You still use the term ‘hippy?’ I’m sorry if I believe that human life has value.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  16. taite says:

    As a Red Sox fan, I can testify to just how aggravating it is to watch Lackey flounder. But everyone deals with things in different ways. Some people absorb themselves in work and bottle things up to cope, others have to let it all out. No way makes you better than another, and certainly doesn’t make you “manlier,” which is such a problematic concept anyway.

    And money does not make one happy.

    +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

  17. Random Guy says:

    RiverAce:

    That was probably one of the more unintelligent posts I’ve read recently and that is saying something.

    Why do you think I live in my mother’s basement? Because you don’t agree with something that I wrote? Uh…okay.

    -5 Vote -1 Vote +1

  18. Greg says:

    This Lackey article reminds me of what Sal Fasano was going through with his child.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/jeff_pearlman/09/25/fasano/index.html

    It’s a bit dated, but I think relevant to the discussion.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  19. Baron Samedi says:

    Well, well, well.

    I hadn’t been advised that someone appointed RiverAce to be this site’s policeman.

    He will criticize us lowly serfs when we write something that doesn’t meet his lofty standards.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Baron Samedi says:

      Wow, a fake Baron Samedi. I’m honoured.

      Also, how do any of my comments warrant calling me a douche bag?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  20. disco says:

    RiverAce is a clown – let’s move on to more intelligent conversation and not waste time on a pathetic jackoff who enjoys writing nasty comments that are neither insightful nor interesting.

    -11 Vote -1 Vote +1

  21. BobDoleMania says:

    “It can be easy to forget that major-league baseball players are also human beings. ”

    I don’t agree with this statement at all.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Kevin says:

      Read some of the comments here. It sure looks like people are having trouble remembering just after they were told not to forget.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  22. CircleChange11 says:

    Not me making the previous CC11 comments.

    I don’t know much about Lackey as a person, but I empathize with his situaton, regardless of his salary and profession.

    We’ve seen with Greinke, Votto, Eisenreich, etc that having great baseball talent/skills doesn’t automatically prepare one to handle other aspects of life.

    Some may point out that Lackey is more fortunate than others and his comments could be construed as insensitive. But he, like many of us (1) are more fortunate than others and (2) are still primarily concerned with ourselves and our family. That’s human nature. I doubt there’s very few of us that when we experience major obstacles think “Well, at least there’s food in the fridge” as our first thought.

    —————————-

    As for people selling their houses to pay for cancer treatments … I wonder how much more prevalent it is for a person to have their house taken by the bank because they made hospital payments instead of house payments?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  23. Mojowo11 says:

    Steve,

    I thought this was a really nice article, and I think it’s unfortunate what the comments have devolved into. Thanks for the good work.

    +19 Vote -1 Vote +1

  24. TheGrandslamwich says:

    I generally root against the Red Sox, and as an A’s fan I never rooted for Lackey when he was with the Angels, but nobody deserves this. I hope his wife beats it and that his general view on life improves.

    +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

  25. Tom B says:

    The internet white knights are out in force, bashing their heads into each other with no idea who or what they are defending anymore.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  26. Milton Bradley says:

    You’re telling me I could still be playing if my wife got cancer?????

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  27. everdiso says:

    Thanks Tom B – that is definitely RiverAce.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  28. jeff says:

    I hope he works it out. I think a lot of people can relate. There are a lot of idiots on this site.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  29. mike says:

    That’s really sad, and I feel bad for him.

    But just seeing peoples comments about him, show just how big of a jerk-off this guy’s been.

    Off topic, but has any team ever had a douchier?? threesome than Buchholz, Beckett, and Lackey?

    And I’m a Sox fan, but those guys are hard to like.

    -5 Vote -1 Vote +1

  30. jeff says:

    I like Lackey’s honesty and I like his competitive fire. He cares. He’s struggling right now so it’s easy to pile on, but he’ll turn it around. He’s a tough guy. I wish him the best.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  31. RiverAce says:

    I can’t stand John Lackey. He has been one of the most overrated pitchers in the last 10 years. This article isn’t about his on-field performance, however.
    I really thought this article hit the bullseye dead on, and then started reading the comments until I got fed up and called some of you clowns out on your BS.
    Then in response you spew out more… now I know it’s chronic.
    You guys are like jackyls. Trolling around throwing out ignorance until you can find some ignorant friends to agree with you.
    OUT!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Roger Workman says:

      Be calm. The internet people can NOT harm you.

      You are sitting on a computer. If you don’t like what is being said on the aforementioned computer, then stand up, and walk somewhere where your computer isn’t. BAMN. Problem solved.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Erik says:

      man, overreact much?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  32. Mac says:

    Money doesn’t make the circumstances any less tragic, but it sure can help you cope.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  33. Johnnymac Fan says:

    I feel for John Lackey. He’s in a terrible position.

    I feel for anybody who faces as much scrutiny as professional athletes do, particularly during the darkest days of their lives.

    He still seems like a dick, and I thought that before he insulted my favorite player the other day.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  34. Oscar says:

    People (including baseball players) have handled similar awful life experiences with more grace and less petulance. True. That said…the guy’s wife has CANCER. Give him a break on a little whining.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  35. A Human Being says:

    I hope he and his wife get through everything OK.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • A Human Being says:

      Also, thanks for the article! So many times we forget that baseball is a diversion, and the only things that really matter are friends and family. Having suffered through a loved one dying from cancer, I can fully understand Mr. Lackey’s sentiments.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  36. KGB says:

    You shouldn’t allow idiots to post comments, Steve. They should be monitored and deleted if retarded. OR….you shouldn’t post some sensitive stuff on THIS site (which I love btw) about cancer or whatever. This is a stats site. Fools are all around us. John Lackey’s wife had cancer. Let it go. Who cares if he is a dick? Talk about his numbers….let Verducci or Edes wax about his personal life on another site. Well written piece, very much so…but disable comments or something. Shouldn’t be up for discussion wherein a fanboy can say that “Lackey really sucks hard.”

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  37. Jim says:

    You know when you look at a youtube and below it it says “Comments for this video have been disabled”?

    Yeah…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  38. pft says:

    There are many people dealing with a family illness, and many have financial problems due to the illness to deal with as well. Still have to go to work every day, and the boss still expects results. Lackey pitches 2-3 hrs every 5 days.

    Since we do not know anything about his wifes situation, we can not say much, but he has had a couple of decent starts, so he has dealt with it on these starts .

    He has made all of his starts with Salty behind to the plate, so I would like to see him with Tek behind the plate to see if he gets any better results (currently last in ERA among 122 starters).

    Also, as a GB pitcher, the higher strike zone this year might be adversely effecting him. His GB rate has dropped from 45% to 33%.

    He also has a 1 MPH drop in his Fast Ball velocity that might be a sign of elbow trouble. He has a clause in his contract that says if he misses significant time due to elbow problems he has to play one additional year at the M LB minimum, so he might be reluctant to admit any elbow problems that could land him on the DL and start the clock.

    I am sure the personal issues are real, but this does not mean they are the entire reason for his poor performance. Correlation does not prove causation.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jason B says:

      “I am sure the personal issues are real, but this does not mean they are the entire reason for his poor performance.”

      Congrats on missing the entire point of the article. It was NOT “This is the entire reason he’s sucking”; rather it’s “let’s remember these other things going on in his life and the things he and his family are going through before we say awful things about him or run him outta town.”

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • pft says:

        Problem is we have no idea what he is going through. None at all. He has chosen not to say anything, yet somehow we are expected to assume the worst and excuse his performance, letting our imaginations run wild about what he “might” be going through.

        Last thing he said on the record was they caught it early and she is doing good. I have several close relatives who have went through the same thing, and a couple who did not do so well (uncle and sister died of leukemia, grandfather died of throat cancer, an aunt colon cancer, mother breast cancer, wife recently had a bladder cancer scare that took weeks to be ruled out). Still got to do your job.

        Lackey better get his ERA under control or he will be run out of town. If he wants sympathy or a pass on his performance, he can give us an update, otherwise, he ain’t getting it from me. If he can’t pitch due to his personal problems, he need to take an unpaid leave of absence.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jason B says:

        “If he wants sympathy or a pass on his performance, he can give us an update, otherwise, he ain’t getting it from me.”

        (A) He owes you nothing. Not one damned thing. Especially related to updates on personal matters that he and his family are dealing with. (B) He has never asked for yours or anybody’s sympathy, that I’m aware of. (C) God forbid anyone disappoint you. Maybe the BoSox will go 122-0 from here on out so you never have to have a bad day again.

        The level of trolling here is unreal…

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  39. hunterfan says:

    If Lackey’s life is making it unable for him to focus on baseball right now, he should take an unpaid leave of absence. The Sox have a decent alternative starter in Wakefield. If he’s blaming his life sucking for his poor performance, then step down until your life sucks less and you can concentrate more.

    If he still decides to continue going out there and sucking, then at some level, it’s on him.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jason B says:

      Good that you decided a course of action for a guy who’s situation and circumstances you can’t imagine and still don’t know the entirety and complexity of. I’m sure he’ll appreciate it. You might get word to the Sox receptionist, I’m sure she’ll pass word along for how he should handle his shit.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  40. Luigi says:

    Wow this guy RiverAce is full of vitriol – what an incredibly nasty human being.

    Like the commenter Roger Workman said, just walk away from your computer if you don’t like what’s being written – no need to literally write stuff like this:

    Name 1: you are a douchebag.
    Name 2: you live in your mother’s basement.
    etc.
    etc.
    ad infinitum

    It doesn’t seem necessary (or even healthy if you care about your own anger or stress level) to engage in these types of attacks on other people’s statements.

    Have a great day, everyone!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  41. Brian says:

    I’m trolling on the internet! Look at me!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  42. Jim says:

    Everybody shut up.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  43. Bill says:

    I really hope his wife gets through her illness ok. There is a lot of strong rhetoric on this discussion thread going both ways. Truth is people should feel for him but some of the patron saint defenders on here need to also understand that he gets paid a ton of money to perform at a very high level. Even if he wasn’t making anything close to what he is, say a tenth of it, that’s an awful lot of money and it’s that very money that enables him to care for his wife at the highest level available in the country and in the world. Red Sox management should do all they can to comfort him and his wife and make things easy on him, but he has a job to do and he either needs to get it done or tell them he can’t and perhaps work something out with the team to get out of his deal or something.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • DavidCEisen says:

      I get your point, but this all reminds me of something I heard Rob Lowe say in an interview: Everyone assumes that once you make it your life is great. You work hard to get somewhere and then find out that life isn’t all that different, except you are famous and have a lot of money.

      His point was that this is what leads many (including him) to abuse drugs and have a generally distractive lifestyle. But it also could be a factor here as well. To some extent I think most baseball players assume their lives will be great once they ‘make it to the show,’ but they still end up having a lot of the same problems (cancer, racism, health issues, people using them for their money, ect). A lot of people think that success, wealth, and fame make it easier to deal with these issues, but in some cases it might make it more difficult.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • hunterfan says:

        Reminds me of something my mother said: Money might not make me happy, but I’d like to give it a chance to try.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • victor frankenstein says:

        Or stepping even further into it, Randy Newman:

        They say that’s money
        Can’t buy love in this world
        But it’ll get you a half-pound of cocaine
        And a sixteen-year old girl
        And a great big long limousine
        On a hot September night
        Now that may not be love
        But it is all right

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • DavidCEisen says:

        Actually that sounds like it is about Rob Lowe circa 1988.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  44. jeff says:

    I don’t understand the hate for Lackey. It’s so easy to point fingers. People who do are idiots. Unfortunately there’s a lot of em.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  45. DiGiacomo says:

    Has Lackey been rude to fans or the press during his time in Boston or LA? Why do people not like him and why is one Red Sox fan saying that Bucholz, Beckett, and Lackey are all not likeable?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • jeff says:

      It’s really because he has sucked on the mound and signed a big contract and was expected to be better. It all comes down to performance. Now people want to villify him and act like he’s a bad guy. Nothing more than piling on. If he was pitching better, it wouldn’t happen. It’s shameful. People are idiots.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Nat Haniel says:

      They spoke the same way about Beckett before he started performing well again. Fans are fickle like that. None of them knowing their ass from their elbow, a player is either great or blows until the contrary is evidenced for a month or two.

      “Red Sox — if you’re out there, you need to give Lackey a break”
      That request was both stupid and unnecessary. Far smarter people than us believe the guy is worth his contract, and if Lackey hits a few bumps in this 4 year road, so be it. He’s still a high quality starter in a league lacking them.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  46. oxymoron says:

    How can you (claim to be) gay and spout republican crap, i.e. going out of your way to type someones middle name as their last name or using a blatantly slanted term for healthcare reform?

    Are you also albino, yet fond of tanning salons?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  47. jorgath says:

    *shrug*

    John Lackey, you have my sympathy. Now decide which is more important: your job (to pay your sick wife’s hospital bills), or spending time with your sick wife. Actually, ask her, she’s probably smarter than you.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  48. Justin Verlander says:

    Everything in my life swallows.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  49. Also, here’s some data from a study put out by the California Breast Cancer Research Program, “The Cost of Breast Cancer in California”:

    In 2001, there were 12,934 hospital discharges of California women with a primary diagnosis of breast cancer. The average length of stay was 2.2 days, the mean cost was $5967, and total costs were $77 million. Mean costs decreased with age and were greatest for MediCal recipients. Hospital outpatient visits totaled $69 million and office-based provider visits totaled $56 million. Prescription medications and nursing home care added $19 million and $15 million in costs respectively. The total direct costs of breast cancer in California for 2001 were $279 million.
    Breast cancer claimed the lives of 4,226 California women in 2001. Mortality rates increased with age, from 6.4 per 100,000 women aged 18-44, to 159.6 per 100,000 women aged 85 and older. These deaths cost the state dearly, representing $1.1 billion in the value of lost productivity and nearly 100,000 years of life lost. Each life lost prematurely to breast cancer represents lost productivity of $272,000 and 22.9 life years.
    Lifetime cancer-attributable Medicare costs were estimated as the difference between the lifetime discounted costs for the cancer group and a control group that had been matched with cases by age and race. Costs were estimated by age, race/ethnicity, stage at diagnosis, and initial treatment modality. The mean cost across all women with breast cancer was $31,735. Cancer-attributable lifetime Medicare costs decreased with age at diagnosis, ranging from $37,306 for women diagnosed at age 65-69 to $19,493 for women age 85 and older at diagnosis. Total lifetime cancer-attributable Medicare costs were higher for Hispanics ($49,895) than for women of other racial/ethnic background. African Americans had the next highest lifetime costs ($40,451) while non-Hispanic whites had the lowest costs ($30,300). Stage at diagnosis had an important impact on lifetime cancer-attributable costs, with costs increasing substantially for women diagnosed at later stages. Lifetime Medicare cancer-attributable costs increased from $21,320 for women diagnosed with in situ cancer, to $26,747 for localized cancer, $40,096 for regional cancer, and $52,288 for distant cancer. The pattern of costs by stage across phases of care was similar using the AJC staging categories (stages 0-4). Lifetime cancer-attributable Medicare costs were estimated for 5 different treatment regimes. Costs differed by treatment according to stage of diagnosis. The highest lifetime Medicare cancer-attributable costs were for women diagnosed with advanced stage cancer and treated surgically ($49,383) and the lowest costs were for those diagnosed with AJC Stage 0 cancer and treated with modified radical mastectomy alone ($16,063).

    Lackey has the money to afford it, but it’s seriously expensive.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  50. Manny Ramirez says:

    i have some pills you take for fertility, have the wife give me a call i hook her up!!!!!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  51. Alex says:

    Everyone’s dealing with bad things in their life at one point or another. I feel for him, but at the same time, you won’t see me using it as an excuse at my job, and I make a fraction of what he does.

    At one point in your life, sometime between when your balls drop and you die, you man up and realize bad things are a part of life. You can’t change them, you can only change your reaction to them. Clearly, Lackey just isn’t there yet. I wish him the best.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jason B says:

      “at the same time, you won’t see me using it as an excuse at my job, and I make a fraction of what he does.”

      Such. Utter. Bull. Crap. I’m sure you never have blamed anyone or anything else for your screw-ups. You’re above all that, no doubt. I really hope someday that Lackey and all mere mortals can learn from your pristine example.

      Douchenozzle.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  52. Ryan says:

    Well this could definitely explain his numbers to quite an extent. Having to play a game with you’re wife’s life in question and you’re own flesh and blood not making into this world must be extremely difficult to play through. Even if he makes more money in a year than most people make in a lifetime, MONEY DOES NOT BUY HAPPINESS. All the people out there who think that he should get over it are SUPER JELLY.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  53. Nat Haniel says:

    I’m undecided about which posters detest me more; the one’s who have labeled Lackey a failure already, those who personally can’t stand the man they’ve never met, or those seeking sympathy votes, which is almost as bad as flat-out ridiculing his wife’s affliction..

    Get better, Mrs. Lackey.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  54. sbrodchet says:

    I think it is very difficult to gauge how any person could/should react to situations such as the Lackey family has had to endure with not only the miscarriage but now cancer in a relatively short period of time. It has to be mind boggling. Every person handles the stress of medical calamities such as the Lackey family has had to endure in many different ways. But, to have your wife dealing with that burden and knowing that you cannot be there most of the time for whatever reason to support her has to be extremely difficult at best. No amount of money or anything for that matter can ease that feeling of not being able to be there when she needs you most. My sincere best wishes to Mrs. Lackey and the Lackey family.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  55. Moe says:

    Everdisco is a fucking tool.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  56. j Pennington says:

    Wow , thanks for letting us know. We didn’t . Our heart goes out to John & his wife. We have had not one but two different mom’s in our lives diagnosed with breast cancer. One mom made it the other passed away last November.. And to have lost a child as well. Wow again.
    We have been through that also. Amazing John is even out there pitching as that is so much to go through all at once. We hope he gets some rest and maybe can take a mental health moment to find his strength again when he is able. In the meantime we will pray for John & his wife and family.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Angels Fans, the Pennington Family, Ca.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  57. TylerTheCreator says:

    Baseball is not important.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  58. Zach says:

    I don’t care how much you are being paid in any field of work, when you have personal issues like he has had, you need to take some time off (a.k.a. put him on the DL) and focus on your personal matters. Its clear his heart isn’t in the game right now.
    Its different, but wasn’t Zach Grienke on the DL for depression before? It sets precedent for this…I hope the Red Sox and Lackey do the right thing.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  59. Leo Martin says:

    People.

    It’s “hear, hear.” Not “here, here.”

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  60. MOToole says:

    Its a game people, nothing more nothing less, real life gets in the way, big deal, real life is a lot more important than the game of baseball, sorry.

    I dont believe in God, so therefore I cant say I’ll pray for the Lackey’s, but I do wish them the best, and hope the Fates smile on them….but as the saying goes, and yes, I’m butchering the spelling of this, “the skein of your life was molded aeons ago, when the sisters call for you, there is nothing you can do”

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  61. Ralphie says:

    I don’t get the Remington reference above. Can you explain?

    I’ve always liked that Remi’s articles until this most recent one on Milton Bradley wherein he called a guy at the Sun-Times racist for no reason whatsoever.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  62. Jacob says:

    I am a die hard Yankees fan and I have never been a fan of Lackey’s attitude, even since his days with the Angels.

    That being said, I don’t know the guy AT ALL personally and nobody should be making negative comments on here unless they do. My heart goes out to him and his family. Cancer is a horrible thing and I hope everything works out so the guy can get his head right.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  63. AK50 says:

    I thought this was a stats site

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  64. The_Beard says:

    Steve nice article.

    Stay classy, fangraphs readers. Or don’t.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  65. jbdickson says:

    everdiso’s right

    screw all of you guys

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  66. Sgt19 says:

    BOOOOORRRRIIINNNGGGGG! What a bunch of whiny DBags!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  67. Bill says:

    So many opinions, so few people who have been through something remotely similar to what Lackey has. It’s amusing to hear people talking about “giving free passes” and who deserves them as if they themselves are some kind of arbiter of the free pass.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  68. jts5 says:

    my condolences to Lackey and his family. I know what it’s like to have someone close to you dealing with such a terrible disease, and wish his wife the best.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  69. shibboleth says:

    Like any job, an employee is a person first and a professional second. If Boston wants Lackey to get well, they need to hear what he’s saying. I wish him and his family all the best.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  70. Scott Gilroy says:

    I love Baseball. But its just baseball. Cut the guy some slack

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  71. Paul says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpjRhNi5NOA

    I still watch this from time to time.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  72. Life Sucks says:

    Today, things are getting better and I am having a party … see
    and I moved into a good area because the house prices are cheap

    The only problem is my ride. It just doesn’t go as fast as the other cars

    Check out my story in video with the good folks at YouTube
    life sucks/p>

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  73. whoah this blog is great i really like reading your posts. Stay up the good work! You understand, a lot of persons are looking around for this info, you can aid them greatly.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  74. kladionice says:

    Its like you read my thoughts! You appear to understand so much about this, like you wrote the guide in it or something. I feel that you just could do with some % to power the message house a bit, but instead of that, this is magnificent blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  75. ben says:

    I’d like to hear from Sideshow Mel

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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