Let’s be clear: Walker gave it his all, and then some
I wrote an item on Neil Walker a couple of days ago in New York which greatly troubles me now.
It was a note on Walker’s dropped recent run-production, and how that was a missing element during the Pirates’ September swoon.
Three things about that item disturb me:
- Use in the headline of the word “slump,” which doesn’t appear in the actual article and wrongly implied that Neil wasn’t doing as well as he could be. It’s an old journalistic misconception, but reporters do not write their own headlines — although they are responsible for making sure the chosen headline is appropriate.
- While this may not have been the case, since his lack of opportunities with men in scoring position is mentioned in the piece, it may have caused the impression that Walker stepped off the clutch.
- That I didn’t know the severity of the injury from which Neil had tried to come back — a herniated disc. This was simply because the media was never told, not until Neil himself mentioned it yesterday.
“Lower-back tightness” and “back spasms” are one thing. Those catch-all references to Walker’s condition didn’t do justice to the above-and-beyond attitude and competitiveness that made Walker try to come back when he did.
There are some Pirates whose desire and work ethic could come under question. This guy certainly isn’t one of them.