When Schilling went down, we were concerned. When Prior's elbow took it on the chin and Hampton could only muster four innings in his first game back, we wondered if there was some way we could be of help. But when Big Frank and Juan Gone were back on the shelf after less than a game each, we knew it was time to call in the Iron Man
Page 2: Hello, Cal?
Iron Man: I'm here. I'm always here.
Page 2: We know you are, Buddy. That's what we love about you. Listen, did you see what happened to Frank Thomas the other day? Is there any kind of advice or encouragement you have for the Big Fella?
Iron Man: First, don't call me "Buddy." Costner used to call me "Buddy." Second, I think I had a hip flexor once, it was in the second grade. I tweaked it running out a kickball grounder, and you know what I did? I played through it.
Page 2: What about his range of motion?
Iron Man: Range of motion this is like a ballet term or something, right? This is what that goof with the beard gushes about on "Inside the Actor's Studio"?
Page 2: Shouldn't he wait until he feels right?
Iron Man: Yeah, sure, he should wait until some shrunken little old lady who lives in a rent-controlled studio on the South Side, who makes her way across the room in a walker, who's been waiting on him since she was a wide-eyed, fair-haired girl in 1919, keels over and dies. Then he should play. But, you know, only if he feels right.
Page 2: So no advice, then?
Iron Man: I always liked what Satchel said: "If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts." That's always seemed rock-solid to me.
Page 2: But seriously
Iron Man: Show up. That's my advice.
Page 2: You're a hard man.
Iron Man: We done here?
Page 2: You saw where Juan Gonzalez strained his hammy again in his first game back?
Iron Man: Shocking.
Page 2: You ever experience anything like that?
Iron Man: July 17, 1987. We're scheduled to play two against the Royals. It's like 101 out, and you can cut the Baltimore air with a bread knife it's so muggy. I'm on the way to the ballpark, cruising in the right lane because I'm in no hurry. All of a sudden, the guy from the left lane decides to move over. No signal, no pardon me but I'm about to trash your SL, nothing. Bam. He pushes me off the road and into the ditch. I roll. Three times. The car bursts into flames and my left leg is pinned underneath the collapsed steering wheel. I pull it out, breaking my femur in two places in the process, drag myself from the blazing car, pull the other guy from his wreck, make sure that he's all right and then clock him good for being such an idiot, hail a cab, make it to the ballpark in time for BP, take a little extra infield to get used to moving on the leg, and go 4-for-8 on the night. So yeah, I've experienced something sort of like that.
Page 2: You're exaggerating, right?
Iron Man: Look it up. But don't strain yourself lifting "Total Baseball" that's a big book.
Page 2: Everyone can't be as tough as you are, Cal. How would you help Gonzalez stay focused for his comeback? Eric Wedge says he's pretty emotional about this latest setback.