But management disagrees. “If we had [recently] changed the schedule to 162 . . . and we had more injuries, I could see where that theory would make some sense,” said Commissioner Rob Manfred. “The fact of the matter is, we’ve been playing this way for decades, and we still have had this increase of injuries. I have a hard time with the correlation between those two.”
Yes, injuries are certainly up. The Atlanta Braves, division champions in 2013 and difficult to beat during the last few years, are over twenty games out of first place in 2016, with as many as a dozen players at one time on the disabled list. And look at all the pitchers who have been sidelined this year—from Clayton Kershaw to Matt Harvey to Steven Strasburg. Some blame it on the fact that pitchers are throwing faster in recent times, or on bad training—but the fact is it’s not just pitchers who are getting injured these days.
You would think, with the money invested in these players—the minimum salary in the majors is $507,000 with an average of $4.1 million—you would think that the teams would invest just a little in finding out what kind of diet would offer their players the best protection, if only to protect their own investment.
Actually they don’t have to do that, because I’m going to tell them how to minimize injuries right now—and for free. Here’s my advice for keeping players strong and resilient in baseball—or in any sport.
1. Fire the Dietitians! Baseball players need more than broccoli and bird seed. Dieticians are trained to promote the disastrous dietary guidelines, and our athletes deserve better than that.
2. It’s all about collagen: The vast majority of injuries involve sprains, breakage and pain in the tendons and joints—and our tendons and joints are made of collagen. Bone broth to the rescue! What is gelatinous bone broth but melted collagen. Players should get a mug of warm broth before every game—the teams need to invest in a chef or catering service that will make genuine bone broth (not melted MSG-laced bouillon cubes) and deliver it heated to the club house.
3. Eat warrior foods: Warrior foods include butter, egg yolks, liver, meat with the fat, fish eggs and other seafood, especially shellfish. Eat butter (lots of it), egg yolks and meat every day, liver and oysters a couple of times per week. (Liver is not hard to eat—a liverwurst sandwich will do.)
4. Management should contract with a dairy to supply their players with Real Milk (whole, raw, pasture fed). I am kidding of course—MLB management would never have the courage to do something so radical and so sensible. But players themselves can find Real Milk, just by visiting realmilk.com. “I’ve never met a great athlete who wasn’t a big milk drinker,” said Vince Lombardi. He was talking about boys coming off Wisconsin dairy farms to play for the Green Bay Packers, boys who grew up on real, raw milk. It’s the perfect food to keep players in tip top shape—and factors in the raw cream are their best protection against joint stiffness.
5. Avoid processed foods. I know, I know, a lot of the money baseball franchises make to pay their players is through the sale of processed foods. But athletes need to avoid sodas (including so-called sports drinks), fried food, cookies, donuts, candy bars (including new-fangled energy bars), etc. Protein powders belong in this list—they are highly processed and not good for athletes.
6. Avoid Caffeine: Caffeine makes the adrenal glands work overtime, eventually resulting in a lack of cortisol. When cortisol is low, the ligaments get weak, and injuries are the result. Caffeine is not only in coffee but in soft drinks, sports drinks, tea drinks and chocolate.
7. Don’t try to digest and play at the same time. Remember when they used to tell us not to eat anything before swimming, or we’d get cramps? The body has to put a lot of energy into digestion, so it’s not a good idea to be digesting while you’re playing. Have a big meal a couple of hours before the game, and then don’t eat anything until the game is over. By the way, I see a lot of players eating what looks like corn nuts or sunflower seeds—I can’t think of anything more difficult to digest!
8. Don’t do weird diets—like juicing, low-fat or low-carb. None of them is a good idea.
9. Hire a team chiropractor: All the teams have resident MDs and trainers—they all need resident chiropractors as well. Last time Bryce Harper was out with a strained muscle, the announcers let slip that he had gone to visit a chiropractor. Very shortly he was back in play and hasn’t injured himself since. Athletes should get weekly spinal checks, to make sure everything is in alignment, and chiropractic adjustment should be the first treatment after an injury.
So follow my advice and players will find their strength, stamina, reaction times and resistance to injury improve—so much so that throwing one hundred ninety-five-mile-per-hour fast balls in one game will be a cinch, and even pitchers will have long and healthy careers.
The Weston A. Price Foundation provides accurate information on nutrition to athletes, students, parents, elders and everybody else. Please be a member and support the work we do. (And the WAPF staff are big Nationals fans!)