Anticipating the pounce

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If you haven't heard yet, Dontrelle Willis is back on the DL, again for an anxiety disorder. And again, the circumstances are a little fishy. As such, I assume the next day or two will see plenty of people calling shenanigans and just as many, like me, calling time out on the people calling shenanigans.

It begrudges me to comment on these kinds of stories because it smacks of know-it-allism and forces me to admit I'm no better than all the other overimaginative potificators speculating on a semi-fictional account of the thoughts in another man's brain. Decoding the mental processes of a faraway figure is a fool's game, and it requires a creative license that's just as inappropriate and annoying as finger wagging. Unfortunately, I'm inclined to think I'm skilled in this exercise, so here I go.

We shouldn't doubt for a second that the Tigers may want to abuse the diagnosis of a common, vaguely-defined, and easily-suggestible mental disorder to tell a struggling performer to go play in the sandbox while the adults work in the yard. It's especially tempting to assume so after reading this:
"I've talked to everybody and I don't feel like I have any nervousness out there," Willis said. "I've got so many moving parts that if one's out of whack from time to time it happens.

"This is not the first time I've had control problems, but I've been able to overcome it, so I'm not worried about it."
Of course, self-deception is typically easier than outward deception, and a few bullshit sentences to satiate a hard-questionin' reporter is easier yet. That said, we also get this "detail":
Willis has been his usual gregarious self during a three-game interleague series against the Cardinals, constantly joking around with teammates. He even punctuated many of his comments about going on the DL with laughter.
To that I say: a) Don't be fooled by Willis; b) don't be fooled by the Tigers; and c) don't be fooled by either of them.

The only real point I have is this: "gregarious" has little to do with anything, and laughter can signal delusion just as well as it can signal happiness and stability, so that's not much help either. The charismatic extravert is often the best actor, and those within his sphere are often least able to see through his gregarious ways--assuming there's something to see down to in the first place--simply because that gregarious version of the person is the version they want to see, the version that makes them feel good about themselves, and therefore the only version they care to believe exists.

Also, I think people who've never dealt with legitimate anxiety issues or any other mental disorder tend to downplay or simply don't comprehend the inseparability of mental state and physical performance, so we'll probably hear--as we have before--those who'll maintain Willis's issues (assuming they're real) have nothing to do with his physical mechanics. This is probably false, though I think people who would react this way are dwindling in number.

Anyway, this is all just food for thought. I have no idea what D-Train's thinking, and neither do you. It's actually not relevant, nor is it fair to use this story as a backdrop and excuse for my psycho-rambling. Good thing we only have, like, five readers.


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