The term ‘courage’ is probably over-used in professional sports, where players are well compensated to do what they do.
Seattle closer J.J. Putz, however, may have exemplified bravery on the diamond this week, and it had nothing to do with facing down a tough hitter or the pressure of a save situation.
It had everything to do with controlling his bowels in front of 40,000 fans and a televison audience.
Putz was battling a stomach ailment in Chicago that kept him either in the training room or the bathroom – and he was rarely comfortable in either. When the Mariners got to the ninth inning on Tuesday and needed Putz, he was there for them.
Putz pitched with a weak stomach, aware that with every maximum-effort fastball he risked the kind of release no one ever wants to have in public. He got through it cleanly, earned the save and this week’s award for ‘courage’ on the field.