As I wait for Dodger James McDonald to make his major league debut as a starter tonight, I can't help but think of another African-American pitcher, who was a sensation five years ago.
I've kind of lost track of Dontrelle Willis since he went over to the American League. I know he had a lousy season for the Tigers last year. That's about it.
But what little I have heard about Willis this year concerns me. He has been placed on the disabled list with an anxiety disorder. That turned my head, because I know a few people who have had experiences with anxiety disorders. And if that's what Willis is going through, then he has my utmost sympathy.
But I've also read that this was just a ploy by the Tigers to get Willis off the field because he can't find the plate anymore. It was either disable him or eat his contract and release him. And then there is Willis, who seems to deny that there's anything amiss mentally.
I know that if you do have an issue with anxiety, being on the pitcher's mound is no place for you. But the whole thing seems fishy and foggy to someone who is not following the Tigers. And it seems like more should have been written about all of this. After all, he was the talk of baseball a few years back and did help the Marlins win a World Series.
So, Tigers fans, what's the deal? Does Willis have a genuine problem, or is his problem only that he's forgotten how to pitch? Or is this something that only those closest to Dontrelle know about?
Because I want the old Dontrelle back. The happy, high-kicking, successful Dontrelle. The kid on that night card up there. How do we get that guy back?