Inside Conditions…Nature Boy

Starlin Castro, Andrew McCutchen
Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro tags out Pittsburgh Pirates Andrew McCutchen during the second inning of a baseball game on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles/File)

“There was a boy, a very strange enchanted boy. They say he wandered very far, very far, over land and sea. A little shy and sad of eye, but very wise was he. And then one day, a magic day he passed my way.  And while we spoke Of many things, fools and kings, this he said to me.”The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” (Recorded by the great Nat King Cole, written by Eden Ahbez)
I have observed Pirates centerfielder Andrew McCutchen from his time working his way up to play in the big leagues to the present.
Aubrey Bruce

The first time we met was at a Pirates media function at the Lexus Club, (It was named something else back then) at the moment I am having a senior memory episode.  Anyway, he politely introduced himself to me and to be quite honest, I had a terrible migraine headache that day, and if all I had to do to get into heaven was to remember that conversation in its entirety; let’s just say that I’d better be stocking up on bottled water.
He was joined at the table by ex-Pirates pitcher Ian Snell who I remember being very excited about an upcoming MMA event that was scheduled to air that night.  However, the thing that I remember the most about the encounter was that these were just young men, interested in other things happening in their lives and not just throwing and catching a ball. McCutchen was at ease, peaceful and very down to earth.
Please push the fast forward button for me.
The other night during when McCutchen suffered a “minor” ankle injury during a Pirates’ loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, I heard one of the post game radio so called “pundits” speculating and discussing the injury saying in a very sly, slick  and “wicked, wicked, yeah” way that; “the injury didn’t appear to be serious.”
O’kay Dr.Vinnie Boom-Boom.  I have observed the shingle outside of your office door and the walls within, and I swear, I really do swear that for the life of me, I cannot find a medical degree hanging anywhere in your vicinity.
The next game when McCutchen hit a double and “glided” into second base the “nurse practitioner” disguised as a journalist gloated, “I had a feeling that the injury was not that serious.”
See boys and girls that bugs me, that really really bugs me.
Tell you why; A few years ago, I experienced severe muscle cramps as a result of my long battle with spinal scoliosis.  Into my ER cubicle marched a “teaching phlebotomist” with 3 or 4 “ducklings in tow” hanging on every word that the “expert” had to say.  He attempted several times to extract blood but was unsuccessful.
“Have you ever used drugs?”  He asked in a very arrogant and irritated way expressing anger at me because of his shortcomings. “I fired back, “read the chart, furthermore you are not a doctor and I am not about to publicly share my medical history with you and a bunch of students; schools out.”
He turned as red as a beet, turned to his students and said to them as if I wasn’t there; “sometimes patients can be uncooperative but you can’t lose your cool.” Seems to me that he had already lost his cool and I was about to lose mine.
See, I wasn’t that sick. If he had said one more word; I would have leaped out of that bed and lit his behind up, “junior doctor” or not.
My anger was not just at him. I was reflecting on a book that I had read that was written by Dr. Harriet Washington titled; “Medical Apartheid.”  The book profiled some of the most insidious and inhumane human experimentation ever chronicled after the medieval period.  In the book Dr. Washington writes that; “Researchers who exploit African-Americans were the norm for much of our nation’s history, when Black patients were commonly regarded as fit subjects for nonconsensual, non therapeutic research.”
The book also points out that slaves were also “rented out” for experimentation during the winter months when there were seeds to be planted or crops to be harvested.
Even today Blacks mythically have a higher pain tolerance, thus powerful Schedule II medications are often grudgingly and sparingly prescribed for African Americans.  Even the injuries of the great Roberto Clemente were often questioned when his performance was subpar as a result of an injury.
Will the “Pirates nation” really love young their young MLB superstar Andrew McCutchen through thick and thin, healthy or injured? Only time will tell.
Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: or 412.583.6741

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