The Butcher of Worcester
Date: Monday, August 13, 2001
From: Kevin Hench
Subject: The Butcher of Worcester
The other day I saw Dr. Arthur Pappas sitting just beyond the Red
at Fenway Park. He was in prime lefty-out-in-front-line-drive-to-the-face
territory. For a moment I started fantasizing about the good old Doc taking
one right between the eyes. Then I realized that a hemorrhaging Dr. Pappas
would have one huge advantage over the rest of the organization: He wouldn't
be operated on by Dr. Arthur Pappas.
Now I don't want this to be just another Pappas smear. I want it to be the
definitive one, the clarion call that forces this guy to stop practicing
medicine - sure seems like practice, too, only he'd probably take more care
I'm sure you all have your favorite Dr. Pappas story.
For me, it was the time Al Nipper was spiked at home plate and had blood
gushing out of his knee. Rather than take him to one of the hospitals literally casting
shadows on Fenway Park, Art the Ripper shipped Nip out to Worcester because
that is where the good Doc is the head of orthopedics. John Valentin can also relate
to that long ride and the sketchy medical skill waiting at the other end of it. Guess
we should be glad Pap doesn't work in Springfield. Speaking of Springfield, does
Dr. Pappas remind anyone else of Dr. Nick from The Simpsons. "Hi, everybody!"
Maybe your favorite Pappy story is the one that ended with Marty Barrett
winning his medical malpractice lawsuit against the team but Pappy keeping
his job. Or maybe the time when Nomar Garciaparra announced in the clubhouse
all-too prophetically, "Our doctors are killing us!"
You'll no doubt find a place for the Jason Varitek debacle on your top-ten
list. For years it has seemed wildly unethical for a part-owner to also have
a primary role on the medical staff. And this is precisely why. The team is
up for sale, right? Dr. Pappas stands to gain financially by having them win
now, right? A World Series title could probably add another 100 million to
the bidding war. When you heard Jason Varitek broke his throwing elbow, you
figured he was out for the season, right? He's a catcher for chrissakes, of
course he's out for the season. But Pappy never met an injury whose seriousness
he couldn't minimize. He told Carlton Fisk the broken ribs were no big deal,
although throwing with broken ribs ended up ruining Fisk's elbow. Pap wasn't
exactly forthright with Marty Barrett about his torn ACL, some
sleight-of-hand doctoring in a pennant race that ended up costing the team
1.7 million (and ending Barrett's career).
We shouldn't be surprised that another player is "angry and frustrated" or
dissatisfied with the medical treatment he receives from the Red Sox. What
should surprise us is that Dr. Arthur Pappas is still allowed to practice
Notes from a 1-4 cross-country trip: Which is more depressing, allowing nine
unearned runs in the last two games of the trip or scoring five runs in the
first four games of the trip? ... I guess the first-base-against-lefties
problem will just remain unsolved in perpetuity... For months we've been
asking why Jimy subs Shea Hillenbrand for Chris Stynes at the end of close
games, and someone has finally provided an answer. That someone is Chris
Stynes. Oy. ... Dante Bichette will have an entire off day to draw up a list
of guesses as to which pitches will be thrown his way. He can also use the
day to decide if he'll swing at them all or not, since he is obviously
incapable of making that decision once the pitcher has released the ball...
Alan Mills did what a team of NASA scientists could not: He found Carl
Everett's "Hot Zone"... Does anyone ever have an uncomfortable swing against
Rod Beck?... If Doug Mirabelli hits .250+, Hatteberg needs to sit (sorry,
buddy). Hatteberg hasn't been able to throw since his elbow surgery two
years ago, which shouldn't surprise us since the only guy with a lower
success rate than Hatte is Dr. Arthur Pappas.