FanDuel - WFBC

June 28, 2006

Promises kept. : Matt LaChappa hasn't thrown a pitch professionally in 10 years. He is confined to a wheelchair, and constrained by the physical fallout from back-to-back heart attacks. Yet the San Diego Padres continue to pay him as if he were an active player. It might be the noblest thing they do. (courtesy of the mlb LJ community)

posted by evixir to baseball at 06:24 PM - 35 comments

Priscilla Oppenheimer sounds like a formidable chracter - with a good heart. Fair play to her.

posted by jamesonandwater at 06:34 PM on June 28

Kick-ass post, non-newbie who I didn't recognize. Thanks.

posted by yerfatma at 06:54 PM on June 28

Brilliant. Thanks for a terrific link, and I'll be contacting the Padres to find out how I can send something for the charity auction next year.

posted by wfrazerjr at 07:01 PM on June 28

Excellent story. Good on Ms. Oppenheimer.

posted by stockman at 07:13 PM on June 28

Tugs at the heart strings. Great story!

posted by wingnut4life at 07:33 PM on June 28

great link, well done evixir.

posted by ninjavshippo at 07:45 PM on June 28

Egads! He's the guy behind the closet in Real Genius. Pops out, drops a great read, catches the shadow, ducks back in. Six more weeks of summer! Thanks for the link.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 08:31 PM on June 28

Uh, TBH? Just say Lazlo. We'll know who you mean. Not everyone wins 30% of all Fritos prizes in one contest. "This is God, Kent. Stop masturbating!"

posted by yerfatma at 09:05 PM on June 28

Well, from the opening sentence it packs every trite and condescending cliche about people with disabilities, from the hackneyed and inaccurate claim that anyone is "confined" to a wheelchair, to the inevitable sentimentality about how brave those crips are.

posted by Henri at 10:55 PM on June 28

Nice post evixir. I remember reading about LaChappa a while back; kudos to the Pads and to Priscilla Oppenheimer.

posted by curtangle at 11:02 PM on June 28

Wow,Henri. Nice start. First comment and you're already going to be pissing people off. Maybe you have your reasons, but daaammmnn!

posted by ctal1999 at 02:40 AM on June 29

Trolling is usually that reason.

posted by igottheblues at 03:20 AM on June 29

Just say Lazlo. We'll know who you mean. In a perfect world, it would be that easy. I can't assume that everybody walks on the same plane as you, big guy.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:35 AM on June 29

Lazlo who? Nice link and good for the Padres for supporting their man.

posted by squealy at 04:53 AM on June 29

Wow,Henri. Nice start. First comment and you're already going to be pissing people off. Maybe you have your reasons, but daaammmnn! So speaks the veteran SpoFite. Go ahead and flame me too, ctal, I thought Henri had the right of it. Hey, show of hands! Who was pissed off by Henri's criticism? I think it's important to recognize the very rare cases when a large organization does the right thing when one of their employees falls on hard times somehow. I also think that neither people nor organizations should be gushed over simply for doing the right thing. Recognize it, move on. And I think it would go a long way towards treating people with disabilities as human if, in a similar vein, we were to simply acknowledge their challenges rather than gushing over how brave and plucky they are. Go on, now, flame me too.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:31 AM on June 29

I also think that neither people nor organizations should be gushed over simply for doing the right thing That would reduce the incentive for some folks to do the right thing and it would mean fewer examples for others. I appreciate your point in the abstract, but given the shit that passes for off-day "news" in most sports sections, I'll take this.

posted by yerfatma at 06:00 AM on June 29

I'm still a noob here, but... I think it's a good story and certainly deserves recognition, but Henri makes a good point that's easily overlooked. Just pause for a moment and consider how insensitive those cliches really are. We get so used to them we don't think about what they really mean.

posted by SummersEve at 07:17 AM on June 29

Wow, a few days back I had some of you guys jumping up and down on me because I did't see the nobility of Randy Moss investing in a for profit business. Now we rip on the Padres for doing what most organizations and big business won't. I'm just about as cynical as a person is allowed to be without passing the bar exam, but I found myself feeling just a bit better about my fellow man (or woman as the case may be). Yes it would be nice if this kind of thing was so common it was not worth reporting, but alas, that's not the world we live in. So kudos to the Padres, may many people follow your example. And Henri, every now and then, a little sentimenttality is good for the soul.

posted by CB900 at 08:08 AM on June 29

I don't think the Padres are merely doing the "right" thing. Helping him out is right, but keeping him on their payroll for 10 years while he is not playing is quite a bit more. There are tons of cliched-disability articles, but this one is pretty mild.

posted by bperk at 08:11 AM on June 29

I don't want to speak for him, but i thought Henri was crticizing the writing not the action the writing is about. He isn't saying what the Padres are doing is bad (or good for that matter), he's saying the way this story is written is condescending to physically disabled folks.

posted by SummersEve at 08:16 AM on June 29

Good story. Nice gesture. I'm sure it helps LaChappa feel valued, and there's nothing wrong with that. I wouldn't take issue with the gesture just because the writer of the article is a little dated in their depiction of disabled people. Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater, here. I think in the abstract it is considered the "right thing to do", but the reality is that the Padres are essentially giving away free money. Now, we don't live in a perfect society, and that does not happen everyday. It's worthy of the recognition so to encourage the behaviour. Most organizations, at the first sign of not meeting quarterly projections, do the easiest thing and cut jobs and then proceed to overwork the jobs they don't cut.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:18 AM on June 29

Whoa, Nelly. I realize we're all just that little bit more enlightened, hip, and cynical than our fellow humans, but let's take a real look at that story... "He is confined to a wheelchair, and constrained by the physical fallout from back-to-back heart attacks." Confined: "To restrict in movement" -- Now, that's a fact. I had to ride one for a good long while and they restrict your movement. Note, it doesn't say "never moves about." The photo proves he gets out of the house, so the sentence obviously doesn't mean LaChappa's trauma has forced him to a 3x3 cell. Brave? Brave? Where the hell did you get "brave?" You read that one into the story yourself. Cheerful was mentioned. That was in a quote. Cheerful I'll give you, but not "brave." The description that could be considered the least 'enlightened" is: "He actually participates in everything his family does. He attends church, goes to dinner, goes to the movies." Ouch. Everyone knows that those who suffer serious trauma still do everything else the family does! My god, what an ass! Wait, that wasn't the writer. It's a quote from LaChappa's brother. It looks like he has an agenda. He's going to remind all those who haven't experienced such trauma that body trauma does not automatically equal personality trauma: "He's still the same person that he was before." Why did the brother say that? Of course, Henri, I'm sure you have no prejudices at all. Each and every person you meet is one of God's snowflakes. Each to be judged purely on his or her actions. But the brother, and the writer of the story, knows the paper's entire audience isn't as enlightened. Some may need stories like this to help them see that not everyone is in life for the bottom-line. That there are people left who care, simply because they care. People who keep promises, even when it's no longer convenient to do so. Some may even need to be reminded that while serious life-threatening trauma always, always, changes your life that people react to those changes in different ways.

posted by ?! at 09:37 AM on June 29

lbb, I didn't mean to flame him. I was just amazed that his sentiments were so harsh, especially for the first comment he's ever posted. I admit that I'm something of a newbie myself, too. I read the comments for quite awhile before I took the time to sign up, and I've noticed that there are some members who are always saying things that are pretty rough, but it's usually either because they've gotten wound up about similar subjects in the past and are still ticked off, or they're simply trying to stir up trouble for the heck of it. Since this was his first comment ever, neither of those scenarios appear to apply. I wasn't surprised by the opinion, but I was by how biting the presentation was. Like I said, maybe he has good reason to feel this way. I'd like to hear more from him actually, because he seems to be of two minds. At first he appeared to be upset that a business was getting a lot of attention for doing something that was only their moral responsibility anyway, and that the writer was hanging a bunch of stereotypical crap about people with disabilities on LaChappa. Not sure I agree, but I get that arguement. Then, after a defense of the disabled, he closes by calling them "crips". That's not a criticism, just an observation that it seems like a bit of a dichotomy. It'd be nice to hear more about where he's coming from.

posted by ctal1999 at 10:13 AM on June 29

Kudos to the padres. It amazes me how some people just scroll through here and try to pick peoples comments and opinions apart just for the hell of it. I wonder how many even read the article. For those that think the padres should not be admired for doing the right thing...fine, thats your opinion but why are you posting at all if you feel that way?

posted by scottyooooo at 10:37 AM on June 29

This isn't just a lovely gesture and a little charity of free money. If the Pads cut LaChappa, it sounds like he would lose the health insurance he holds through the team. With his medical situation, he would have a heck of a time getting a new policy anywhere. The Padres may be, literally, saving his life by offering him this umbrella. The Padres organization is quite fortunate to enjoy the support of many high quality people like Oppenheimer. I am glad that she is getting some light shed on her -- it should go without saying that I hope the same for the many others like her that go about in relative anonymity.

posted by BullpenPro at 12:01 PM on June 29

This is a super awesome story. Thanks for posting it. My faith in humanity is restored. The Padres also gained a new fan today.

posted by Boxscore at 04:35 PM on June 29

Confined. Brave. How else would you describe someone who cannot get around without the aid of a wheelchair, and who bears their unfortunate circumstance without complaint? After all the stories about what healthy athletes waste their money on, this is a breath of fresh air. Henri is French huh? Does that translate to insensitive lout in English?

posted by irunfromclones at 06:48 PM on June 29

lbb, I didn't mean to flame him. But you did flame him, ctal. Own it. Then, after a defense of the disabled, he closes by calling them "crips". How do you know that, from his perspective, it is "them" and not "us"? That was my first thought: that those comments were written by a disabled person. I have heard the term "crip" used a few times in my life, and every time, it was a disabled person who used it (in an ironic sense, ya know?).

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:46 PM on June 29

lbb, I wasn't cutting him down, I was expressing surprise. When I repeatedly said he might have reasons for being so strident, the fact that he might be disabled is one of the things that I was referring to. The fact is that we don't know. That's why I said I'd like to hear more. I don't know why you're going off on me on this one. I've always thought you were pretty reasonable, but it's almost like you're bound and determined to misunderstand me here. If you thought I was trying to slam him, you're wrong. Sometimes it's easy to misinterpret the written word, because you can't see body language or hear inflection or tone of voice. I may be guilty of misunderstanding Henri (and if so, a lot of others were, too). You certainly misunderstood me. Sorry if it was unclear, but hopefully we're done here.

posted by ctal1999 at 08:28 PM on June 29

I may be guilty of misunderstanding Henri (and if so, a lot of others were, too). You certainly misunderstood me. Sorry if it was unclear, but hopefully we're done here. So, this... Wow,Henri. Nice start. First comment and you're already going to be pissing people off. Maybe you have your reasons, but daaammmnn! ...isn't a flame? I misunderstood "Nice start" to be pejorative when it wasn't? Well, whatever. Sure, we're done.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:29 PM on June 29

Rereading that, I see where you're coming from. What I meant was basically, "Wow! Swinging for the fences in your first AB." He was bound to catch crap over it and most newbies are a lot more timid than that, that's all. Anyway, hatchet buried?

posted by ctal1999 at 11:55 PM on June 29

Don't let l_b_b's demure, passive attitude fool you. She's a terrier, that one. Plus, she's rockin' the double underscore, which is undeniably hot.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 05:11 AM on June 30

Plus, she's rockin' the double underscore, which is undeniably hot. *cough*

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:20 AM on June 30

Plus, she's rockin' the double underscore, which is undeniably hot. I knew I messed up somewhere.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 06:38 AM on June 30

TBH, terrier's a great description of her and I like it when she sinks her teeth into a something...except when that something turns out to be my ass! Can't complain too much though because she usually brings up at least a few valid points in every comment...(grumbling under breath) dammit.

posted by ctal1999 at 08:55 AM on June 30

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