The Blue Jays are heading into their third day without stud closer Roberto Osuna available out of the bullpen. Osuna has out on Friday and Saturday with what he described as anxiety issues. He was open and honest about his issues with the media on Saturday, saying:
“I really don’t know how to explain it. I just feel anxious. I feel like I’m lost a little bit right now. I’m just a little bit lost right now. This has nothing to do with me being on the field. I feel great out there. It’s just when I’m out of baseball, when I’m not on the field, that I feel just weird and a little bit lost. I wish I knew how to get out of here and how to get out of this. We’re working on it, we’re trying to find ways to see what can make me feel better but to be honest, I just don’t know.”
I can’t stress enough how impressed I am with this young man. I suffer from anxiety myself, stemming from my diagnosed ADHD and mild bi-polar issues. I have dealt with it for my whole life, and I just watch sports for a living. To be a professional athlete, in a world and time where sports stars every move can be tracked and followed — still performing like the absolute beast he is with 19 saves so far this year, is nothing short of stellar. There are some days I don’t feel like walking out my front door for fear of running into the polite and friendly neighbours.
It’s always an incredible thing when an athlete opens up about mental health issues. For a guy like Osuna, I have no doubt it’s difficult. You’re not sure how the world will perceive your issue. The stigma around mental health, while improving, is still there. When one of these people acknowledges the struggle they deal with it shows others that there is nothing wrong with admitting you feel this way.
There is no time table for Roberto’s return and nor should there be. The team and more specifically Paddy Steinford, the Blue Jays’ mental performance coach will be working with Osuna to try and help him cope with this. In the meantime, the games will go on. The Jays will win and lose. But I for one hope the media and fans allow their closer the time he needs to get his head back into a comfortable space. Let’s let this be a reminder that these players are only human.
We all know someone who is dealing with this (or other mental) issue. There is no one right answer for what you can do to help. That said, if anyone reading this, or if you know of someone who might want to, I am always open to talk. Reach out to me on twitter @TheNationDan is my handle. My DMs are always open.
Stay strong Roberto, Blue Jays Nation is behind you.