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Sunday 17th Dec 2017

Fantasy owners of Madison Bumgarner are understandably depressed with their ace sidelined for at least two months following his dirt bike accident. Cheer up. What, cheer up? That's easy for me to say, not owning Bumgarner in any of my fantasy leagues.

These sorts of "extra-curricular" injuries are the worst, as most are avoidable. I mean, why exactly did San Francisco's star lefty choose to ride a dirt bike in-season, a decision that led to a Grade 1-2 strain of his left shoulder AC joint in addition to bruised ribs? The January 2004 Aaron Boone pickup basketball injury immediately comes to mind, but at least that was during the off-season. I don't quite recall what Boone's fantasy ownership percentage was at the end of the 2003 season, but at least that injury didn't leave his owners in a bind.

As for my advice to cheer up, let's just say that it could have been worse. Even worse than an extra-curricular injury sustained due to a poor decision is an extra-curricular injury sustained for no reason at all, other than poor luck. It could have been worse. You could have owned these players.    

Jonathan Lucroy (2012): It was late-May of 2012 and Lucroy was enjoying a strong season, batting .345 with five homers and 30 RBI. But everything changed when he lost his sock in his hotel room and proceeded to reach under the bed to look for it. At that same instant, his wife moved a suitcase, which fell on his hand, fracturing it and causing Lucroy to miss two months. He would finish the season with an impressive .320-12-58 line over 96 games, but it could have been so much better. The true breakout would come the following year, and Lucroy is now firmly entrenched in the elite backstop class, in both real life and fantasy, so it all worked out fine.

Mariano Rivera (2012): In what some believed would be his final big league season, Rivera tore the ACL in his right knee while doing something he had done throughout his career, shagging fly balls in the outfield during batting practice. He would miss the remainder of the 2012 season, nearly five months in all. But the rehab went well, and perhaps motivated by a refusal to end his career on such a sour note, Rivera returned for one more year in 2013. And he put together another typical Rivera season (44 saves, 2.11 ERA, 1.05 WHIP).

Kendrys Morales (2010): Who can forget this one? Morales was coming off a breakout year in 2009 in which he slugged 34 homers while knocking in 108, and he was well on his way towards duplicating and even surpassing those totals in 2010. Then came May 29, the afternoon when he became the victim of his own success, breaking his leg during a walk-off grand slam celebration and missing the remainder of the season. Sure, one could argue that Morales was partly to blame for this, as he could have calmly rounded the bases and not jumped on home plate, but come on, what fun is that?

Clint Barmes (2005): Boasting a .329 batting average to go along with eight homers, 34 RBI and 40 runs scored through 54 games, Barmes was making a strong case for NL Rookie of the Year honors. That was before he suffered a broken left clavicle when he tripped going up the stairs to his apartment carrying a package of deer meat given to him by teammate Todd Helton. Barmes missed three months in total and would end his career a decade later, sporting an underwhelming career slash line of .245/.294/.379. No word on whether or not he actually got a chance to eat the tasty fare. I truly hope he did. If not, this whole episode would have been a real waste.

Sammy Sosa (2004): Call it "The Sneeze Heard Round Chicago", Sosa sprained a ligament in his lower back after a pair of violent sneezes, sidelining him for a month. As it turned out, 2004 would be his final All-Star season, so think of the sneezes as a sort of symbolic ending to his controversial career.

So, Bumgarner owners, take solace in knowing that over the years, there have been others who have felt your pain.

Zach Steinhorn is the 2016 Mixed Auction Tout Wars Champion. Follow him on Twitter @ZachMLB

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