The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Thing in Sports Info

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Yahoo's lead baseball columnist offers an in-depth look at
the most valuable commodity in sports - the pitching arm - and how its
vulnerability to injury is hurting players and the game, from Little
League to the majors.


Every year, Major League Baseball spends more than $1.5 billion on
pitchers - five times more than the salary of every NFL quarterback
combined. Pitchers are the game's lifeblood. Their import is exceeded
only by their fragility. One tiny band of tissue in the elbow, the ulnar
collateral ligament, is snapping at unprecedented rates, leaving
current big league players vulnerable and the coming generation of
baseball-playing children dreading the three scariest words in the
sport: Tommy John surgery.


Jeff Passan traveled the world for three years to explore in depth
the past, present, and future of the arm and how its evolution left
baseball struggling to wrangle its Tommy John surgery epidemic. He
examined what compelled the Chicago Cubs to spend $155 million on one
arm. He snagged a rare interview with Sandy Koufax, whose career was cut
short by injury at 30, and visited Japan to understand how another
baseball-mad country treats its prized arms. And he followed two major
league pitchers, Daniel Hudson and Todd Coffey, throughout their returns
from Tommy John surgery. He exposes how the baseball establishment long
ignored the rise in arm injuries and reveals how misplaced incentives
across the sport stifle potential changes.


Injuries to the UCL start as early as Little League. Without a
drastic cultural shift, baseball will continue to lose hundreds of
millions of dollars annually to damaged pitchers, and another generation
of children will suffer the same problems that vex current players.
Informative and hard hitting, The Arm is essential listening for
all who love the game, want to keep their children healthy, or relish a
look into how a large, complex institution can fail so spectacularly.


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