Brady Tygart’s Mom Calls Out Haters Who Can’t See Beyond the Numbers

Brady Tygart, Arkansas baseball, Arkansas vs Murray State
photo credit: Baumology

Context, most of us know, matters.

Sometimes, in the heat of moment, that’s hard to remember. Sports is a moment-to-moment activity played with bodies that are anything but. While “mind over matter” may sound good in principle, the reality is no matter that no mind is strong enough to overcome the inevitable ailments that elite competition and training will produce.

These lessons play out again and again in Razorback sports, yet somehow can be forgotten just as frequently.

Lessons from the Past

Take Bumper Pool, the former Arkansas football star, who sacrificed his body to run it back for a super senior season in 2022. “A lot of guys don’t know how beat up Bumper’s been all year,” Sam Pittman said late that season. “He’s hurt and he just continues to keep coming back and playing… He’s really toughed out the last probably six weeks that a lot of guys wouldn’t even play, and he’s out there busting his butt.”

While Pool had received criticism for lacking his usual burst in the previous weeks and failing too often to close on tackles, Pittman’s setting the record straight here should have made the situation clear as day. In this case, the student-athlete’s shortcomings had nothing to do with a failure in technique, a lack of preparation or any other intangible.

We saw this play out this past season in basketball, too, when Khalif Battle struggled through the middle part of the year after a hot start. He tried to play in the weeks following a lower leg injury against UNC-Wilmington but wasn’t his usual self.

Over that time, he along with other Hogs got raked over the coals as multiple losses mounted, starting with a 32-point shellacking to Auburn at home. Some fans started interpreted the competitiveness in Battle, who was frustrated he couldn’t force his body to do what he wanted, as sullenness and pouting.

Fast forward a month and half and those same fans were celebrating Battle’s burning competitiveness as he went off on an historic scoring surge, averaging nearly 30 points a game in his last seven contests as a Razorback. All it took was him finally getting 100% healthy. Going out with such a strong bang showed that the earlier struggles did not stem from selfishness or immaturity, as some fans had thought.

Arkansas Baseball Examples

Finally, in baseball, we have the case of Hunter Hollan. Near the middle of the regular season last year, the former Arkansas pitcher started suffering through a nerve causing numbness below the kneecap on his plant leg. That caused at least two weeks of struggling and pain that resembled shin splits.

“I lift my leg up and ride the mound. I can’t feel myself really pushing off, but it’s something that is getting better,” he said in May 2023. “We keep putting fluid in it trying to get the nerve back where it needs to be.”

Ouch.

These precedents are important to keep in mind when considering that case of Brady Tygart, the Arkansas pitcher who lost his starting spot and struggled in his last three appearances, allowing 10 earned runs on 10 hits and nine walks with only five strikeouts in 5 2/3 combined innings.

Arkansas baseball coach Dave Van Horn recently announced Tygart will be left off the 27-man roster for the first weekend of the 2024 NCAA Tournament, then disclosed that the Mississippi native has been battling some kind of shoulder injury.

Those prone to criticize Tygart pounced on the news, perhaps feeling like he had quit on the team somehow.

Arkansas baseball fan Rick B., as he goes by on “X,” wasn’t hearing any of it. “For those of you ragging Brady lately, let this sink in a bit: Dude’s been pitching through some pain,” he posted.

“Hunter Hollan pitched through some pain last year and got ragged. Just think about these things when you’re out there tearing these players down. You don’t know everything that’s going on behind the scenes.”

Tygart’s mother, Belinda, appreciated someone so vocally sticking up for her son:

Indeed, it’s easy for some fans to get seduced into a “what have you done for me lately” mindset instead of looking at the bigger picture. That’s the kind of trigger-reflex thinking that might have Astros fans giving up on their team against the likes of the Yankees according to MLB odds. In basketball, such hand-wringing would have led to firing Eric Musselman in February 2021 after back-to-back beatdowns on the road instead of seeing how things would play out.

Or push for giving up on Kevin Kopps altogether after he had a 8.18 ERA in 11 innings pitched during his junior redshirt season.

In the case of Tygart, it’s important to keep in mind he played big roles in the team’s success in 2022 and 2023 and had a 2.68 ERA as recently as the end of April, as our own Andrew Hutchinson pointed out.

Without Brady Tygart’s contributions earlier this year, Arkansas wouldn’t be in its current enviable position with being able to host a regional and potential super regional.

The nature of Tygart’s injury is unknown but it says something about him – and the aforementioned former Hogs, too – that they didn’t complain while battling those limiting factors. He’s earned our benefit of the doubt.

Sometimes, players bounce back strong and shut the doubters up forever, as was the case with Battle. Sometimes, no bounce back happens because the damage was simply too much, as was the case with Pool. And sometimes the following performances are a mixed bag, as was the case with Hollan.

The outcomes may be all over the place, but fans’ reactions to these situations don’t have to be. They can remember to keep the big picture in mind this time around, as well as the next time and the inevitable next times after that.

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As far as what the issue could be, one possibility is the “inverted W” that some pitchers must make caused an injury. Pitching in general puts unnatural strain on the shoulder but this particular technique can be especially problematic.

Consider what this technique almost certainly did to Stephen Strasburg.

To be clear, this isn’t ending Tygart’s career or anything like that. He’ll likely just need enough rest to feel a lot better again.

More on Arkansas baseball from BoAS here:

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