The second the Glenlivet hit my lips there was no turning back.   I delved into a deep dark space that only Cub fans can find……..

Last night I decided to sit down and watch Clubhouse Confidential on the MLB Network.  I dig the show and usually they cover some interesting tidbits that add a little flavor to baseball outside of what you may get on a game telecast or a local newspaper.  They dig pretty deep and really much of the information is over-analysis, which I love.  The best part is the show runs only 30 minutes.   It’s as if the producers of the MLB Network know that most baseball fans have ADD or the attention span of a gnat, whichever wanes first I suppose.  Only on this very night the topic of young star pitchers headlined the show.  Even more to the point, they were talking about strategies to keep these young pitchers healthy.  The concept of innings limits and pitch counts came to the forefront and the two young pitchers being showcased were Matt Moore, the young phenom of the Tampa Bay Rays,  and of course Stephen Strasburg.

Did you know that Mark Prior logged over 230 innings in 2003?  All that even after missing 3 starts mid season because of the Giles collision….oh god the collision, do you remember the collision?  That’s when it all started!!!!  More Glen please!

I feel like Mark Prior has become the poster boy for young phenoms whose arms turn to mush, and apparently, so does the MLB Network.  The entire segment was flashes of Matt Moore, Stephen Strasburg and then of course the tragedy of Mark Prior!  They showed clips of the young Moore and then plastered across the screen that he will not be under an innings limit for the coming season.  Then they started in on Strasburg, who has a bevy of limits.  I don’t even think Stephen can shake more then 5 hands with his right arm this season per day….too many….might get hurt.  I am pretty sure that the word careful would be a gross understatement.  He reminds me of the fine china that sits in a cabinet, people look at it and say, “ooohhhh pretty” but never get to eat on it because , well,  it’s expensive and god forbid it gets chipped.

You know Tom Seaver drinks scotch, I bet he loves it….tickles his throat just so……

Tom Seaver jumps on the telecast and starts ranting about all the innings limits and pitch limits.  He starts into something that might turn into a “back in my day…” rant that your gramps would tell you.  He boasts on about how teams would try to figure out how to keep a guy in the game, not take him out.  You do have to wonder, how come they could figure this out back then but now we have tinker bells who hurt their arm when the wind blows out of the east?  Could you imagine telling Bob Gibson he was on an innings or pitch limit? Pretty sure you would need some forceps to find the rosin bag.

I bet they rubbed scotch on it, better yet they soaked a towel in single malt and wrapped it around their arm between innings.  That reminds me of the towel drill, Mark should have soaked that towel in scotch and sucked on it.   

The show of course gave us a look at Prior in his dominant stage and then a look at the disaster after.  He had tons of life on his fastball when he was going good……then it became flat and managed to gravitate towards the top of the zone, which in turn typically ended with the ball out on Wavleand avenue somewhere.  As if it isn’t enough to go through this in real time we now have it shown to us in highlight reels.  Here is how the best pitcher you had over the last 12 years went to crap, enjoy the walk down memory lane!  They then start comparing Prior to Strasburg and I tell you what, I hope you didn’t dump your paycheck on this guys rookie card.  The mechanics are almost identical.

Oh Good, it’s Mitch Williams to tell us about mechanics.  The only mechanics ”Wild Thing” was worried about back in the day were the ones used to curl that awesome mullet….and it was awesome.  I bet he put scotch in it……

The next thing we get on the show is Will Carroll from SI (AKA, the resident injury expert for every sport.)  I started following Will through Manningate last football season and then he became a useful tool on twitter passing along his injury news.  Will looks like an everyday average Joe, and kind of reminds me of Stinky from the movie Beautiful Girls, if you have seen it, you know what I mean.  He starts in on fatigue playing a major factor in injuries to pitchers.  So now we have a battle going on between fatigue and mechanics…..hmmmmm.

So maybe Prior broke down because of the weird set of “non-pitching” injuries that he incurred…..

  • 2002 (Sept) - Strained Hamstring running the bases….out for season
  • 2003 (Mid-season) – collision with Marcus Giles ……missed three starts
  • 2004 (Pre-Season) Achilles Tendon Injury….. missed 2 months
  • 2005 (May) Comeback liner in the throwing elbow…..1 month

Or maybe, just maybe, it was all the above.  One thing is for sure, at some point in time these young guns will have to pitch.  Durability is a part of sport, it is part of what makes a player great….even if it only lasts a season or two.

Time to buy more scotch………

 

 

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Chet West is an IT professional living in Minneapolis, MN with his wife and two daughters. He has a pug named Banks and loves photography. Follow him on Twitter @chetwest19