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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Prior, Wood and Sosa - Those Were The Days

Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Prior, Wood and Sosa - Those Were The Days
Current mood: cynical

Former Cub ace/Savior Mark Prior is now an Orange County Flyer. That’s right, sports fans, the Man With the Golden Arm has set into motion one of the great comebacks in baseball history. It seems like only yesterday that he and Kerry Wood were poised with Sammy Sosa to carry the Chicago Cubs to season after season of post-season play with a minimum of five or six World Series Championship victories that would c-ruuuush the curse of the Goddamn Billy Goat once and for fucking all. The greatest one-two punch in pitching history were about to embark on a thrillride into the baseball record books. How do you spell DYNASTY? W-O-O-D / P-R-I-O-R, that’s how.

How quickly our dreams are dashed.

The Cubs paid these boys gazillions of dollars to throw a baseball very hard, with pinpoint accuracy and accumulate wins and carry the team to post-season greatness. They did pitch impressively and win a lot of games – at first. In fact, Wood won rookie of the year honors in 1998, after pitching a 1-hit, 20-strikeout game against the Houston Astros in what was one of the greatest rookie performances ever. Prior was an all-star in 2003. But these lads soon proved to be merely human and spent the next few years either riding the pine with various aches and pains, ranging from pulled muscles to cuticle tears, or in the recovery room of a Chicago hospital after yet another outpatient surgery to correct the occasional elbow, shoulder or tenacity issue.

Kerry Wood is now a New York Yankee, so at least he’s got a decent shot at getting a World Series ring – much better than he had with the Cubs or the Indians. At least he hasn’t had to acclimate to warm-weather ball – that would have been tragic. If riding the bench in the Apple gets you some hardware, Godspeed, kid.

Prior, who with Wood had been dubbed “The Chicago Heat” in the early 2000’s, proved to be constructed of Tiffany Crystal and tore every muscle in his body while with the Cubs, with the exception of his sphincter, which underground rumors say he blew out in a beer-bong prank gone awry at a frat party while in college. This has not been verified, but the fact that nearly half a city block had to be refurbished near Vanderbilt his freshman year and that Prior quickly transferred to USC lends credence to the whispers.

I don’t want to linger on injuries or bad breaks or Goddamn Billy Goats and I certainly wish Prior the best in his comeback with the Flyers. And I hope Kerry Wood retires with a handful of rings and a trophy room full of pinstriped greatness. But I still can’t help but think about what could have been. I mean, Sosa was committed. So committed, in fact, that he was willing to inject himself with steroids, long-term health concerns be damned. And he was willing to take the time to drill out his bat and put cork in it just so his home runs would be even more intimidating. Sure, he denies all that stuff, but that’s just the kind of humble son of a bitch he is. It’s just a crying shame that this Fearsome Threesome couldn’t get the job done – even after 88 wins in 2003. It breaks my heart and the heart of every fan that ever walked into Wrigley Field on a warm summer afternoon to take in a game. We were that close.

And so it goes. Go Orange County – yay…

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