Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Road Warriors Return

A lot has happened with the Cubs since I last blogged 2 weeks ago. The team has been HOT, first taking 2 of 3 from the Brewers, then sweeping 3 each from the Cardinals and Marlins. All this on the road no less. The sweep of St. Louis was especially enjoyable as it clipped the wings of any playoff hopes for the birds.  It's good to see the Cubs playing well under Mike Quade, even if its just in a late season spoiler role.

Colvin at Fitch Park, Feb. 2010 
Other Cubs happenings - Tyler Colvin impaled by a broken bat as he was coming around third-base, scary stuff. Thankfully, after some hospital time it looks like he'll be fine. Colvin had an outside shot at Billy Williams record for home runs by a Cubs rookie but the incident finished Colvin's season 5 short at 20. Geo had surgery on his right shoulder but should be 100 percent again by Jan 1.  Big Z has been pitching well in spite of some control issues (I'm talking about walks not temper), with a 6-0 record since coming back from his banishment. Z hopes to stay hot tonight heading to the mound in what is surely baseball's longest farewell tour after he recently reiterated his retirement plans when his current contract is up after 2012. I'm left scrambling to come up with a proper tribute for Z with only two spring trainings left before he hangs up the spikes for good.

Football is now upon us, our autumnal anesthetizer for another season of Cubs failure and disappointment. Playoff baseball is also around the corner, even though the Cubs won't be involved there is nothing like watching those pressure filled games of October. Stop back here this fall as I will be updating you on the somewhat less pressure filled games of October and the Cubs prospects in the Arizona Fall League.


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Mark Prior Turns 30 Today

Former Cub Mark Prior turns 30 years old today, he hasn’t pitched in the Major Leagues in four years but he's still trying. He recently signed a minor league deal with Texas Rangers after throwing 11 relief innings in the independent Golden Baseball League for the Orange County Flyers.

Seems like only yesterday when I would finish each Cubs spring camp by following Prior and his “loose shoulder” over to Fitch Park for extended spring training rehab. It’s hard to put into words the joy of watching a professional pitcher work a towel like he did, the artistry of movement, the flowing Terrycloth extending from his hand…I’m sorry for getting all sentimental – kids, they grow up so fast.

Prior says “Part of this exercise (his comeback attempt) is to find out, what kind of pitcher am I”. A good start would be the kind that can actually pitch. Word is Prior is hitting 92 mph with his fastball, down from his 95 or so he used to throw back in the day and 30 isn’t really that old for a pitcher. Heck former Cub pitcher Jamie Moyer pitched 17 seasons’s after he was 30 years old. With Prior’s injury background and throwing motion it will be a big feat just to make it back to the Majors.

Prior at Fitch - 2006 rehab 
Prior sure didn’t work out for the Cubs like us fans had hoped but he did give us 2003 when he went 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA, was third in the Cy Young voting and helped nearly get the Cubs to a World Series…the key word “nearly”. Of course that 2003 season ended in the usual haunting Cubs fashion but when you’re going through a season like 2010, “nearly” sounds pretty good.

Happy 30th Birthday Mark Prior and good luck with your latest comeback effort; maybe we’ll see you with the Rangers next spring…I’ll have a towel ready just in case.