Cautionary Baseball Tales

Strasburg pitching in the 2nd – strikes out the side – two looking, one swinging

Earlier in the decade, Mark Prior was the big pitching phenom. “He was a star at USC,” was drafted at the top of the draft by the Chicago Cubs, and was in the major leagues in 2003, within a year or so of being drafted. His name could have been changed to “Can’t Miss”. Problem was, his arm did not agree with all the pundits. By 2006 he was out of baseball after numerous arm surgeries, unfortunate injuries, and a fateful collision with a guy named Bartman.

It is easy, because it has been so long since he has pitched in a major league game, to forget how exceptional Prior was. He was hailed as a once-in-a-generation pitcher at Southern California, with an unheard-of 17-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and seemingly flawless mechanics. The small-market Minnesota Twins, perhaps scared off by Prior’s price, chose a hometown product, Joe Mauer, with the top pick in the 2001 draft and lavished him with a $5.15 million signing bonus, a record. About six weeks later, the Cubs, who chose Prior second, gave him $10.5 million.

Today, Prior is attempting to make his comeback to the majors by playing in a semi-pro league out in his hometown of San Diego.

I bring all of this up because on Friday, today’s phenom of the year Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to have “Tommy John” surgery on his once golden right arm that has taken MLB by storm this year. And I do mean “taken by storm”. The well deserved hype surrounding Strasburg was off the charts in today’s 24/7 online media world. Like Mark Prior, Strasburg has (or now, had?) all the natural gifts and tools to be special. But with this injury, the hyped up sports world has to again ask “what if” with this newest athlete of the moment. Will he fall on the phenom scrap heap along with David Clyde, Joe Charboneau, and Brien Taylor? Or will he come back and continue (in 2012) on the amazing trajectory he has been on this year?

Destiny is an evil bitch sometimes.

More Baseball Panoramics

In early June I went down to Baltimore and Washington DC and took in two games at Camden Yards and Nationals Park respectively. Two weeks ago I was in Boston at Fenway watching the Sox come back in the 9th inning to beat the Tigers and in the process created an additional panoramic of Fenway to add to my growing collection. So here are all three for your viewing pleasure. I guess the goal now is to take panoramics from every MLB stadium. Three down, twenty seven to go.

Nationals Park – Home of the Washington Nationals

Camden Yards – Home of the Baltimore Orioles

Fenway Park – Home of the Boston Red Sox

Baseball Stadium Panoramics

This past weekend, I was down in the Baltimore-Washington area with the family. The main reason we went there was to see the Red Sox play the Orioles on Sunday. On a whim, we also went to see the Washington Nationals game in their somewhat new stadium on Saturday evening (vs the Cincinnati Reds).

With these visits to these two MLB stadiums, I took a few pictures, including stitching together a series of photos of each of the stadiums to create panoramics of each one. So here they are. Click on the images to view larger versions.

Nationals Park – Washington, DC
Camden Yards – Baltimore, MD

Washington Nationals

This week, Major League Baseball unveiled the Washington Nationals, who are essentially the new look Montral Expos. I am very happy and excited that baseball is returning to Washington DC. I have always had an issue with the fact that our Nation’s capital did not have a baseball team. From what I have seen, the new look of the Nationals’ logo is pretty good looking. I must admit though, I was dissapointed that they did not name the team the Senators. From a baseball purist perspective, the name Senators has that old baseball aura to it, going back to the day of Walter Johnson, one of the greatest pitchers in basball history. While there is dissapointment in them not adopting the Senators as the nickname, I am happy they are using the same cap design as the old Senators.