Mentioning his name probably evokes all sorts of emotions in a Cubs fan. I’m a Cubs fan, and hearing his name makes me happy, sad, angry, all at once, I’m sure most Cubs fans are just like me.
Happy, watching Mark Prior pitch was a joy, I knew I was watching greatness, Mark (not Prior, the other blogger here) and I bought tickets and went to watch his debut. Wrigley was electric, Prior was unpolished but clearly a Major League pitcher, no, Major League all-star and we were just witnessing the very beginning. I still have the ticket stub, it’s framed, here comes the sadness.
Sadness, Mark Prior got hurt, everyone just says “Oh, his arm fell off”, well, yeah I guess it did. I remember him colliding with Marcus Giles on the Braves between first and second base, he was never the same. At the time it was sad, the Cubs were good, the Cubs were going places, at least I thought they were, oh hey anger.
Anger, WHY DID HE HAVE TO GET HURT!? As quick as Prior exploded onto the scene he was gone, he became the butt of a joke. His best pitch was now the towel he was throwing in the bullpen, it made me mad. I had all these expectations, I was told his mechanics were flawless, the one thing I didn’t have to worry about was him getting hurt. The experts lied, he’s hurt, that’s all he will ever be remembered for
As angry as I was/am, I can’t imagine what Mark Prior was going through, mentally and physically. He knew he was a “can’t miss” prospect, he knew that he had the tools to be great for a while. I wonder how he felt during, or how he feels now about the whole thing. Prior has tried to make comeback after comeback and each time an injury derails his efforts. Some people said that he had to suck it up and pitch through the pain, well alright, this isn’t the right era to talk about starters “sucking it up” to pitch through pain, they are conditioned to throw 100 pitches, then rest for four days, this isn’t the “good ole’ days”, he was hurt.
I don’t bring this name back to the forefront to just dump a truck load of salt into an open wound, this is relevant, I think. Today the Boston Red Sox have signed Mark Prior to a contract, the 31-year-old (yes, only 31) will have another shot to get back to the majors. Part of me wants to see it happen, why? Because he was great, good luck to Mark Prior, damnit!
Thanks for reading,