Monday, March 14, 2005

Prior mistakes

Two more items for the rapidly-growing file titled: Finn, You're A Bleepin' Idiot.

First, there are these words of wit and wisdom, which I pecked out just yesterday:

(If I could have any pitcher in fantasy baseball this year) I'd go with the Cubs' Mark Prior. He's had his injuries, and Dusty Baker seems intent on annihilating his gifted young staff as some sort of perverse tribute to Billy Martin and the wasted Norris-Langford-Keough-McCatty-Kingman A's of the early '80s. But my hunch is that Prior has got one or two Cy Young seasons in that right arm before Dusty sends it off to the glue factory.

Well, so much for that optimistic prediction. From today's AP wire:

MESA, Az. - Cubs ace Mark Prior will be out indefinitely because of inflammation in his right elbow, the latest injury to one of Chicago's star pitchers. Trainer Mark O'Neal said Monday the 24-year-old Prior has some inflammation in the elbow joint and a little irritation to the ulnar nerve. Chicago general manager Jim Hendry said Prior saw elbow specialist Dr. Lewis Yocum last weekend and had a precautionary MRI on Sunday.

Yep, Prior's hurting again. Dammit, I should have known better. Why would I think he could survive the cruel and unusual punishment of pitching for Baker? How many young pitchers have?

When he managed the Giants, Baker's stubborn refusal to adhere to anything resembling a pitch count short-circuited the careers of several promising hurlers, among them Bryan Hickerson, Kevin Rogers, William Van Landingham and Ryan Jensen. (You can read about this in depth here.)

Of course Baker's going to be up to his same ignorant antics with the Cubs. The dope is validated by his two Manager of the Year awards - he doesn't even acknowledge his past mistakes, let alone learn from them. It no wonder Prior, perhaps the most precious commodity in baseball, is suddenly injury-prone, or that Kerry Wood has a sore shoulder, as if that scar on his elbow isn't suggestion enough that he needs to be handled with care. If I'm Carlos Zambrano, I'm living in fear that I'm my manager's next victim. I'm starting to wonder if Baker gets a commission from Dr. Frank Jobe.

What ticks me off is that Baker simply does not deserve the pitching riches he's been given. If there is a special place in hell reserved for idiotic baseball managers - and if there is, Grady Little is a first-ballot Hell Hall of Famer - Baker will be relegated to an eternity of managing a starting rotation comprised of Matt Young, Matt Young, Matt Young, and Matt Young, with John Wasdin occasionally taking a brutal turn as the fifth starter.

Prior and Wood deserve better than Baker. So do baseball fans who could be robbed of the opportunity to watch two elite pitching talents reach their vast potential. How many young arms does Baker have to turn into lunchmeat before people realize that he is not only an overrated manager, but a terribly destructive one, too?

Okay, deep breath. Think happy thoughts. (Mmmm . . . beer.) There. All better. End of rant.

One more thing to clear up. A few columns ago, I threw this smart-ass and slightly irresponsible comment out there:

I'm not saying Mark Bellhorn looks fat, but the Sox second baseman appears to have swallowed the entire first-episode cast of "The Biggest Loser." Okay, I guess I am saying he looks fat.

Not only was this a case of the pot calling out the kettle, but my buddy Dave D'Onofrio, an ace wordsmith for the Concord Monitor, recently had this to report this upon returning from Ft. Myers:

"Actually, Bellhorn appears to be in very good shape. Coming back here and watching on TV, he looks fat, though he isn't. Lou Gorman, however, is larger than I'd ever imagined."

My bad, Bellhornphiles. I must have been watching on a widescreen TV, though I'm not sure he's quite this trim anymore . . .

As far as Gorman's girth goes, well, what do you expect from a man whose most memorable quote as Sox GM was this: "The sun will rise, the sun will set, and I'll have lunch."

You know, it frightens me that I just used the phrase "Gorman's girth." I think I'm going to sign off now . . .