I realize that most pitchers have checkered careers and most just want to be on the mound for a while and then leave it all to the 7th inning pitcher, the 8th inning pitcher and the Closer – if you’ve got one.
But every once in a while a real Pitcher – shows up and puts the others to shame. Johan Santana is such a pitcher – not quite in the Seaver mode – who could be? – but surely a student of the mound and it’s inhabitants – and a fearless warrior. For these guys it’s usually not the $$$ but the prestige that comes with a pitcher who really pitches.
Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, Bob Gibson, come to mind – actually I think Nolan and Bob would pitch til the cows come home, but poor Sandy ended up with physical problems before modern medicine was available. He plays a bit of golf now, I know – I followed him around Hartford CC a couple of years ago.
Pedro Martinez – who danced in the rain on the Mets pitcher’s mound – was a charmer, a fan’s delight, but a hitter’s nemesis. He changed pitching mounds once in a while, but when he left the Mets for his ailing Dad’s bedside, that was it.
So we have Johan Santana now wondering about his arm as he should. It’s August now, and the heatwaves in the East are at their best and hottest. It’s summer time. Surprisingly the pitchers arms will benefit by swimming, but most never try it and I suspect they have their own private methods.
To all of the above and those I’ve forgotten, thanks for the memories you’ve given me all through the years since Louisiana Lightning strode out to the mound at the Stadium and showed us what a farm boy can do. And to Johan, trust your instincts, we’ll all wait for you.