There is something terribly sad about this latest
No, it's the sadness of an artist who is no longer able to paint, or a musician who suddenly can't play a chord. What is lost is not just a game or a part of a career, but something on the outer edges of human achievement.
Strasburg was not just on his way to becoming a dominant pitcher. He was doing things with a baseball that some Hall of Famers could not do.
And now, precisely because he could, he no longer can.
Maybe man is not meant to throw 102-mile-per-hour fastballs. Since the start of the 20th century, elite athletes have gotten taller, stronger and fitter. They run faster, jump higher and move quicker. Yet for 100 years, the hardest throwing pitchers have thrown roughly 100 miles per hour.
Throwing a baseball overhand, as hard as you can, is the most unnatural act in sports other than rooting for the Clippers. At some point, every pitcher fights arm pain; the harder you throw, the more likely that is. What made Strasburg so great is what made him a risk.
Strasburg may yet become a great pitcher. But he will never be the
He won't be the wunderkind who made it look so easy. He will just be another talented guy trying to claw his way back.
We've seen this movie before.
Zumaya pitched 83 1/3 innings that year; he has pitched 126 1/3 innings in the four years since.
Wood has had a nice career, but not the one he anticipated. Prior will probably never pitch in the majors again. Zumaya is hoping to make yet another comeback.
But I remember the Zumaya of 2006 -- so brash, so full of adrenaline, so determined to throw gas, that I wondered even then how long this could last. In the best baseball film ever,
One day in 1998, I was sitting in a Wrigley Field dugout during batting practice when the conversation turned to where guys would be in 10 years. Wood had already struck out those 20 Astros, and somebody cracked that
I think he meant that he could take or leave his sudden stardom. But it was probably a good attitude for any young flamethrower. Tomorrow is promised to nobody.
I sincerely hope Stephen Strasburg comes all the way back and becomes an All-Star. But even if that happens, the artist is gone. When Strasburg returns, he will just be a pitcher.