Mark Prior's comeback attempt with Reds still a haunting reminder for Cubs fans

Mark Prior's comeback attempt with Reds still a haunting reminder for Cubs fans

Just when you thought the Mark Prior story couldn’t get any weirder.

Prior is now in Reds camp with yet another comeback attempt at 32. 32? It seems just like yesterday he was a sky is the limit 22 year old.

Is this a classic case of irony or what? Prior is asking the guy who likely helped end his career to help resurrect it.

To Prior’s credit, he isn’t blaming Dusty Baker now.

"I have an open and good relationship with Dusty. I hold no ill will against him," said Prior. "By no means do I think it was his fault with how my career has gone, it's no one's fault. I had a good career, I've enjoyed my time playing baseball, I don't feel like I'm done and I still feel like I can make a difference."

Or he could just be telling Dusty it’s the least he could do for him. Will the ever be a day we don’t discuss this guy and his saga?

Prior will always be a symbol for me, a reminder. A reminder to never again put that much stock in a player’s future. He wasn’t just another top prospect, he was supposed to be the prodigy the Cubs would build around for years. I thought he was going to be one of the greats.

He was even more promising than Kerry Wood because of his supposed flawless mechanics. We all know now that was far from the case.

He also seemed to have ice water running through his veins. Prior’s performance in the 2003 playoffs was so un-Cub. He was a ballsy young man on a mission to drive the wooden steak right through the goat's heart.

Even after the 2003 letdown the future was still ultra-bright with Prior heading up a stocked rotation. Until that game in early 2004 when Prior walked off the mound. We knew deep down the jig was up then. After that i would never let myself ever get that disappointed again.

There are no saviors it turns out.

Then you have the PED angle to cloud things up even more. A GM once told me during the 2007 offseason that “once Prior was off the shit he couldn’t pull himself out of the hot tub”.

How much of what Prior showed us can we be sure was real?

Was it just a question of him being healthy? I still look at pictures of him and reminisce as if he was the one that got away.

Was he really?

Part of me still wishes to see him with a better ending to his story. Is that still wanting to be right about him?

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Filed under: Uncategorized

Tags: Dusty Baker, Mark Prior

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  • fb_avatar

    I framed this one when it came out:

    http://www.amazon.com/Sporting-News-Magazine-May-2003/dp/images/B007O6WCTU

  • In reply to deport soriano com:

    Thanks for that.

  • I remember when it became apparent that the Cubs would be able to draft him. He was a once-in-a-decade guy, his era's Strasburg. Then he blows through the minors and immediately succeeds in the majors. It was so hard not to think that the Cubs finally had something to build on with Prior, Wood, Zambrano...and even guys who didn't quite make it like Juan Cruz and Angel Guzman.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Angel Guzman is a name that takes me back to times I try to keep locked away in the deep recesses of my mind. Felix Pie, Rich Hill, and Corey Patterson qualify as well lol

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Guzman was in Dodgers camp this time last year

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    They should've had a Braves like run with those guys.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I couldn't believe the Twins were going to let him fall to us.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    At the end of 2003, we had Prior, Wood, Zambrano....we also had 6 prospects in BA's top 100 (Guzman, Justin Jones, Ryan Harvey, Andy Sisco, Felix Pie, Bobby Brownlie). We also signed Greg Maddux that offseason, and Matt Clement was no slouch either. Cubs future never looked brighter. Remember?

    Prior's injury was the just the first of many things that went wrong with that outlook. Let's hope history does not repeat itself!

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I was practically 'giddy' when the Cubs brought back Maddux - figured he would be the ice-cream on the pie circa 2003-2004.

    Then that train got derailed,.... Prior went down. Wood went down (again). Clement moved on (and fell apart). Lee was in his prime. Ramirez was the first real stable 3B player they had since Ron Cey's couple of years - and the prospects in the minors never seemed brighter.

    They came really close for a few years,... but could never quite seem to get over the hump after that pitching core went down.

  • fb_avatar

    Baker has said that Prior's fist Spring Training start will be 9 innings or 250 pitches...whichever comes first.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Were those 250 pitches with a baseball or simulating one through the "towel drill?"

  • It seems like every cub phenom is
    mechanically sound,
    according to Chicago media.
    until they break down.

    Never even thought a bought PED's in Priors history.

  • Yeah there were some whispers about his velo after Junior year, House, and his calves, etc.

  • BREAKING NEWS

    Mark Prior strained his throwing arm as he open the Reds clubhouse door. Will be out of action for several months.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Sad part is I'm not 100% sure you are joking

  • Former major leaguer Vladimir Guerrero wants to resume his career at
    38 and would be agreeable to a minor league deal, according to
    Fox Sports.

    Alfonso in left and Vladimir in right, it could happen.

  • I went to a game at Wrigley Field early in Guerrero's career and saw him play. You could always tell he could hit.

  • I wanted the Cubs to go hard after him in FA but we spent 2 years too late on the market.

  • We have baby Vlad coming soon.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Except hopefully our version can maintain a tiny shred of plate discipline. Which all indications say he will.

  • Mark - Please Meet my friend, D-Train....you two should have lots to talk about. A Comeback? Not bloody likely....

  • Off-topic. The game will be televised tomorrow on MLB Network though it will be on delay and it's a split squad game. Also Vogelbach tweeted that he'll be playing, so hopefully we get the one with him in it :)

  • I wish him well, hope he didn't take PED's, and other than that my therapist doesn't allow me to comment.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Too funny, it was enough to provoke getting help .

  • Never heard anything about Prior taking PED's, ever, until this article.

    We are always going to get excited, then let down, excited, etc. Let the good times roll.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    Quote came from a solid source.

  • Really? There were always whispers though I'm always suspect of almost anyone at this point. I wish it weren't the case.

  • John... I am sure you'd be interested to hear that Carrie Muskat is reporting that Dan Vogelbach and Albert Almora will travel with the team to Tempe, to face the Angels... They will be with the big league club... That's the game that is going to be televised!

  • fb_avatar

    " Say it aint so Joe"

  • Up 3 games to 2 coming back to Wrigley. Leading 3-0, Prior pitching like Gibson. I'm jumping out of my skin. We're actually going to the World Series! Roof falls in.

    I've never in my life been so upset at any sports event, not even the Illinois loss to NC in the championship game.

    Why do I torture myself with that memory?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to cubs1969:

    Those two haunt me everyday......

  • Know a guy who was a minor league pitcher with the yankees during Prior's time there! Said that prior talked about how the entire clubhouse was juicing in 03!

  • Doesn't surprise me.

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