Half of this statement from Kirby Arnold is true:
The Mariners badly need a pitcher to step up and become a pleasant surprise, and there’s no reason [Gil] Meche can’t be that guy.
Well, unfortunately, there is at least one reason. One torn labrum, the gnarliest injury a pitcher faces. As Jonah Keri explained at the BP/USSM book event, virtually no one comes close to their previous form or potential after suffering this malady.
I understand where our Mr. Arnold is coming from, though. In a year where the starting five is — ahem — in flux, we find ourselves looking for heroes and reasons to expect their heroism to emerge. Kirby’s got two reasons for the Meche Renaissance to begin:
Meche has incentive this year that didn’t exist in past seasons.
He’ll be eligible for free agency after 2006, and the opportunity for a huge contract tends to motivate players to work through the aches and pains that might cause them to back off … Meche also says he is tired of losing, especially the streaks of ineffectiveness that have undermined periods of sheer dominance.
There’s your reason for optimism, folks. Gil Meche has not learned to enjoy losing.
I’ll be rooting for Gil as hard as anyone, and harder than most. It’s wonderful when someone triumphs over adversity to achieve greatness, and it’s even better when the result saves your starting rotation.
I’ll be rooting for that to happen. But I won’t be wagering on it.
[And hey, at least Kirby didn’t take the easy way out and write about Felix like everybody else.]