Almost everything that you hear out of spring training is sugar coated (just another reason not to believe the Cubs on Wood and Prior). That is probably why Steve Stone's take on Prior and Wood in today's Bright One is really refreshing. Stone (who will be broadcasting on ESPN according to Goodbye 1908... ) had this to say on Prior:
On those who've questioned Prior's toughness, Stone said: ''I won't name names, but coming out of camp last year at times was [the opinion] that Prior probably wasn't tough enough. That he had to pitch with pain. That he has to go out there, that's what major-league pitchers do. I have to believe if he's telling you he's hurting, he's hurting. And because they can't find a cause doesn't make the pain any less real. So you've got a multimillion-dollar talent, you want to keep running him out there and saying he's not tough enough? Well, I'll tell you what: Let him go and see if anybody else picks him up.''
The Stone Pony saved his greatest criticism for #34:
''Wood has shown no adaptability,'' Stone said. ''He wants to throw the ball 95 to 96 [mph]; he wants to throw it at times through the catcher. When he loses his mechanics, he can't get them back again. Somebody is going to have to tell Kerry the object of the game is to pitch. That's why they call you a pitcher. If not, they call you a thrower. And if they call you a thrower, and if you keep saying you can't change your mechanics, and if in fact your mechanics are partially responsible for you getting hurt every year, you've got a couple of choices: You can take all the money you've made --which is a bundle -- and you can go sell cars. Or you can make some adjustments and try to stay around this league for 10 years.
Man, I will sure miss Stoney on the television broadcasts. He never would(or could) have said anything like this while working for the Tribsters. I cannot wait to hear Stoney on the Score after Dusty mismanages a ballgame this summer. Dusty thought he could chase Stoney's criticism out of town by getting him off of the television broadcasts. In a funny way he took the muzzle off of Stone.
I'll try and focus on my brackets. Feel free to suggest who I should have in the Final Four...