I'm sorry to have to write this letter today, particularly with you on the road and coming off of a tough outing. But it is time. I don't know what brought on the epiphany, but the answer is clear.
It's over between us. I just can't get my hopes up about you any more.
It is partially my fault. I fooled myself. I wasn't going to get excited about your return. I thought your injury in spring training was the last straw. But then when you got ready to come back, I'll admit to getting excited. Maybe this time would be different. You might return to an elite level of play.
I had hoped that during your time off you might have though about what it takes to become a pitcher, not just a thrower. Often people who return from long-term injuries like yours have a life-changing moment of clarity that changes their career. They grow. They discover that there is more to pitching that just throwing hard.
But it is clear that while you still can throw the ball at a good velocity, you just haven't grown into becoming a pitcher. You see, 95 MPH fastballs with no movement out over the plate become 395 foot doubles and 450 foot homers. Missing spots and always going for strikeouts is a recipe for utter failure.
Pitching is like painting. It is hitting spots, changing speeds, inducing the hitter to hit your pitch. There are precious few masters who can get by with brute strength, but even they use guile. You can't seem to do that. You long for the days gone by, when your 21-year-old arm could fire lightening bolts past unsuspecting hitters, and your ridiculous curveball made them reconsider their career choices.
But the ball doesn't go quite as fast anymore, does it? And the curve, well we know where that got you. The record book one day, and the DL the next. You long for the strikeout, and it control's your existence. Crash Davis said it best. "Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic." They also keep pitch counts down. You know, it is possible to get out of an inning with just three pitches. Ask Maddux. Or even easier, watch some video of the Baker-era Cubs.
Perhaps it is just a case of you not being able to pitch and hit spots like a Maddux, a Glavine, a Carlton. They didn't ever throw as hard as you could, and yet they thrived. Heck, even a guy like Jamie Moyer has thrived, simply by learing to pitch. You could take two of his pitches, add them together, and they would still be slower than one of yours. But he could knock the cap off of a bottle at 60'6". You? You would hit the bottle and pulverize it... on your fourth or fifth try. I know it is not an easy task. Maybe your velocity, your desire to throw hard, is masking your lack of accuracy.
At any rate, I hope we can still be friends. I know I will see you around, at least until September, and maybe even October. I will still be rooting for you, but until you change, I just don't see this thing working out. Good luck to you and thanks for everything.