A curveball is hard to find and easy to lose and it usually goes flat somewhere along the way. There was an old man on the 2 train this morning with a theory on why Ian Kennedy seems to have found his curveball with the Indios de Mayaguez in Puerto Rico.
“They have the best baseball weather this time of year,” the old man explained. “I grew up in Mayaguez and wish I was spending the winter there, too. It’s the perfect place for Kennedy to polish his curveball and get his confidence back.”
Kennedy carries a 2-2 record and a 1.56 ERA into today’s game against the Lobos de Arecibo.
“I’ve heard he looks great,” the old man said. “I believe in the kid and still think he’s going to be a good Major League starter.”
The old man crumpled his coffee cup and gripped it like a curveball.
“I used to do some pitching myself,” the old man said. “I could drop curveballs in for strikes all day.”
The old man smiled because he knows that the best curveballs come from memories.
“It’s a lot easier to talk about ‘em than it was to throw ‘em,” he admitted. “Good curveballs have a way of getting lost.”
Kennedy lost his sometime last year and got knocked around by big-league hitters.
“They were sitting on his fastball and changeup,” the old man said. “He needs to have a third pitch working. Maybe now he’s found the curveball I lost all those years ago.”
Another smile tugged at the edges of the old man’s mouth.
“I know he didn’t really find mine,” the old man said. “He found his own curveball and that’s going to make all the difference.”