We spent seven wonderful years together in Anaheim. I will never forget your win during game 7 of the 2002 World Series, when you became the first rookie to do so in 93 years. The next two years - 2003 and 2004 were a little bit more difficult as you had ERAs in the mid 4s, but still, we had a great time together at the Big A. Watching you pitch was never… predictable.
During the 2007 season we really hit our stride - you won 19 games (as I tuned into all of them), you lead the league with a 3.01 ERA and 2 shut outs, and to be honest, your 179 Ks weren’t too shabby either. Your making it to the All Star game just up north in San Fran was a great feat (we really showed the rest of the league how strong our pitching staff was that year). Ultimately, you and I both know you deserved the Cy Young award- unfortunately, Frankie blowing a few of your games during the ninth didn’t help you in the wins column. But, John, after that things got rough again, as your ERA went up, your strike outs went down, and injuries became an issue, and total games went from 33 to the mid-twenties.
But through the good times and the bad, we stuck through it. Together. You, as the homegrown pitching ace who could help lead us to another World Series championship (if you did it as a rookie there was no reason you couldn’t do it as a 7 year veteran), and me, as the loyal fan parading you. And others took notice, and we couldn’t compete with Boston’s 82 million dollar offer in 2009. So now in Boston, with a chance to play with Pedroia, and Youk. All we could offer was (still a very large sum), our complete adoration, the position of ace, and the likely chance to overcome the often-mediocre American League West and a shot at the playoffs with other homegrown talents around you (and a few offseason pick-ups). But then, like countless others before you, you decided that the American East looked a little bit brighter, and you left.
Even though you left for our post-season rival, I promised to keep track of your stats, and follow your games. Maybe we could make this long distance thing work after all - at least until the playoffs. But John, I’ve got to tell you something- your 9 -4 season so far isn’t very impressive. Especially with only 66 strike outs so far, you are on pace to have your lowest total since 2002 when you only started 18 games. And, to be honest, now that Jered Weaver has been elected to the All Star game with a league leading 130 strike outs (though he does have one fewer win than you), I think I may have found a new home grown pitcher to idolize.
Please, don’t get me wrong, John. I hope we can still be friends, but with Boston in third place in the ultra competitive AL East, it doesn’t seem likely that we will be seeing much of each other- even in the playoffs. Wish Jered well in the All Star game, please, I know it would mean a lot to him- after all with you leaving it really gave him the opportunity to become the ace we always knew he could be.