Former Cubs ace Mark Prior won a World Series ring with the Dodgers this year.
It’s likely not how he drew it up two decades ago as a baby-faced 20-year-old, but Mark Prior finally has his World Series ring. It didn’t come as the ace of the Chicago Cubs pitching staff as he once envisioned, but rather as the pitching coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"“I’ve been fortunate to go to the playoffs the last three years with L.A. [as a coach], but 17 years later to have a chance — even in the NLCS, to get back to the World Series and then have a chance to win — yeah, it doesn’t happen all the time. … You know how hard it is.”"
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Cubs fans undoubtedly remember Prior’s monster breakout season back in 2003, the year that ended in agonizing heartbreak in the NLCS at the hands of the Florida Marlins. Not until Kris Bryant a dozen years later did a Chicago rookie arrive with as much fanfare – and dominance.
That season, the big right-hander dealt to the tune of a 2.43 ERA and 2.47 FIP, striking out 245 batters in just 211 1/3 innings of work. In the NLDS, Prior tossed a complete game, one-run, two-hit effort against Atlanta and in the fateful NLCS, he did everything he could to push his team over the hump.
Unfortunately, an eighth-inning collapse – the likes of which we’ve never seen – derailed those hopes. A foul ball down the left field line that Moises Alou barely missed. A potential inning-ending double play ball booted by Alex Gonzalez, one of the surest-handed shortstops in the game. The rest, as they say, is history.
"“I wouldn’t lie and say that when we were down 3-1 against the Braves [in the National League Championship Series last month] that I wasn’t thinking, ‘I’ve been on one side of this, and I want to be on the other side of this,’” Prior said on NBC Sports Chicago’s Cubs Talk podcast recently."
Look. During the Cubs’ recent run, they hooked up with the Dodgers in the postseason in 2016 and 2017 – splitting their NLCS showdowns. Of course, during that two-year span only one team, the Cubs, came away with a title. Now, the Dodgers have ended a drought of their own after taking down the Tampa Bay Rays during this year’s Fall Classic.
So while we may not ever root for Los Angeles (seriously, why would we?) – seeing our one promised savior at long last get a ring is nice. Congrats to Prior on the accomplishment. Hopefully, the Cubs add another one to their collection before he does. But I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.