For those of us that sat at Comerica Park to watch one of Joel Zumaya’s games in 2006 it was electric. In fact, seeing Zumaya enter a game at Wrigley Field that season was also quite the spectacle. Who would have ever thought that Zumaya would be at the point where he would consider retirement? After all, such a special arm and career don’t come around all the time.
The journey for Zumaya from the 2006 regular season to the offseason before the 2011 regular season has been nothing short of a rollercoaster. The eye test suggests that he’s merely a fraction of his larger ’06 frame. He’s like a large comedian who loses weight and then makes self-depricating weight comments. He had made health a priority and then it was taken from him during one scary evening at Comerica Park.
Twitter was made for evenings like June 28, 2010. Pitching to Minnesota’s Delmon Young, one heave of the baseball left the 25-year old grabbing his arm in pain. The tears and screaming made it less than desirable and Jim Leyland’s somber words made it all come to reality. Zumaya may have just thrown his last pitch as a major leaguer. He told us that he was coming back, but who really believed it?
Now, following a signature on the dotted line, Joel Zumaya has marked this his last attempt at a major league career. Having essentially only completed one season in the major leagues, Zumaya has called this go a “make-it-or-break-it year.” While 2009 and 2010 felt this same way, it has finally hit home that the fireball righty has an hourglass with grains of sand running out.