This isn’t supposed to happen.
Second chances don’t exist, not in this sport. If that’s what you call it, anyway. Not when you haven’t pitched more than 40 innings at this level since 2006. Back then, Pluto was still a planet. (No, really)
And yet, here you are, not just pitching for the defending World Series champions, but starting games and pitching well.
Not just pitching well. Pitching well enough that you’re a critical part of your team’s rotation.
Yes, it’s true. Baseball can surprise you. Utility men can, almost out of nowhere, lead the league in home runs. Last place teams one year can become first place teams the next.
This, though, this is beyond any of it.
Is this a mirage? It’s possible, sure, but you’ve not given any sign that this is anything other than for real.
Even the guys that get paid to write about this don’t understand it.
Maybe, then, we shouldn’t try to understand. We shouldn’t try to figure out how it is that someone who, from 2000-2006, was a combined 10-22 with a 5.86 ERA, can suddenly be 3-1, 1.77 in 2011 without having stepped foot on a major league mound since 2006.
Maybe what we should do, instead, is celebrate it. Celebrate that a second chance can happen, that baseball heroes can come from unlikely places, that this sport will always find a way to surprise you.
Maybe, just maybe, someone out there, who gave up on a dream, will see what you’ve done this year, Ryan Vogelsong. Maybe they’ll step onto a mound, ball in hand, and say, “if he can do it, so can I.” After all, why not?