If Carson Cistulli is reputed for his love of obscure prospects, my own affection has always tended toward the other end of the spectrum, the retired and forgotten ex-player. And as someone who regularly underperforms his own peripherals, the author has always had an especially soft spot for one Dave Bush, Starting Pitcher and Eternal Disappointment.
It may be difficult to recall now, but the mid-aughts were a time of heady optimism: of winnable wars, steady economic growth, people who were or looked vaguely like character actor John C. McGinley, and pitchers with strong strikeout-to-walk ratios. First among these, for the hipster baseball fans, was Dave Bush. Bush was the fantasy sleeper of the fantasy sleeper age, someone whose numbers never quite added up. They still haven’t.
Bush grew older, as did we all, and hope dwindled. It all came to an end the day when he set a major league record by giving up four consecutive home runs to the Arizona Diamondbacks, dropped his glove like a microphone, and disappeared alone into the desert. That’s why when I chanced upon his player page, this line leavened my heart:
Even after he’s forgotten, Dave Bush fails to reach his potential.
This is where the story is supposed to end, dear reader; you’ve have your catharsis. But real life rarely follows plot diagrams. So it is with Dave Bush: after toiling in Korea for a spell, he’s back with the Toronto Blue Jays on a minor league contract. The dream is still alive, if we’re talking about those semi-lucid dreams where you realize you’re dreaming and you try to change it but for some reason you can’t quite make yourself fly.
You kids can have your Charlie Blackmons and your Ryan Lavernways and your Jurickson Profars. My heart will always be with Dave Bush, king among retreads, fighting vainly against the daunting foe of common sense. Rage on, Dave.