They were good, once
Some years ago, there was a baseball team that sported some of the best young pitching in the league. They had a handful of dependable, young starters. Their ace was only 21 years old. He had unbelievable command and was a Cy Young candidate. This team also had a 23 year old who'd win 14 games and put up very respectable numbers, and a 22 year old who wasn't quite as good as the rest, but had the potential to improve drastically. And let's not forget about the veteran of the staff, a 28-year old who'd already seen quite a bit, and also knew how to win and win often.
I know the comparrison isn't quite right, but it's pretty close. This team, on the arms of their very young pitching staff charged through the post season and won a World Series. They were the 85 Royals. The pitchers were Brett Saberhagan, Mark Gubicza, Danny Jackson, and Charlie Leibrandt.
I have very little doubt that Royals fans everywhere believed that championship to be just the first taste. Instead, their franchise hasn't been back to the playoffs ever since. Their young pitching staff faultered in 1986, and barely finished over .500 in 87 and 88.
Charlie Leibrandt would be a Royal until the 1989 season. In 1990, he'd go to the Braves, and he finished his career in Texas. He was a solid pitcher but never an ace.
Mark Gubicza would win 20 games at age 25 in 1988, but after that would never win more than 15, and only once. He battled injuries for the rest of his career, with only one healthy season in 1995 before retiring at age 34.
Danny Jackson went to Cincinnati in 88, where he won 23 games. We Cubs fans know what happened to him after that.
Brett Saberhagan was a very good pitcher who only had a handful of good years. He also battled injury and personal problems, and won only 167 games in his career.
Who would've thought that a staff of such young and talented pitchers would go on to do so little? They only had one shot at a World Series. Only one chance, and then they vanished. And they remind me a lot of the 2003 Cubs. A good team, good pitching, a bright future... and nothing.
Is that what we have to look forward to? Will our amazing pitching staff be rendered moot? It's beginning to look that way. It's becoming hard to believe in this team. Hell, it's become impossible.