The worst pitcher in all of Major League Baseball
posted a stratospheric Earned Run Average,
earned the vitriolic scorn of his fanbase
and became a laughingstock nationwide.

But, perhaps driven by the opprobrium,
he put in the practice on the mound,
mastered his change-up and slider,
struck out double-digit batters
in consecutive games.

He earned an All-Star berth,
won back the fans who scorned him,
rebuilt his reputation,
and showed his ace potential
on a team that was rebuilding,
rebuilding forever and ever.

It was hard to tell where his slider would end up.
It was hard to tell if all that hard, determined work
would ever amount to anything
beyond personal glory,
if it would someday come together,
if it would all lead anywhere.