From the AP -
He points to one moment, one conversation with his pal from Cuba.
Jose Contreras was struggling, and his friend Orlando Hernandez wanted to know what had happened to the pitcher who triggered an auction between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox before ever slipping on a major league uniform.
So El Duque asked: “Why’d you stop throwing sidearm?”
The answer was that a coach in Cuba had told Contreras to stop, saying the herky-jerky motion would scratch valuable years off his career.
“I regret it all the time, because I lost four years,” Contreras says through an interpreter.
But the turning point probably was that talk with El Duque.
Contreras started dropping his arm and rediscovered his form, going 11-2 after the All-Star break and winning his final eight regular-season starts. He helped the White Sox hold off Cleveland for the AL Central title and started the first game of each postseason series, going 3-1 in four outings.
These two – Duque and Contreras – were together, in the Bronx, during July 2004. Why couldn’t they have talked about this then?
Imagine how things might be different if they did – just starting with the 2004 ALCS.