IN A PRIOR LIFE HE WAS A PITCHER

Expectations are sometimes cruel reminders of how much pressure society places on an individual.

Case in point: Mark Prior, the second overall pick in the 2001 June draft, signed a five-year, $10.5 million deal and made nine minor league starts before he was promoted to save the Chicago Cubs. Sports Illustrated compared Prior and Kerry Wood to Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.

LOCKER ROOM REAL ESTATE VALUES

You can learn a lot about a baseball team from its locker room. The clubhouse is where relationships form, character is revealed and leaders speak out (or not). For the major league rookie, clubhouse real estate is valuable — sometimes priceless. Imagine being the rookie who spent eight months out of the year next to Sandy Koufax? Roberto Clemente? Lou Gehrig? Tom Seaver? These were model athletes, wise and humble men, who used their talent to teach.

DEALING DICKEY

The last time I spoke to R.A. Dickey it was 2010. It was a late spring morning in Port St. Lucie and he was sitting, legs crossed, on a wooden stool, Mets pinstripe pants, three-quarter sleeved t-shirt, stirrups, no shoes, quietly gnawing on a hot dog and eating baked beans off a paper plate in front of his temporary “space” in the New York Mets locker room. From a distance, Dickey appeared lost and alone amongst the anxious rookies and loud overconfident veterans. In hindsight, he probably was — at that moment in time.