Every spring some new buck will make an impression and realize their boyhood dream, but for even more the dream ends, and they have to begin the long journey home as they try to figure out what the future holds without them on a baseball diamond.
Chuck Tiffany was a local boy from Charter Oak High School (Covina) who had grown up a huge Dodger fan and was thrilled when Dodgers drafted him in the 2nd round (2003), as he dreamed of pitching at Dodger Stadium. Manny the coach who sits in front of me had told me that Tiffany was the best pitcher his team had ever faced and we looked forward to watching him warm up in the Dodger bullpen in the not to distant future.
It wasn't some far fetched thought, in his first pro season he started a combined no-hitter in May, then upstaged himself two weeks later with a seven-inning perfect game. He finished the season by reaching double-digit strikeouts in each of his last four starts. Then in 2005 he put together a great 20-year-old A+ season and was the 10th best prospect according to BA with the best curveball in the organization. Back in 2005 when Billingsley and Broxton were rocking the Jacksonville Five to a championship, Chuck Tiffany was trying to do the same thing in the Florida League Playoffs. Scroll down that link and you will read about the exploits of Billingsley, Broxton, and Tiffany.
However Ned had other idea's for our Tiffany and decided to trade not only Edwin Jackson but also Tiffany for proven closer Baez and journeyman Lance Carter. It was the first time that Ned would stick a dagger in my heart but it would not be the last. Baez proved that his peripherals were not closer worthy and soon lost the job. Carter was awful and was sent to Japan. Edwin Jackson was terrible for a few years but showed some promise last year and is now entrenched in the Tiger rotation. As much a fan I was of Edwin Jackson it was the loss of Tiffany I lamented the most.
Just like many other young pitchers his Dodger dream ended and now his major league dream has probably ended as well. Soon after being traded to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays he succumbed to shoulder problems and underwent rotator cuff surgery. He came back but has never been the same so yesterday the Rays released him and the future looks bleak for someone who just a few years ago dared to dream of Chavez Ravine and the applause when he took the mound for the 1st time.