Sports, like kids, keep us young and remind us we’re old. It’s a weird thing, right? Usually, it works one way or the other. A carnival feels you feel exclusively young. Graying hair makes you feel exclusively old.
But sports and kids … both. With kids, you can do things that they do. Wonderful things like climbing monkey bars, riding roller coasters, watching Disney movies. Hell, this Saturday I’ll be dressed as Paul Stanley and trick o’ treating all over town. Sans kids, I’m home watching Platoon or something. But kids are also barometers. When you have them, you suddenly have this gauge, reminding you that you’re no longer 25, 26, 27 … 30 … 33 … 36. As they grow, you grow. Well, shrink. Or hunch over. But it does some magically awful shit to your psyche.
Sports is similar. Watching a ballgame can be terrific, splendid, euphoric. To get lost in a pitcher-batter matchup; to have your feet up on the Dodger Stadium railing while eating a Dodger Dog; to see a 100-mph Wade Davis heater. It’s all blissful. And Fountain of Youth-ish.
But then, in my case, shit happens. I covered the Majors for Sports Illustrated from roughly 1997 until 2002. That means my final season was 13 years ago. My peers—they’re gone. Not all the writers (though most), but nearly the entire League has turned over. Now, with LaTroy Hawkins and Torii Hunter officially retired, I’ve only really got Bartolo Colon. And he and I never spoke. Not once.
I hate this shit. Hate it. I don’t wanna see Aaron Boone in the booth. I wanna see him in a Red uniform, playing third. I don’t want Homer Bush as my Facebook friend. I want him playing second in Toronto. Where have you gone, Shawn Green and Carlos Delgado? When in Glendon Rusch starting for the Royals? I’m liking what the A’s have going with Eric Chavez at third, but is Carlos Pena the answer at first? Those Florida Marlins sure have some young pitching for John Boles …
I feel like a ghost of baseball past, standing still as the games go on.
Get off my lawn!