Wednesday, June 28, 2006


One of the best, and at the same time worst, things about watching sports is seeing the continuous parade of youngsters coming up through the ranks to wow us daily, sending chills down our brittle and decaying spines and joints with every rim-rocking tomahawk jam or 450-foot jack. Knee-locking curveball? Mine would paint picket signs and leave immediately, shouting "Scab! Scab! Scab!" at my ankles on the way out the door.

Consider the following:

*Chairman Mauer (copywrite Batgirl) just went 5 for 5 last night, receiving TWO standing ovations (on hit four and five), the night after going 4 for 5 and raising his league-leading batting average to the lofty heights of .389 (leading by .023). I shudder to be the first to even mention Ted Williams and I certainly won't let the batting average starting with the letter 'f' leave my lips anytime soon. Did I mention that he's 23?

You know you're doing something right when you start getting your stats compared to Kirby Puckett and 2005 Derek Lee (a very good vintage).

*Frankie Franchise is now 8-1 with a 1.76 ERA this year. He's 22.

Let's hope he's not the Felix Hernandez of last year and set to have the rest of the league catch up with him next year.

*By the way, the two guys just mentioned above make a combined $727,000 this year.

*Johan Santana is leading the league in strikeouts, ERA, and third in opponents batting average and innings pitched. He's got one Cy Young and is slightly Al Gore-like in shoulding have won another. He's 27.

I'm HOW much older than these guys? Thank god they're on TV and therefore not real human beings for which to compare my athletic feats to....

Update: Another way none of us can compete with Joe Mauer
(via Star Tribune)

"I don't even know how to describe it anymore," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire who joked that Mauer's uptick is the result of dating former Miss USA Chelsea Cooley. "It's pretty incredible the swings he's putting on the ball.


Hops said...

That's why we watch least it's a sport that delays the feeling of, "oh my god, I'm how much older than these guys!"...average age of a major leaguer is, what, 29?

This is compared to basketball, where one can be made to feel old upon enrolling for one's senior year of college*. Imagine what it must feel like to be a seventeen year old gymnast? Or a fourteen year old speller? What's left for you after that?

On a positive note...I think the guys in Entourage are 28-35. Keep hope alive!

(*assuming one actually attended college)

Kaiser said...

I can't believe you didn't mention my blatant use of the non-word "shoulding".

Kaiser said...

Wait a minute...what did you say about a seventeen year old gymnast? I started wandering after I read that and I'm just recovered.

There is definitely something to be said for the age factor and baseball, and why these three guys (maybe I'd throw Morneau For Four in there as a fourth) stand out so much being so successful at such a young age. The comparison to football, in particular, is an interesting one. It seems as if youngins can have a much more immediate impact, although granted there is still an adjustment to the bigger-faster-stronger opponents they face in the pros. I'd love to see stats on the average age of players in baseball vs. football vs. basketball vs. hockey. I think the average length of a career has a significant effect on the general fan's perception of a sport. Again to use football as an example, the average length of a career is what? 6 years? Less? You barely get to know a guy before he tears an ACL/MCL/new a-hole. Either that, or because of the crazy salary cap and non-guaranteed contracts, dude plays for your favorite team for three years, you buy his jersey (if you're Smitty), and he's dumped for someone new from THE Ohio State University the next season.

Hops said...

Don't can also look like John Kruk and have a very successful baseball career. Or at least you used to. I'm hoping Prince Fielder can bring about a resurgence of portly baseball players who mash.

Do you think younger players can have a more immediate impact in baseball than in basketball? Or are you just comparing football and baseball?

Pooh said...

Portly Players Who Mash is I believe the name of Papi Ortiz and Manny Ramirez's Salsa band.

Hops said...

PPWM plays all the hot clubs in Green Bay.

Kaiser said...

I would say it's more commonplace and acceptable for younger players to have an impact in football. Alternatively, you can have a 35 year old, balding, self-ironing guy like Lew Ford play for you squad in baseball. Don't see that happening in football.