Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I just downloaded Doom and Gloom by the Rolling Stones on my iPod. The Stones are one of the greatest bands on this earth.  I have no idea why, but I was thinking about the Yankees when I read the title and was listening to the lyrics.  The Stones are at the top of their game and they’re old men, let’s keep it real.

Yet, Mick Jagger jumps around like he’s 23 years old and I equate the rejuvenation of Derek Jeter to Mick's subscription to perfecting ones craft the older you get.  There is nothing better to me than watching 38 year old Jeter lead our guys out of the dugout on a home game.  It’s huge to me, because I don’t see age like every Yankee critic does and maybe that’s because I’ve followed these guys forever and appreciate skill.  Sure, players break down, but the focus and the message is clear… they want to win and they will grind it out any way possible to get it done. I guess that's just the Yankee way.
 I’ve been reading a lot about how OLD the Yankees are.  How OLD the players are they re-signed this off season and how they just aren’t the competitors they once were. Mind you, it's the winter...they haven't taken the field yet.  That Sean Hartnett /CBS piece HERE featured buzz words like "Yankees" and "Uncertainty" and "Aging" from a few days ago and it annoyed me.  He clearly was focusing on the Yankees "OLD" guys without looking at the other teams with a ton of "OLD" guys.  His piece is pointed, there is no big picture here with Hartnett.  Hey, that’s fine, it’s his piece.  Critics can criticize the Yankees all they want. But in the end, we’re gamers.  It doesn’t matter how old you are. Don’t believe me? Ask Derek Jeter about that.  His focus has always been the same…You go out and win a game, one game at a time... that’s the goal and it's always been the goal.

The World Championship San Francisco Giants have quite a few old guys sprinkled in with veterans. Barry Zito is 34 and Ryan Vogelsong is 35. They just won a freaking championship. Marco Scutaro is 37. Really.  He looks 28 out there. Really.

Look at the Philadelpiha Phillies, they just signed 36 year old Michael Young.  They have a guy named Chase Utley who isn’t exactly young (34) and while we’re on the subject of young players, there are plenty of young players that may be mildly young, but get hurt. Hey, Chase Utley is one of them and there's also Ryan Howard and his 33 year old frame. I mean, come on? How old is Cliff Lee again? He’s 34 and Roy Halladay is 35, yet, he’s one of the top pitchers in the game.  What does age really mean as long as you play to win and do it well.  Halladay does, Jeter does, Jorge Posada did.

Look at the Boston Red Sox. How old is David Ortiz? 37. Yet, just when you think he’s slowing down, he’s cranking out 20 + home runs.  The Sox just signed 32 year old Shane Victorino who had a crumby 2012. Plus they just signed veteran pitcher, 35 year old Ryan Dempster. So yeah, we’re going to focus on the Yankees and their age? Last time I checked Nick Swisher is 32 and he just signed a 4 year deal with the Cleveland Indians. Sure 32 is fine for Swish and Victorino, trust me, I’m not saying they're 60, but they are on the downside of their careers.  And how about those Texas Rangers and 36 year old Lance Berkman. And I could go on and on... there are a ton of examples.  It's funny though, alot of the guys I listed seem older than they actually are.  And that's my point.

Age don't mean a thing unless you, the player, are thinking about it. Jeter doesn't think about that crap. Neither does Andy Pettitte... if he did, he would have stayed retired. No, the ones who think about it are the haters.  Hey, that's fine, but they don't play the game, so they don't get it.

Yeah, I get protective of my Yankees.  I never understood the critics who decide that every year they need to do an “Yankees are old” piece and I guess they just hope no one actually does the research.  I do.  Why? Because it’s slanted, it’s overly critical and most of all, it’s a non-story.
Age doesn’t matter.  Again, it’s true, player DO slow down, but in the end, you re-invent yourself to lengthen your career… until you can’t any longer. But look at someone like Freddy Garcia. Garcia was a genius when it came to re-invention and he extended his career 2 extra years with the Yankees mixing up pitches. He did great.  

If you’re a Yankee fan like me… the field is split, meaning, some of us like the veterans and some want to see the kids come up.  I have always said the perfect team is a sprinkling of young and veterans.  The kids play and learn, the veterans play and lead by example.  I often look at the teams of the past and I see that formula.  The Yankees are not old, they’re seasoned, or skilled as I like the say and trust me, there’s a very big difference. Age is also something that as a ball player, you can’t let get in your head.  I mean, for me personally, I don’t feel 40… and trust me, Jeter doesn’t feel like he’s 38. 

The Rolling Stones? Hell, they’ll be around forever.

It’s all in how you want to feel.  If you want to feel old, you’re old. But critics who like to analyze on the surface without looking at the work that’s put into the daily grind, well, dare I say, it’s lazy journalism and easy.  Especially if we haven’t even seen the 2013 Yankees play yet.

Trust me... it's time to consider these "old" players as, not old, but "skilled"...  yet all I hear is doom and gloom. That's too bad.

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