Craig Robinson of the fantabulous Flip Flop Fly Ball turns 40 today. Happy Birthday, Craig! In honor of that occasion, he does what he does best: creates a fun graphic. This one is a chart illustrating how he has aged compared to the roster of the New York Yankees. The first year in which a Yankee player was younger than him was 1992. Half the Yankees roster was younger than him as of 2001. Now only Mariano Rivera has him beat.
I’m guessing everyone has tracked this sort of thing on some level. The Playboy centerfolds — whose ages are so helpfully included along with their pictorials I’m told — are among the first adult public figures/celebrities (non child-star or college athlete edition) who guys encounter that are younger then them. Then the movie stars. Then the pro athletes. When the doctors and lawyers are all younger than you is when you really start to feel old. The first time we have a President born after 1973 is when I’ll let my ear hair grow out, hike my pants up and give up even the pretense of trying to feel young.
But back to baseball. The first Atlanta Brave younger than me was Jermaine Dye (and later Andruw Jones) in 1996. Now the only ones older than me are Chipper Jones, Takashi Saito and Derek Lowe (though Lowe only by a month and a half).
I don’t really have a problem with this. Aging has never really bothered me. Indeed, each year I get older I feel more comfortable with who and what I am. I was a basket case in my 20s and early 30s. 37 feels pretty good. I’m about the only person I know who looks forward to his 40th birthday. On some strange level I feel like I will finally be grown up then.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.