Aging

40

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This has nothing to do with baseball. I wrote it on my personal blog this morning, but (a) some folks asked me to share it with a wider audience; and (b) you all don’t get enough of my opinions and views and stuff, so I figured, sure, lets go with it. And what are you gonna do about it anyway? Stop me? Come at me, bro. I know all the passwords to this blog.

At least I think I do. I’ve been forgetting so many things lately. And it’s cold in here and …

When I was younger I was led to believe that 40 was old. Sometimes I feel a bit old, but it’s a good old. Old in terms of a certain kind of temperament which makes loud music seem annoying, too much rich food seem like excess and a quiet evening at home followed by a 10:30 bedtime seem like an ideal Saturday night.

Which is fine, because I’ve felt that way about such things since I was in my 20s. On some level you are who you are no matter how old you actually are. I don’t, however, feel old in the ways that matter.

Today, on my 40th birthday, I weighed in at 180 pounds, which is the lightest I’ve been since before I ceased growing at age 15. It’s amazing what cutting out excess sugar and carbohydrates does for a 40 year-old body. It’s amazing what moderation — a little bit of good whiskey or wine instead of a lot of cheap beer — will do for one’s spirit, body and soul.

Today, on my 40th birthday, I am preparing to get on a plane to New York to cover Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game for NBC. I am working a job that is exactly what I want to do and that, as such, is not truly work. I didn’t think this would ever happen when I was 35 and I wouldn’t dare dream of such a thing when I was 30. But I’m doing it and I still pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.

Today, on my 40th birthday, I will greet my waking children with more vigor and alertness than I did when they were babies and I was in my early 30s. Unlike then I know what I’m doing now. I know what they need from me and know that I am capable of giving it. And I feel like they realize this too. They are my children and I am their father but they are also my best friends. And for all of the adversity the past couple of years has thrown at us, we are making a wonderful life for ourselves.

Today, on my 40th birthday, I will see my parents, who live close to me and remain close, and I will speak to my brother who lives far from me yet still remains close. I know so many people who have complicated relationships with their families yet, here I am, at age 40, closer to them than I was when we all lived together as a I grew up.

Today, on my 40th birthday, I woke up next to a beautiful, smart and thoughtful woman who cares for me and understands me and knows that, no matter what life throws at us, she can talk to me and I can talk to her and that we’ll make sense of the world together because we trust each other and love each other and yes, goddamn it, it really is that simple if you let it be.

Today, on my 40th birthday, I hear the music and language of young people and I see their styles and their problems and, rather than feel threatened or superior, I take comfort in knowing that there will always be youth and that they provide the fuel that drives us forward.

Today, on my 40th birthday, I likewise see the old, what they’ve made of this world and how they face their twilight years and, ultimately, their oblivion. I understand that I will one day be where they are. This causes me to carry less anger and resentment for my elders than I have harbored in the past and, somehow, brings me a strange sense of comfort. I neither lament the passing of time nor pretend that time does not march on.

Today, on my 40th birthday, I own all of the miles on my odometer. I look forward to what is left of my hair turning gray and my body growing tired. I know I am getting older and will one day die. But I also know that will not happen for a very long time and that between now and then I have a lot of life to live and a lot of things to do. That I will plan and strive and fight and live like a man who still has much left to do and prove.

Today, on my 40th birthday, I am at greater peace with myself, my life and my world than at any time I can remember. I feel like I can see for miles in any direction and that I can conquer any problem that comes my way no matter how big it is.

Years may give you wrinkles, a bald head and aches and pains. But years don’t make you old. You only grow old if you let yourself. By losing your enthusiasm, your curiosity and your ideals. By becoming someone your younger self would have hated. By that measure I don’t feel old at all. And I feel very happy to be 40.

Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery could share Cubs’ rotation spot in 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01:  Mike Montgomery #38 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).

Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.

Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.

Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.

Michael Bourn to miss four weeks with a broken finger

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 6:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles looks out of the dugout as he waits to get on deck to bat during the sixth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 6, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Orioles’ center fielder Michael Bourn is expected to be sidelined for four weeks while he rehabs a broken ring finger on his right hand, according to reports from the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck. Bourn broke the finger while playing catch with a football after a spring training workout.

The veteran outfielder re-signed with the club earlier this week on a minor league deal and was prepared to compete for a bench role this season. He’s in line to receive a $2 million salary if he makes the major league roster and can make an additional $3.5 million in incentives based on a set number of plate appearances. Now, however, his chances of cracking the roster out of spring training look considerably diminished, as his current timetable gives him an approximate return date of March 25 if all goes well.

Bourn had an impressive, if short-lived run with the Orioles following his trade to Baltimore last August, batting .283/.358/.435 with two home runs and a .793 OPS in 55 PA. While still somewhat removed from the totals that brought him an All-Star nod with the Braves in 2012, his defensive chops should give the Orioles some depth in center once he’s healthy again.