Craig Calcaterra

Chicago Cubs v Colorado Rockies

Let’s play “Baseball Mortality”


On Twitter last night D.J. pointed out that our current “Top Posts” banner is pretty damn retro at the moment:


The last time those three players could be seen in real life in those three uniforms was 2001 so, yeah.

The Giambi retirement has me thinking about time and age. I was born on July 14, 1973. He was born on January 8, 1971, making him one of the last active players who was older than me. As far as I can tell, that leaves only two guys in the bigs who made it to this Earth before I did: LaTroy Hawkins (b. 12/21/72) and Bartolo Colon (b. 5/24/73). Hawkins is apparently a cyborg, so he’ll be around for another, like, 50 years. Maybe he can be for me like Jamie Moyer was for so many of you old farts: that one guy who hangs on forever, delaying the inevitable day when every big leaguer is a whippersnapper in my eyes.

That got me thinking about who was the first big league ballplayer younger than me. I think it’s Ismael Valdez (b. 8/21/73), who made his debut for the Dodgers on June 15, 1994. Valdez has been out of baseball for a decade. The next player younger than me after him was Alex Rodriguez, who debuted on July 8, 1994.

“Baseball Mortality,” or whatever you want to call it, is a fun game to play. A good place to start is this chart for the younger-than-you crew and this chart for the old timers.

If you’re not in the right frame of mind, Baseball Mortality can be a little depressing. But don’t let it be. The actors and rock stars who are younger than you come first. Then the ballplayers. Because they’re so visible, those are the types of folks that we tend to think of when we look to external age markers. But they’re on the extreme end. A lot of you are still younger than, say, all the presidents. Maybe your doctor. A full professor at your local college. Personally, I take great comfort in knowing that Raymond Chandler didn’t publish his first novel until he was 51. We all got time.

But, at least if LaTroy Hawkins or Bartolo Colon are in a given game, I can call all the ballplayers “kids” now. Which is simultaneously fun and unsettling.

Joel Hanrahan still has soreness in his arm

Joel Hanrahan

The Tigers signed Joel Hanrahan last May, thinking that they can deal with his rehab from Tommy John surgery and reap the rewards of some late season bullpen help. That didn’t happen however, as his rehab lasted longer than anticipated.

So they re-signed him this offseason figuring, hey, some more time and we’ll finally have a health Hanrahan. Welp, no:

At least the deal is a minor league deal this year.

Hanrahan was one of the best relievers in baseball before the injuries hit, posting a 2.73 ERA with 228 strikeouts in 198 innings from 2010-2012. He has missed almost two entire years now, however, and the longer he’s out, the less likely it is that he’ll ever be an effective late innings option again.

A-Rod reached out to Chase Headley

alex rodriguez head

From ESPN, we learn that the Yankees’ old third baseman reached out to the new one:

Chase Headley says Alex Rodriguez has “reached out and introduced himself” . . . “It was just more of an introduction. I think we both care about winning. That’s the most important thing, and that’s what we talked about.

Meanwhile, New York pundits are trying to decide how to spin this as “a distraction” or “mind games” instituted by the nefarious A-Rod. Once they have that sorted, they’ll decide if it would have been more disgusting for A-Rod to give Headley “the cold shoulder.”

Either way this is bad, I assure you.

Chuck Knoblauch is apparently irked at Andy Pettitte getting his number retired



A tweet from former Yankees second baseman Chuck Knoblauch after learning that Andy Pettitte was going to have his number retired by the Yankees:

Not exactly the clearest point, but I assume this to be either (a) an attempt at a comment about how Pettitte gets something of a free pass for his PED use; or (b) a more specific beef about the days in which both Knoblauch and Pettitte were testifying before the Roger Clemens grand jury given their mutual ties to Brian McNamee. Which, presumably, entailed some behind the scenes drama about which we do not know.

If it’s the former, well, yes, it is true that Pettitte has gotten off exceedingly easily compared to other players with the PED stuff. We’ve documented that here in the past, of course. Unlike Knoblauch, however, we don’t consider that to be a fault of Pettitte’s as much as it’s a blind spot — selective or otherwise — on the part of the media which covers him. Heck, it’d be better if all players had their PED past reduced in significance when it comes to documenting their legacy because, contrary to what the media tells you, it’s very rarely the most interesting thing about any given player.

But whether it’s that, some grand jury issue or some bit of personal intrigue between Pettitte and Knoblauch, I’m inclined to ask where in the hell Knoblauch gets off launching any sort of criticism at anyone given his pretty damn sordid past. It’s always useful to observe the disparate treatment of players by the media and the public, but in Knoblauch’s case, there’s a pretty good reason for disparate treatment.

As for Pettitte: his number retirement is good for him and the fans who enjoyed watching him play. If you don’t like the way he’s talked about compared to other players, do what we do and take that up with the New York Daily News, the New York Post, ESPN or whoever is doing the comparing. But don’t hate on a guy who seems pretty damn decent and who has brought joy to millions. Especially if you don’t have any claim whatsoever on the moral high ground.

The snow in Fenway Park is pretty incredible

fenway park seats getty

Note: if you don’t live in New England, your weather complaints are, by definition, second rate. They’ve been getting hammered with snow all month. Really: it’s only February 16 and it’s already the snowiest February on record in Boston.

So let’s go check out Fenway Park courtesy of Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel:

A month and a half or so until Opening Day.