A couple of months ago, if you told me that Carlos Zambrano was going to retire after the 2012 season, I would have asked how he’d ever make it that long. He’s been pitching well lately, however. So well, in fact, that it’s not too hard to imagine him being a solid starter again for several years.
“I told you the other day, this will be my last contract. This will be my last contract. I won’t be playing anymore. I
don’t want to play anymore. Life is short. Sometimes you miss things
with your family, like very important people, like my daughter.
Sometimes you miss things in life because of baseball that you shouldn’t
miss. I want to be there any moment for my daughter and my family.
Baseball takes a lot of time away from us.”
This has been an ugly season for Zambrano, but if he can return to being the guy he was a few years ago — a horse who took the ball every fifth day and who kept the crazy to an amusing minimum — I’d be sad if he hung it up after 2012.
Baseball is a young man’s game. Whereas, a few short years ago, teams went into battle with a lot of guys with ten or twelve years of experience under their belt, these days such veterans are a dying breed. Whether you chalk it up to teams favoring youth because youth is less expensive, the game simply favoring younger, more athletic players, the decline in PED use among ballplayers or some combination of all three, the fact is that it’s better to be 23 in Major League Baseball these days than 33.
Turner is 33 — he turns 34 in November — yet he remains at or near the top of his game. It’s been a shorter season than usual for him due to an injury that cost him all of April and part of May, but his production when healthy remains at a near-MVP level. He’s hitting .318/.413/.525 on the year, and his return coincided with the Dodgers shaking off their early-season doldrums. Now, with his help, they are on the verge of yet another NL West title.
Not only that, but he’s doing that while holding down a second job!