When did your favorite team get younger than you?

15 Comments

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.    

Dan Straily suspended five games, Don Mattingly one for throwing at Buster Posey

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
4 Comments

Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that Marlins pitcher Dan Straily has been suspended five games and Don Mattingly one game for throwing intentionally at Giants catcher Buster Posey on Tuesday in San Francisco. Straily plans to appeal his suspension, so he will be allowed to take his normal turn through the rotation until that matter is settled.

Everything started on Monday, when the Marlins rallied in the ninth inning against closer Hunter Strickland. That included a game-tying single from Lewis Brinson, who pumped his fist and yelled in celebration. Strickland took exception, jawing at Brinson who was on third base when the right-hander was taken out of the game. Strickland went into the clubhouse and punched a door, breaking his hand.

The next day, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez hit Brinson with a fastball, which prompted warnings for both teams. Mattingly came out to argue with the umpires about the fairness of issuing warnings right then and there. On his way back to the dugout, Mattingly apparently said, “You’re next” to Posey, who was standing around home plate. The next inning, Straily hit Posey on the arm with a fastball, which led to immediate ejections for both him and Mattingly.

Neither Rodriguez nor Giants manager Bruce Bochy were reprimanded, which is ludicrous because it was plainly obvious Rodriguez was throwing at Brinson. But neither team had been issued warnings. Essentially, Major League Baseball is giving free reign for teams to get their revenge pitches in. Furthermore, Straily’s five-game suspension is hardly a deterrent for throwing at a hitter. The Marlins could simply give Straily an extra day of rest and it’s like he was never suspended at all.

Beanball wars are bad for baseball. It puts players at risk for obvious reasons. When players have to miss time due to avoidable injury, self-inflicted (in the case of Strickland) or not (if, for example, Posey had a hand or wrist broken from Straily’s pitch), the game suffers because it becomes an inferior product. That’s, of course, second behind the simple fact that throwing at a player is a tremendously childish way to handle a disagreement. When aimed intentionally at another human being, a baseball is a weapon. That’s especially true when it’s in the hands of someone who has been trained to throw anywhere from 90 to 100 MPH.

Commisioner Rob Manfred has spent a lot of time trying to make the game of baseball more appealing, such adding pitch clocks and limiting mound visits. He should spend some time addressing the throwing-at-batters problem.