Let’s play “Baseball Mortality”

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

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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.

Attempting to complete cycle, Robinson Chirinos thrown out to end game

Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.

Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.

The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.

Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.