The oldest living Yankee

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You’ll never guess who it is because you’ve probably never heard of him. But Louie Lazar of the New York Times tells us in this wonderful profile from the other day. It’s Rinaldo Ardizoia, who pitched for the Yankees in one game in 1947. He’s still alive — at age 95 — and living in San Francisco.

Ardizoia’s story is fantastic, not because it’s a tale of sports glory. It’s not. He had that one big league game and a decent career in the Pacific Coast League. He made some memories and some friends in baseball along the way. And then, in his 30s, just lived his life with his wife and children and job.

The part of this story that appeals to me is that, unlike every other story you see about some person who lives to 95 or older, it’s not painted as totally rosy and happy and carefree. Oh, there’s nothing tragic here — Ardizoia sounds like he has lived a good and rich life – but Lazar includes the parts where he talks about the important people in his life passing on. About how there are things about young people today he doesn’t care for. About how, at 95, not every day is a good full day and how there is a sense, however happy Ardizoia may be, that things are winding down.

That stuff is usually glossed over in profiles of the elderly. Not because the elderly play that down necessarily. Indeed, almost all older people I’ve talked to mention those who have passed and the mixed feelings that come with growing old quite readily. They’re not afraid of it. It just is. These people lived through World Wars and depressions and worse. They can face up to mortality just fine.

No, it’s usually because the writer, I think, is uncomfortable with it and maybe fears growing old themselves on some level. And, as a result, they paint nearly impossibly rosy and happy pictures of people growing old.

But not Lazar. And, as a result, he tells a wonderful, wonderful story.

Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg’s status for 2023 ‘a mystery’

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Stephen Strasburg‘s status for 2023 is up in the air after a series of injuries that limited him to one start this season, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said.

“It’s still a little bit of a mystery,” Rizzo said about the 2019 World Series MVP before the Nationals were scheduled to play a doubleheader at the New York Mets. “I know that he’s working hard strengthening his core and the other parts of his body. We’re just going to have to see. With the type of surgery and rehab that he’s had, it’s unfamiliar to us. It’s unfamiliar to a lot of people. We’re going to have to take it day by day.”

The 34-year-old right-hander has thrown a total of 31 1/3 innings across just eight starts over the past three seasons combined. He had carpal tunnel surgery in 2020, then needed an operation to correct thoracic outlet syndrome in 2021.

After his only start of 2022, he went back on the injured list with a stress reaction of the ribs.

“We’ll have to see where the rehab process takes us later on in the winter,” Rizzo said. “We’re going to monitor him. He’s local, so we’ll see him all the time and we’ll see where he’s at going into spring training mode.”

Strasburg is a three-time All-Star who signed a $245 million contract after helping Washington win a championship in 2019.

He is 113-62 with a 3.24 ERA for his career.

Meeting with reporters toward the end of a rough season – Washington entered with a majors-worst and Nationals-worst record of 55-104 and shipped away the team’s best player, outfielder Juan Soto, at the trade deadline – Rizzo talked about doing “an autopsy of the organization.”

“I look at the season as a disappointment. I’ve always said that you are what your record says you are, and our record says we’re the worst team in the league right now. It’s hard to argue with that,” Rizzo said. “The flip side of that is we’re in a process.”

Rizzo and manager Dave Martinez were given contract extensions during the season. Martinez said his entire coaching staff will return next year.