It’s been less than a week since the World Series started, and I’ve received more than one email from Yankees fans upset at the national media’s treatment of the Giants. The Yankees are ripped for being old. The Giants are praised for being young. Why hasn’t anyone noticed the veterans who fill that San Francisco lineup?
I think it has to do with perception and importance.
The Giants do have veterans throughout the lineup, but a lot of those are placeholders. Pat Burrell is a mid-season addition. Juan Uribe and Aubrey Huff are on one-year deals. Edgar Renteria is in the second-year of a two-year deal. The Giants are built on a rookie catcher and a homegrown rotation of 20-somethings. That’s why the team seems so young, and that’s why – in the most meaningful ways – it is young.
The Yankees are kind of the opposite. They have young players, but they’re old in key spots. Closer Mariano Rivera turns 41 this month. The face of the franchise, Derek Jeter, turned 36 this summer. Cleanup hitter Alex Rodriguez is 35 with a body that is starting to show some age, and Jorge Posada is no longer trusted to catch more than two or three games in a row.
All of that overshadows the fact Robinson Cano, Phil Hughes, Brett Gardner, Dave Robertson and Joba Chamberlain are in their 20s. Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia will be 30 on Opening Day. Those are nine important parts of the roster, all born in the 1980s.
The Yankees have some youth, and they have several players in their prime, but they also have significant age at significant spots. In no way are the Yankees a young team, but I think Brian Cashman might have been onto something when he said after Game 6 of the ALCS that age won’t be a huge concern this offseason.
“I don’t think it’s as big of a problem as maybe it gets portrayed,” he said. “We’ve been transitioning from an older crew to a younger crew for a period of time now. I don’t think that’s as big of an issue as some other areas that we need to get better at.”