Despite what some of my younger friends like to tell me, I’m not all that old. When I count up my birthdays, I fall somewhere between Ivan Nova and Mariano Rivera. I’m firmly entrenched in my early 30s — young enough to close down a bar and old enough to know better.
There are mornings when my back hurts, my jump shot is long gone and a trip to Taco Bell sounds awful right now…
But most days, I feel like I’ve got a handle on things. I know how to deal with an aching back, I know to stay inside the 3-point arc and I make tacos at home that are actually pretty good. When I’m caught off guard, I don’t reach for the panic switch.
I guess experience counts for something.
As Courtney wrote in this morning’s Pinch Hitter post, the Yankees roster has plenty of age, but it also has plenty of experience. The difference between good and bad is in the way you look at it. It’s also in the way you react to it.
It’s not only the Yankees players who have some age and experience. Brian Cashman has also been around for a while, and he might have learned a thing or two from his years on the job. When Cashman traded his 22-year-old hitting prospect, he got a 22-year-old pitcher in return. When he signed a nearly 37-year-old starter, it was to a one-year deal. When rival GMs asked for the farm, and player agents asked for massive, long-term commitments, Cashman moved on.
Yes, Rivera and Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are old in baseball years, and there are plenty of concerns that come with age. But the bulk of this Yankees roster is made of players in their late 20s and early 30s, and clearly the organization has put an emphasis on player development that should produce more youth from the minor league system.
Jorge Posada’s retirement, and his final-year struggles, are reminders that age does matter in baseball. Even with the added value of experience, getting older comes at a cost, and the Yankees recognize that.
Associated Press photo