I Think I’m Gettin’ Old
Two hot topics circulating the baseball newswires (especially Baseball Tonight!) right now are really making me feel old…
First is the notion that no team will sign Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez because he is too old and his skills are declining. I remember that during Pudge’s prime, he was so good defensively that teams just stopped running against him altogether. Plus, at least while in Texas, he was ALWAYS good for a .300 average (if not much higher) and 30 home runs. All told, he could probably challenge the old notion of Johnny Bench being the greatest backstop of all time. Now no teams want him?! Heck, if Joe Mauer ever got hurt for an extended period of time, I would take Rodriguez in a heartbeat.
Secondly, can you believe that Pedro Martinez is not on a major league baseball team right now?! I know that his “heater” only tops out around 90 mph (if that) these days and his chances of making it through an entire season are slim, but c’mon…it’s Pedro! An interesting conversation-starter that I like to pose to fellow baseball fans around my age (23) is this: If your team needed to win one game, which pitcher (in his prime) would you want on the mound: Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, or Pedro Martinez? For me, the answer was always Pedro, as his late 1990s seasons were the stuff of legends. As long as I live, I will never forget watching Pedro strike out Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire in the 1999 All-Star Game in his Carl Hubbell impersonation.
I guess what this means is that, if I were a GM, I would be the type that allows the old guys to hang on a bit too far past their prime. But seriously…let’s say for a second that the Twins picked up Martinez on a whim. In Game Seven of the hypothetical World Series, who would you want on the mound…him or Scott Baker (no disrespect to Scotty)? I thought so.