For you diehard Giants fans out there (and if you’re reading this, you count), I’m sure you’re all tired of hearing about the one common denominator for the 2005 Giants team - age. Yeah, yeah, yeah: Pedro Feliz and/or Edgardo Alfonzo comprise the youngest starting position, at 29 and 31 (we think), respectively, at third base. 40-year old Barry Bonds is looking into tricking out his locker room recliner into a hypercharged lark-type wheelchair for those tricky line drives down the left field line. The other two spring chicks in the outfield, 38-year old Moises Alou and Marquis Grissom at a boyish 37, are both wondering who’s gonna play that fourth outfielder position in 420-foot death valley/right-center field.
Feh. While the Giants may indeed be a few pulled hamstrings away from playing Grizzly ball, think about it - isn’t everybody else? And it’s important to note that venerable doesn’t necessarily mean vulnerable. In fact, if you believe Tim McCarver and all those other long-winded analysts (can’t spell that word without “anal,” folks), experience is a good thing, especially in games that count.
With this in mind, I humbly offer to you, dear reader, some examples of the old forgoing their walking sticks and doing just fine, thank you, from all walks of life:
Barry Bonds, Randy Johnson, and Roger Clemens, circa 2004
BALCO, porn moustaches, and generous strike zones aside, 40+ year-old men aren’t supposed to dominate baseball like this, and certainly not all during the same era! Enjoy them while you can, folks. Doing the impossible is what makes this game great. The Giants know this; that’s why they signed 41-year old Jeff Fassero. Um, yeah.
Leroy “Satchel” Paige
Described by none other than Joe DiMaggio as “the best and fastest pitcher I’ve ever faced,” this Negro League legend and Hall of Famer pitched in the majors through the age of 59.
1972 Washington Redskins: “The Over the Hill Gang”
Led by Hall of Fame coach George Allen and former 49er quarterback Billy Kilmer, the veteran ‘Skins squad made it all the way to Super Bowl VII, only to be thwarted by the perfect Miami Dolphins in Los Angeles.
Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open
In a sport where players readily break down, retire, and host awards shows before age of 30, we may never see a 39-year old make it to the semis of a major tournament, ever. For those that witnessed it, Jimmy’s run that year was absolutely electric.
Jack Nicklaus at the 1986 Masters
While we’re on the subject of snobby country club sports, try beating the entire field for four days in a major championship at age 46. No word on the mysterious clear cream that Jack put on his putter when he sank that putt on 17. Kidding.
The 71-year old poker legend still competes in the World Series of Poker. Proof that a Master’s degree in Education can get you somewhere!
The Mormon Church
One of the most successful organizations in the world is, in effect, a gerontocracy. Six LDS church presidents have held office past the age of 90. By comparison, Felipe Alou is only turning 70 this May!
New Mexican Bacteria
According to www.extremescience.com, bacteria found in ancient sea salt in Carlsbad, NM is believed to be the world’s oldest living organism at 250 million years old. So scrub all you want; that stuff is gonna be around for a while.
Don Shin eats, breathes, thinks, and bleeds in Orange and Black. Pac Bell Park officially opened on his 25th birthday (the one year he decided to move out of the Bay Area!!!). For the 2000 playoff drive, he dyed his hair orange while studying in Korea. He watched Game 6 of the '02 World Series at a restaurant in LA, and couldn't finish his meal afterwards. Feel free to write him at firstname.lastname@example.org to commiserate, cheer, and complain.
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