I haven't really written anything in a while, to be honest there hasn't been much to inspire me. Dozens of guys have reported to spring training in the best shape of their lives, dozens more are just back in the same shape they were in in October. I spend most of my days at work reading updates and reports, flipping through spring training pictures, grinding my teeth in jealously as I subject myself to the pictures sunny, warm weather in Arizona and Florida. I do, however, take solace in the fact that the start of spring training signals the inevitable approach of summer.
It's interesting to take a look at the career crossroads that many players approach this time of year. Both Jorge Posada and Jason Varitek have ended their long careers his offseason. They were two of the most central figures of the sometimes intense, sometimes violent, but always entertaining Yankees- Red Sox battles of the early 2000's. They each symbolized the intensity that always came through in those games. Two images that will be eternally etched in my brain from those games are Jorge Posada's look of triumph and the corresponding fist pump after an RBI double off of Pedro Martinez. Equally symbolic of those games is the image of Jason Varitek shoving a fist full of catchers mitt in Alex Rodriguez's face. I guess it is all a bit of a trip that there are players whose entire careers I have watched who are starting to retire. Means I am starting to get old.
While these catchers of my youth-college years begin to retire. A new generation begins to emerge. Guys like Jesus Montero, Bryce Harper, and Mike Trout are going to be the names that kids of the future grow up with, wear their t shirts, ask for autographs, and memorize stats. It's the first time I am realizing how cyclical this all is. Guys comes up, play, get old, retire. It's been happening for ten decades. For one generation Ted Williams was the guy they grew up with and Jim Rice was the young up and comer who made them feel old. For another Don Mattingly was their childhood hero and Andy Pettitte was the player who came along to appreciate as another man with a different skill set in life that is to be appreciated and not necessarily worshipped.
Growing up as a kid in then 90's the Yankees were my religion and Derek Jeter the pope. Now that I have become assimilated into the "real world", I no longer feel the same reverence for ballplayers, I cheer, I am still emotionally involved in every win and loss, but I can't say the players themselves are heros of mine. Just another guy in the world, who happens to be good at something that I am not. Hopefully the best collection of those guys end up on the team I cheer for, but that's about the extent of my reverence these days.