Five years must make a great amount of difference in a Major League Baseball career.
To read the post Tuesday about 35-year-old Michael Young in the Dallas Morning News, you'd swear he was giving reporter Evan Grant the lowdown on where the Texas Rangers kept the Fountain of Youth. It's somewhere in his locker. Young might just play forever, his "competitive drive" is so superior.
Conversely, to read the post about almost-40-year-old Chipper Jones in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, you'd swear reporter Dave O'Brien had just interviewed a thoroughbred race horse who broke his leg and was begging to be put down. Chipper is just so darned beaten up, heck, "tomorrow" might be his last day wearing an Atlanta Braves uniform.
"Father Time doesn't mean anything to me. People who lose their competitive edge or their drive, those are the ones when age starts creeping up. There are a lot of people who have beaten Father Time … I feel like I'm competing with myself and my own expectations … As far as age or anybody thinking about any magic numbers, that means nothing to me."
Nothing, huh? Jones, 0 for 8 so far this spring and troubled by a sore knee and legs, sounds like he's about to turn 80:
"Tomorrow might be my last day," he said "I don't know. I don't really focus on it that much. The body is starting to tell me every morning when I wake up that it's getting close. I'm signed through the end of this year. If I play in a certain amount of games, I got an option for next year. I don't know what next year entails.
"I don't know if I can make it through this year."
All right, that's enough. In their own way, each of these guy is full of baloney. Enough with the lionizing of Michael Young, who is such a hard worker (and weaker players aren't) that the law of physics don't apply to him. OK, Mike. We all get older, as Larry Wayne Jones will tell you. And tell you. And tell you.
Remember last year, when Jones took Jason Heyward aside (actually he complained through the media) and told the young slugger to ignore his injuries, shut up, and play?
Chipper, you're blowing your chance to lead by example.
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