Monday, October 3, 2011

Signs of Aging

Stopped at a red light the other day, I glanced down at my right hand and did a double take. Could it be? Were those round shadings on the back of my hand the telltale signs of aging spots? I shuttered to think so. I’ve been checking my hand ever since. So far, nothing new to report. Whew!

Here are some real signals of creeping decrepitude, culled from time recently spent with family and friends. You know you’re getting old...

When your adult children are more interested in watching a reality show like The Bachelor or Jersey Shore than a great black and white film, even if it’s starring Humphrey Bogart;

When you wonder how your adult children can listen to TV with the sound so low and they tell you it’s because they’re all under 40;

When the eldest of your friend’s teenage children slides behind the wheel of his car;

When your 8-year-old grandnephew is excited about showing you a new video game and you have absolutely no idea what you’re viewing.

No doubt you have your own senior moments, if only you could remember them.

Adios, Tito: Because he was a really good manager, Terry “Tito” Francona’s departure from the Boston Red Sox brings some relief to any NY Yankees fan. But also because he was such a good manager it also elicits sadness that he became the fall guy for the epic failure of the Red Sox to make the baseball playoffs this year, and last year as well.

In comments agreeing to his removal as manager after eight years, and two World Series wins, Francona indicated the team no longer heard his voice in the clubhouse, that he wasn’t able to inspire them. But let’s be honest—few players remain from those glory years of 2004 and 2007. The exceptions are David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, Tim Wakefield, Josh Beckett, Jason Varitek, Jonathan Papelbon and Dustin Pedroia, all top quality players and ostensibly, clubhouse leaders. There were 18 new sets of ears in the clubhouse who should have been receptive to Francona’s message, the same message that led to two World Series titles.

Francona’s problems could be traced to the failure of general manager Theo Epstein to provide quality replacement parts for the rest of the team roster. Over the last few years he’s invested heavily in players who did not live up to expectations, including J.D. Drew, Mike Cameron, Carl Crawford and John Lackey.

On the other hand, Yankee GM Brian Cashman can celebrate his efficiency in signing pitchers Corey Wade, Luis Ayala, Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, along with position players Eric Chavez, Andruw Jones and Russell Martin.

What Cashman and Yankees fans cannot be too happy about, however, is the recurring failure of Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira to hit in the post-season. After two games they are a combined 1 for 15 (Teixeira hit a double) with two strikeouts apiece. It’s nice to see Jorge Posada leading the team in batting average in the playoffs, but the Yanks won’t beat the Detroit Tigers if A-Rod and Tex don’t hit, and if Brett Gardner, 1 for 6 with no walks, and Derek Jeter, 2 for 10, no walks, don’t get on base.

But at least they made it into the playoffs. The season is already a success because Boston didn’t.

As for the post-season, I’ve come to accept whatever happens in the early rounds. I haven’t altered my life schedule to view the games. Saturday night Gilda and I watched the first two episodes of Downtown Abbey while the Yankees bashed the Tigers. Sunday we ate dinner out before seeing a Tisch School of the Arts at New York University production of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure with a friend’s son, Rafi, in a leading role. After coming home I viewed a DVR recording of the NY Giants squeek out a victory over the Arizona Cardinals in the same stadium as their 2008 Super Bowl triumph.

I want the Yankees to win, but I’m not going to get really excited until they play in the World Series. Perhaps that’s another sign of aging, or at least maturity.

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