Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Bob Lobel: Has David Ortiz Found the Fountain of Youth?

By Bob Lobel (@boblobel)

Wine gets better with age.

There is a revelation that will startle no one. 

However, there are things that would give wine a run for its money. 40 is the new 20, it seems, for David Ortiz, who has people shaking their heads and just exercising their human nature in wondering how this is possible. This is the era of suspicion, and for good reason. 

The proof of others bending the rules to find the Fountain of Youth has plenty of people saying "that is not the way the game was meant to be played."

Not true.

Since the day the game was starting to evolve, all kinds of things and substances were added to the ball, in ways that were meant to be kept secret. As the years rolled by, things went from outside the uniform, to inside the person wearing it.

When the heroes of the game were the ones bending the rules chemically, suspicions fell on everyone that put up unusual statistics. Do we root for Ortiz to start failing or to continue looking like the new 20? 

I have no answer whatsoever. None. 

Either suspect everyone, or no one. Or, just pick one you want to look like a cheating guy with bad character. It must be a dilemma, because you almost hope to be good, but not too good. The real problem is we all know and understand human nature. 

Given the opportunity, we all could be part of the problem. Why would putting on a uniform bring out the best in you, and completely eradicate the dark side we all keep under wraps in many different ways? 

So, back to the premise that old is better, in many ways, than young. 

It is certainly better, if you are a knuckleballer. Age slows down the man on the mound to a tempo that seems to agree with the trick pitch. Only a chosen few have been able to do it, but check out the age of the successful ones. Also, it is remarkable that goaltenders in the national hockey league need to be well into their 30s to hit the jackpot. 

Note that Tim Thomas was 37 when he got his ring. 

So many others, from Gump Worsley to Terry Sawchuck, needed to get well past puberty to start stopping pucks with world class regularity. Why is that? It defies all logic, and what we know about athleticism and youth. 

So I urge you to go right back to the top of the page and plug in Ortiz. The next time you want to argue the case for clean being a possible road to success as middle age gets closer, then bring up Tim Thomas, who had the greatest three weeks of his career at 37, and the knuckleballers, who defy logic with a pitch that defies the physical laws of nature. 

Who the hell know? The option? The only one I know is to turn your attention to some other game of chance. There are plenty of those that are more explainable that the ones we watch, root for, cherish, and ask for autographs.

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