Last week Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee finally drawled something about his decision to sign with Philadelphia and his facts were askew ed. The free-agent who turned down the Yankees remarked that wearing Pinstripes was his third choice, after the Phillies and his other former team the Texas Rangers, because he felt the Bronx Bombers were "getting old." Well, who isn't? And isn't that ageism?
The 32 year-old pitcher better bone up on his math before he speaks. Alright, the only numbers he needs to know are what does 5 years and $120 million equal. A nice life. But calling the Yankees old? Look in your own backyard Cliff.
Sure, Derek Jeter doesn't draw the same gaggles of squealing 'tweens like a couple of World Series ago and had to endure the references to his down 2010 season during his contract talks. Even Justin Bieber will one day start counting the hairs at the bottom of his shower---and those money-makers will drain away young man. Jeter still has those giddy fans, but now they're filled less with delight than chardonnay.
When was the last time an "old" guy or a Phillie was in GQ? Probably the same time. The Yankee captain shows he's still got the stuff in an upcoming issue.
Even the Yankees oldest player, 41 year-old Mariano Rivera, made the All-Star game last year. The freakish Rivera still has the arm of a 35 year-old, the same age as that toddler Brad Lidge.
The Core Four has been whittled down to the Key Three. Time and the Steinbrenners can do that. Jeter and Rivera, just signed new contracts and that other old geezer Jorge Posada has been dragged, flailing the proverbial cane, off to DH duties. Don't whip out the Depends or test run a Rascal for these Lions in Winter yet, they all still have plenty to contribute.
Let's put to test Lee's assertion that the Yankees are "old" and look at the pitching staffs. The oldest starter on the Yankees is 34 year-old A.J. Burnett. The oldest on the Phillies is 33 year-old Roy Halliday. A push, really-- if you discount Burnett's pie-throwing routine as just juvenile. When you average out the age of the active rosters of both teams, starters and bullpen, the Phillies come in at a Grandpa Simpson-like 29.6 and the Yankees look like Dora the Explorer at 26.3 years of age. How about that?
Hey Lee, fading mathematical skills is one of the first signs of senility, isn't it?
Even after piling on oldsters like Mark Prior and Freddy Garcia, the average Yankee hurler would still probably be carded by a drunken bartender in a New Orleans dive bar.
Let's see how the rest of the young'uns on Philly stack up against the Ensure-swilling duffers on the Yanks.
The Yankees have a younger, more-rounded outfield than the Phillies. The average age of active-roster Yankee outfielders is 29.0, while the Phillies wheeze in at 30.1. You could almost call Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner supple as opposed to their Philadelphia counterparts.
Further mathematical evidence confirms that even with elder statesmen like Jeter, Posada and Alex Rodriguez lumped in with the infielders, the Yankees are still more youthful than the Phillies averaging an age of 29.0 compared to 30.3.
The Yankees two brightest players, Robinson Cano and Mark Tiexiera, are still both under 30, while Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins roll in at 33, 31 and 35, respectively. Sounds like the AARP will be sending those cards to Citizens Bank Park sooner than later.
The Yankees haven't let Lee's dig at their age bother them. They don't claim to be last year's Tampa Bay Rays.
Even their newly-vibrant, building-rappelling, bar tending GM Brian Cashman discounted Lee, his no-show prom date, by saying," All we care about is being called champions. You can call say anything else you want about us. When you call us old, that's fine."
So while Cliff Lee tries to figure out his ERA, let the facts speak for themselves--the Phillies are older than the Yankees.
Next time you're in Clearwater, just ask a Phillie player for the best Early Bird Special in town. I'm sure they'll know.