This shirt is eight years older than Xander.
Another Opening Day at Fenway Park is nearly upon us, which also means it's my birthday week (actually, it's my birthday day). In many ways this is a nice congruity, since the beginning of a new baseball season also signifies the start of spring and (hopefully) better New England weather -- but it also calls attention to just how old I'm getting.
How does my first Fenway sojourn of the season remind me that I'm aging faster than cheddar cheese on a bleacher seat in August? Let me count the ways.
1. Most players are young enough to be my kids. I'm 47 today, so this is a relatively new phenomenon. Still, it's downright depressing to think that not only am I no longer a like-aged peer of the guys on the field, but most of them would now be apt to look at me like an old man -- their old man.
I was 21 in 1988 -- old enough to be Will's dad.
2. Nobody playing for the Red Sox is older than me. As long as the Sox had Tim Wakefield, I was safe from this indignity -- since Wake was born exactly eight months before me. Now my closest contemporary on the Boston roster is Koji Uehara, born one day after my eighth birthday (Happy almost-birthday Koji), unless you count the coaching staff. I don't like to count the coaching staff.
3. I've got sneakers and concert t-shirts older than Xander Bogaerts. This one speaks for itself. In fact, I was already out of college and well into my third newspaper job before Bogaerts entered the world in October 1992.
If I was 21, I'd be smiling too.
4. I fill out a uniform -- too much. Ever make fun of the coaches and managers whose big guts droop over the belts of their uniforms? Me too, but not anymore.
5. Who the hell is that guy in right field? Without my glasses, I can't read the names on the backs of uniforms, which means I'm a slave to the JumboTron when it comes to identifying opposing players. I can recognize the Red Sox by their numbers, of course, but now those are starting to get blurry too.
The (not so) Ancient Warrior
6. "Old Man Yaz" was younger than me. This puts things into perspective, doesn't it? Captain Carl Yastrzemski was dragging his creaky bones around the American League at the ancient age of 44 by his last season, or three years younger than I am today.
7. During spring training, the Red Sox played against Yaz's grandson. This one kind of makes my head spin. I mean, I was happy for Yaz and all, but it's still depressing.
Yaz's grandson is playing? Oy vey...
8. When planning out which games I'm going to, I check my kids' schedules. Parents, you know what I'm talking about here. Once the conflicts were house parties; now they are birthday parties.
9. I sometimes turn on the Channel 5 News at 11:23 to catch the scores from Mike Lynch, or reach for the phone to call the Globe hotline. Yeah, I know every MLB box, video highlight, and updated batting average is on my iPhone, but old habits die hard.
My 1985 electronic scoreboard source.
10. I have a tough time staying awake for West Coast games. Or writing blog posts after midnight. Happy birthday to me.