Old man autumn

I have never given gobs of time to the nature versus nurture debate, but the Flyers and the Phillies have rendered me ponderous. My cynicism can prove disastrous when I discuss sports, and I blame it on the local players and their penchant for sadism. Philadelphia’s teams are to my sanity what air is to a sliced apple, instant alteration. I see them as cruel examples of life’s ability to give and take with impunity.

However, I am going to stop knocking oldtimers, as my bones will one day be as creaky as theirs courtesy of my throwing my arms in disgust and needing long walks to shake off defeats. (Note: I hate the Blackhawks, I hate the Blackhawks.) Jaromir Jagr has shown that along with possessing one of the worst hairstyles in sports history, he owns a resilient body. He is defying me and a greater source of vitriol, Father Time. I hope the Czech keeps age in check until the middle of next year, as he will finally be able to look forward to his days of prunes and Depends with joy instead of consternation.

He will not don a uniform until late winter, but Jim Thome provides another example of an older man choosing autumn to prove his resolve. The Phillies have never won my ultimate favor and likely never will, but I dig class acts regardless of the shirts they wear. Thome, after all, kept me from witnessing hundreds of Ryan Howard strikeouts by being a great performer from 2003-’05. He whiffs often, too, but something about his personality makes me overlook many of his failures. Just call me the baseball wing of the athletic administration at Penn State University.

I told someone the 41-year-old might hit 15 home runs and drive in 45 runs. In actuality, I would take 15 hits and 45 at-bats. His presence alone will help the squad to shake off the sting of falling nine victories short of the World Series crown and if he proves successful, he might consider taking hacks until the AARP comes calling at age 50. Stranger things, dear friends, stranger things.


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