Excuses, excuses

By Joel Thurtell

Oh, come on!

The Detroit Tigers defeat the New York Yankees in the first two games of the American League Championship Series, and The New York Times puts the lamest of excuses on Page One:

Gray Pinstripes: With Jeter Out, Time’s Toll Rises.

The poor Yanks.

They’re just a bit too creaky, aging and downright OLD to play Detroit on equal terms.

Here’s the Times’ thesis:

It is the one foe every athlete faces, but no athlete can beat. Each knows that the end will come, that age is undefeated in the annals of sports. The trick is to make summer last as long as possible, to put off reality for another day.

The Yankees’ best players have done this better than most, with another World Series title at stake this month. Yet bit by bit, and in devastating fashion, the team’s aging stars are falling. Derek Jeter, the centerpiece for the last 17 years, is the latest victim, following Mariano Rivera and the since-recovered Andy Pettite. Jorge Posada retired after last season, and Alex Rodriguez is mired in a deep slump.

Dotards of the Bronx.

Break out the canes and wheelchairs.

Maybe the Yanks should play Special Olympics.

It’s silly and self-serving, this claim that New York’s team can’t beat Detroit because the Yanks are too busy filling out their AARP apps.

Silly, because premature — what if the Yankees turn around and beat the Tigers?

Gray Pinstripes Do It Again: Tigers Fall to Aging Wrecks

The Times milks this absurd argument for all it’s worth, even mentioning the age of Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

Let’s start this demo derby with Girardi’s age: 48.

If the manager’s age were relevant to the discussion of why the Tigers beat the Yankees two in a row, then the age of Detroit manager Jim Leyland would matter (which it doesn’t).

Leyland is 67.

Let’s take the Times’ other examples.

Alex Rodriguez is mired in a deep slump.

What does a slump have to do with age? Rodriguez will come out of his slump, and nobody will be talking age.

Jorge Posada retired after last season.

Right, Posada retired and presumably was replaced with a younger player. Toss that line out.

…the since-recovered Andy Pettite.

The guy got better! You can’t put a guy who got better in your argument.

Out goes Pettite.

What about Mariano Rivera? Well, he’s 42 years old and was playing fine till he injured his anterior cruciate ligament last spring.

Don’t tell me ACL injuries are age-related. My son tore his ACL. He was 18.

My dog, Peppermint Patti tore the ACL on first her right (age 5) and later her left (age 6) hind legs.

As for Derek Jeter, anyone can break an ankle.

Fess up, New York: Detroit played better ball!

Drop me a line at joelthurtell(at)gmail.com


About Joel

Retired 2007 after 23 years as a Detroit Free Press reporter. Thirty years in the news biz. Trained as a historian, never had a Journalism class. At Free Press, wrote many articles about lakes, streams and boats. Wrote more than 80 major stories about the Rouge River. In June 2005 with Free Press photographer Patricia Beck paddled a canoe 27 miles up the Rouge River through Metro Detroit. May be the farthest anyone has canoed up the Rouge, though pioneers used it as a road. Our book, UP THE ROUGE! about the adventure is to be published by Wayne State University Press next year. I'm writing a second book about the Rouge, trying to find out why with billions spent on cleanup, so many American rivers are not fit for humans to touch. DIRTIEST RIVERS will arrive about the time UP THE ROUGE! comes out. I earned a B.A. in history and German at Kalamazoo, graduating in 1967. In 1968, I earned an M.A. in history at the University of Michigan. In 1970, I passed all exams for the doctorate in Latin American history, but have not quite gotten around to finishing my dissertation. I lived in Mexico for a year doing research on a Ford Foundation fellowship. I was a Peace Corps volunteer supervising school and well construction in Togo, West Africa 1972-74. I was a reporter at the South Bend Tribune and editor of the Berrien Springs Journal Era before joining the Free Press in 1984. I've written four novels, four kids' books and in addition to the two Rouge books am completing a journalism text called SHOESTRING REPORTER: A MANIFESTO FOR SAVING JOURNALISM OR HOW I GOT TO BE A BIG CITY REPORTER WITHOUT GOING TO J SCHOOL AND HOW YOU CAN DO IT TOO!
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