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The Tampa Bay Rays and why I hate young people

Watching (and hating) the Rays makes me feel my age

Still better than Stewart and Hughes
Still better than Stewart and Hughes
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

"I used to be "with it", but then they changed whatever "it" was. Now, what I'm with isn't "it", and what's "It" seems weird and scary to me...and it'll happen to YOU!"

-Abraham Simpson

I swear to you, I am not an old man.

I might be getting up there in years - pretty much all my friends are married now, and some even have children - but I'm not old by any means. My hairline has barely receded at all, and I've plucked out both the gray hairs I've found. I married a smokin' hot Chinese commie barely one year ago. As far as baseball is concerned, I have a young man's curiosity for advanced stats, disdain for the bunt and ambivalence toward anti-PED pontification.

All these things I thought were true...until the Yankees took on the Rays at Tropicana Field. Only then did I realize that my tastes as a baseball fan run about as old as Clint Eastwood.

Get off my lawn, Rays. Seriously, we have a lawn over in the Bronx. It's in the outfield, and it's made of real grass...not this dingy FieldTurf bullshit. Stay off it!

The Rays are supposedly a team for a new generation. They are young. They are athletic. They are energetic and exuberant. And I hated every last one of them. I hated the sideways hats, the douche-bag smirks. Most of all, I hated the bow-and-arrow celebration that has spread from Fernando Rodney to the rest of the team like a particularly virulent strain of bro herpes. I guess the bow and arrow became hip again with those Hunger Games...maybe. I don't know what these kids do nowadays. All I know is that I hate it!

I suppose this is a byproduct of a lifetime spent rooting for the Yankees - a team that has long been derided with words like "soulless" and "corporate". I'm old enough to remember when their late-nineties core first broke into the bigs, and even from day one they seemed like grizzled old men in young bodies:

  • Derek Jeter, who never said or did anything remotely provocative.
  • Bernie Williams, with his Kenny G smooth jazz stylings.
  • Mariano Rivera, who has been a monk since birth.
  • Jorge Posada, who ran like my grandmother.

Even when the Yankees experimented with youthful hipness, during the "Joba Rules" era, it never quite felt right. I was never quite enamored with the tattoos and the fist-pumps, though I did defend him to the pundits who always acted like he invented the fist-pump. It seems fitting that Rivera will most likely be replaced by the decidedly un-hip David Robertson. I, for one, couldn't be happier - you rock those high socks and generic "Sweet Home Alabama" entrance music, David. You're an awesome relief pitcher, and there's nothing even remotely cool about you. You're a Yankee.

It would be easier for me to embrace my Grumpy Old Man-ness if it weren't for the fact that I know I'm becoming every sports writer I've ever hated. I mean, I'm in the middle of a damn "these kids are insulting the game" article. I'm Mike freakin' Lupica over here! Oh well, it seems there is nothing left to do but accept the passage of time, hate on the Rays, and try to book a spot on "The Sports Reporters." Such is the cycle of life. Sunrise, sunset...

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