No Country for Old School
You get to a certain age and you begin to have the same recurring delayed reaction to talking about the “old days” that’s a little akin to a hangover. It felt good at the time; but now you’re wondering if you’re overdoing the walks down memory lane. The world is changing and in most cases the heirs apparent don’t want to hear about the old days.
Merlin Olsen died last Thursday. When I was driving to the airport on Friday, Mike and Mike closed out their show by reflecting on his career. The observation was made that, back in the day, defenses were known by nicknames: The Steel Curtain, The No Name Defense, The Purple People Eaters. Olsen was part of the Fearsome Foursome along with Deacon Jones, Rosey Grier, and Lamar Lundy.
For me, growing up as a kid in St. Paul, MN, it was the Purple People Eaters – Carl Eller, Alan Page, Jim Marshall and Gary Larsen. It was noted on Mike and Mike that you don’t see much of this anymore due to free agency. I understand it. It’s good for the players. But it has changed the character of the teams. With an ever changing roster, you just don’t have guys playing together for any length of time, and the identity of the “team” becomes flimsier and flimsier.
I am still subject to violent mood swings based on the performance of the Minnesota Vikings in the post season – but it’s not the same as when I was growing up, I was far more attached then, possibly because the players were far more constant.
When it comes to baseball, my NL team is the St. Louis Cardinals and my AL team is the Minnesota Twins.
Free agency has kept those revolving doors at the Metrodome spinning. Being a small market team, the Twins can’t keep a good player who follows a spectacular season with spectacular post-season play. Frank Viola, Johan Santana, Torii Hunter, and others have departed the Twin Cities for well-deserved pay increases.
Today ESPN was reporting on a rumor that the Phillies were shopping a trade for Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals. The news was a little akin to eating bad scallops. Pujols is arguably “the” most beloved active professional baseball player. The Phillies have denied that they have been in trade talks with the Cards. I hope this is true. Furthermore, I hope the Cards never trade Pujols. Were the Cards to lose Albert, this baseball season will hold a little less joy for me.