- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

These Were Not Prime Time Players

I may have accidentally made sense eight months ago [1]:

Don't know if it's still conventional wisdom in baseball circles to define a player's prime as more or less the ages of 28-32. Since conventional wisdom never dies, probably. But if that's the prime — when you're old enough to know better and young enough to successfully implement what you know — we lack prime time on our team…

Other than Carlos Beltran Superstar, 30 as of April 24, nobody among frontline Mets is in his prime by traditional standards. But when were these traditional standards set? Probably when average life expectancy, to say nothing of typical career endurance, was a whole lot lighter. Yet this mildly freakish two young/one prime/three kinda old/one rather old/one practically my age demography has been nagging at me a bit as the wind chill turns these venerable bones cranky.

Selective cutting and pasting omits my February rationalization that everything was going to be fine, that the young Reyes and Wright along with the old Lo Duca, Delgado, Valentin, Alou and Green would mesh wonderfully with Beltran and we'd all be figuratively making love to Betty Grable on the White House lawn [2] by Christmas.

To be honest, I'd forgotten this momentary age-related anxiety until after the season was prematurely over and I looked around and thought, man, almost everybody on this team was either too old or too young. Or, more accurately, too injury-prone or too immature. Most of those added on both ends of the age spectrum throughout the campaign fell into those categories as well.

Obviously vintage isn't everything. David Wright is extraordinarily developmentally advanced (except maybe in the field) while Moises Alou apparently stole the soul of a much younger man in September. Nobody was checking birth certificates in Philadelphia, but now that I'm looking at their roster [3], they sure do have an everyday nucleus that seems a little more geared to peaking. Just about every key player was between 26 and 31 this year.

As I've heard myself say to myself many times since Sunday, I don't know, I just don't know. But maybe it was more of a warning sign than could have been appreciated last winter when merely being the Mets seemed license to print playoff tickets well in advance of Opening Day.