You might remember, from a couple of years ago, when Sports Illustrated baseball guru Tom Verducci played for five days with the Toronto Blue Jays during spring training. It was a clever idea, and well-written, as was his piece this year about serving as an umpire. But, like an athlete who has been forced to retire from the game but just can't let it go, Verducci isn't done: He played for the Blue Jays in the Hall of Fame game on Monday. And you can't really argue that it's another big journalistic experiment; all he got out of it was a Web piece.
We understand Verducci's instinct; playing baseball was one of the most pleasurable things we've ever done, and we miss it, pretty much every day. But after a while, it really does just become a vanity project; yes, yes, Tom, we understand that you are in better shape than just about everybody else who covers baseball. But it might be time to let it go. To quote On The Show:
Josh Lyman in the West Wing (Brad Whitford's character) had a terrific line, saying "There comes a time in every man's life when he realizes he won't be playing professional baseball." That time in your life is now. You're a lot like that weird guy in Happy Gilmore following around Shooter McGavin, a man would do anything to be closer to the sport. It's beneath you, and it's embarrassing. Journalist's forays have often yielded disastrous, though hilarious, results, and before you know it, your wife is going to have the ass because you're spending all your time in the batting cages getting ready for your next "story", in the utterly insane notion that some team, somewhere, will actually give you a shot. Madness, I tell you.
We understand the notion; believe us, Tom, we do. But it's probably time to move on now. Every athlete scoffs that all sports reporters are just frustrated athletes. You're not doing much to prove them wrong. We know it hurts. We know. But time to put the spikes away.