One of the worst things about getting older is watching age wear down everyone else's edges, and wondering if the same thing is happening to you. That radical you knew is now a lawyer who hems and haws a lot about working inside the system, that one guy in the band you liked does corporate training seminars, and your favorite ballplayer sits on a soundstage in Connecticut braying at some haircut's lame puns and drinking gin out of a coffee cup.
Happily, Albert Belle is still Albert Belle, and, going by a recent interview with Bugs & Cranks, will probably remain Albert Belle forever. He's still just as pissed off over being robbed of the 1995 MVP award as you'd hope, just as convinced that he was the most productive hitter of his generation, and just as disdainful of Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos. It's this bit, though—in which he improves on the usual retired-ballplayer bluster by not even bothering to make a ritual show of humility—that really shows he's still got it:
If you played today, what kind of numbers would you put up?
I feel like I would do the same as I did or probably better. I notice nowadays, pitchers are not as intimidating as back in my day when you're looking out on the mound and you might see a Roger Clemens or Randy Johnson or Nolan Ryan and a lot of other guys who were really intimidating. Nobody who pitches today would intimidate me.
Heading into the 2014 season, what player reminds you most of yourself on the field?
I rarely get to watch many baseball games, I have the MLB package and I watch a few innings here and there, but I don't really get to watch a whole game from start to finish, but you've got to love watching Miguel Cabrera.
He finishes off by randomly mocking Justin Verlander and bragging about that time he launched Fernando Viña into orbit while breaking up a double play, which to be fair really was pretty cool. If there's any justice, someone will make him a manager.