YOUTH IS IN THE
EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
The San Francisco Giants are deep into spring training in
Scottsdale, Arizona, and there were two aging veterans attempting a
comeback: Jimmy Rollins, a 38 year old former MVP of the National
Let me explain. Although born and raised in San
Francisco and a lifelong Giants fan, I've never been to spring training.
So when my 26 year old son suggested a trip with three of his best friends
and their fathers, I was all in.
It was the week before last, and it just so happened
that Friday night was St. Patrick's Day. So while Jimmy Rollins tried to
make the Giants as an aging veteran, I tried to keep up with four 26 year
olds in the wild Scottsdale spring training bar scene. Retirement was not
an option for Jimmy, or for me.
We arrived on Thursday night and I wisely warmed up the old liver with a
couple of beers at our Airbnb, never venturing out the door. When the boys
got an Uber and left at 11:00 for the bars, the fathers, including me,
went to bed, as fathers should.
The next night was a different story. It was time to make the
team, to show those young whippersnappers I still had it. Besides, it was
St. Paddy's Day, and my Irish blood (all 25% of it) was in celebratory
mode. Combine that with spring training, which is all about hope and
dreams, and you've got a recipe for disaster. I mean hope.
First up was the 6 p.m. game between the Giants and the
Colorado Rockies. The sellout crowd was a little listless, but things
picked up when I reached for a foul ball and accidentally spilled my beer
on a five year old and her mother in the row below me.
The 26 year olds were not impressed with me at that point,
but the night was still young, even though I wasn't. I ordered another
beer as I apologized profusely to the little girl who no longer liked
By the sixth inning, the old bones were starting to loosen
up. Jimmy Rollins made a nice play at shortstop, and I got even more
inspired. "Let's hit the bars, boys!" I shouted as everyone
eagerly exited from watching the most boring exhibition game imaginable.
"Who's doing shots?" asked one of the 26 year olds
as we walked into an absolutely packed Irish bar in downtown Scottsdale.
Since I was an aging veteran making an illustrious comeback,
I naturally slammed down a shot of vodka, just like I occasionally did
when I was in my prime, about 35 years ago. When they offered another,
especially since I was paying (that's why fathers get invited), I slammed
that one down, too.
After the third shot, my comeback was in full swing. That
sad, washed up veteran who spills beer on five year olds was nowhere to be
found. I was back, baby, and I was going to make the team.
"I'M ON FIRE!" I shouted about 20 times.
I was talking with anyone and everyone, all of whom were (in
my mind) clearly captivated with my incredibly interesting and witty
comments. I was cracking doubles and triples all over the ballpark, and I
was making diving catches left and right. I felt 26 again. No way I was
At 11:30, the other three fathers announced they were going
home. See ya, old men. I wasn't about to call it quits. When one of the 26
year olds suggested going to Whiskey Row, another bar a few blocks away, I
had only one thing to say: "LET'S GOOOOOO!"
When we got to Whiskey Row, I planted myself at the bar and
had, unbeknownst to me, my final shot of the night. My comeback was a
smashing success. As the four 26 year olds and I joined in a rousing
rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," it was clear I had
made the team.
That's pretty much the last thing I remember.
"I'm never drinking shots again," I announced to my
son the next morning as I nursed a hangover that would last about four
days. "I am officially declaring my retirement from the bar scene. My
comeback is over."
"We'll miss you, Pops," he replied, looking fresh
as a daisy. "But if it makes you feel better, Jimmy Rollins is
batting .115. He probably won't make it, either."
I guess it's true. Nothing lasts forever.