August 30, 2013 at 2:45 PM
A pitcher-catcher battery for the ages…and yes, the aged
Not everyday will you see a pitcher-catcher battery like the one we’re getting tonight. Henry Blanco turned 42 yeaterday and will catch Taijuan Walker tonight. Walker turned 21 a few weeks ago, making them 20 years and 341 days apart.
I thought that might be tough to beat, so I started plugging around. It didn’t take me too long (20 minutes) to find a battery between a young Alex Fernandez and an old Carlton Fisk starting back in 1990 for the White Sox. By their birthdates, I have them at 21 years and 291 days of age difference. Give or take a day due to my Canadian math. Fisk was 42, Fernandez 20. They teamed together in 1992 and 1993 as well.
So, that beats tonight’s age gap between an old catcher and young pitcher. Of course, with older pitchers — instead of catchers — you might find a bigger age disparity.
Now, there could be others. I don’t have all night to do this. But I figure if it’s been 21 years since something like that happened — pre-dating when Walker was born — it was actually worth a mention. I asked Blanco today whether things have changed in the game since he was in his early 20s.
He felt it had changed in some big ways. Blanco does not — surprise, surprise — engage in Twitter, for instance.
“When we came up, we never used that kind of stuff,” he said. “But right now, you see guys doing all of that stuff. We try to keep them off that a little bit when they come here to the ballpark, just talk about the game. What you’re going to do tonight in the game.
“It was a different story back then,” he added. “Guys today are more into computers and that stuff.”
A big change, he agreed, is that players no longer sit around playing cards in the clubhouse with the fervor they used to a decade or more ago.
“You would talk about the game, talk about situations, different stuff,” he said. “I think that’s one of the biggest changes, iPads, Twitter. But you know, it’s a new era. Hopefully they get their minds more into the game and do the little stuff.”
Blanco wasn’t trying to diss the younger generation. He said the Mariners have a hard-working group of young players and he wasn’t trying to say his older generation was better. Just trying to point out the differences when asked about them.
One other change he’s noticed, from a baseball and front office standpoint, is how quickly younger players today get promoted.
“Before, you had to prepare for every little thing,” he said. “Right now, if you’ve got too much talent down in the minor leagues, a second year after the draft and you’ll just go to the big leagues. I think it’s changed a lot. ”
One of the latest guys to come up from Class AAA is Abraham Almonte, 24, who makes his debut in right field tonight after being added to the roster earlier this afternoon. Almonte was pulled out of a game with Tacoma last night and flew to Houston today.
Taking a quick survery of players who’ve seen Almonte in Tacoma, the thing to watch for is how quick he is. Nick Franklin said Almonte is like lightning out of the box and that he would not be surprised to see him beat out a groundball tonight — especially if the Astros aren’t that familliar with him.