Old is a relative term, and growing old is a relative experience. Nevertheless, there are certain mile markers for this baseball fan that indicate I have accumulated some wear on the tires.
First, it was being older than most of the players I root for.
Next, it was bringing my son to a baseball game.
Now it’s watching one of the game’s legends retire at age 40 and realizing that I’ve watched his entire career as an adult.
I may feel like a kid again when I am at the Yard, but I am not in fact a kid. Thanks, Derek Jeter, for reminding me of that reality.
Beyond the effects of the actual years themselves, Jeter and the Yankees have aged me with their performance against the Orioles during his career. Jeter debuted with New York under Buck Showalter while I was a college student. In New Jersey. Surrounded by Yankees fans. The 1996 season alone took years off my life.
Jeter has had more starts, plate appearances and hits against the Orioles than any other opponent. He has scored more runs, hit more doubles and triples, tallied more RBI, taken more walks and totaled more bases. He has more sac flies and intentional walks.
Meanwhile, Jeter has hit more home runs at Camden Yards, 15, than any other road park. Fenway is currently a close second at 14.
As for the Yankees, they have won four World Series during Jeter’s career, much of which coincided with the Orioles’ 14-year run of losing seasons. They have lost only one season series to the O’s, in 1997, and split two others, in 2007 and 2012. The rest has been the type of stuff that produces frown lines and gray hair.
Things are different so far in this, Jeter’s final season. He is batting .186 against the Orioles with no home runs and two RBIs. His .205 on-base percentage against the O’s in 11 games is his fourth-worst versus any opponent this year. He has grounded into more double plays against the Birds than any other team. He has scored only two runs.
As for the Yankees, they are 3-8 against the Orioles after this week’s series in Baltimore. They are eight games back in the American League East and four games back in the wild card.
Adam Jones’ thrilling eighth inning home run Wednesday night was enough to have me acting like a kid again. I instinctually leapt from my bed and pumped my fists. Said Jones afterward of the Yankees’ prior dominance, “I just know the history of the last few years and we’re better than we used to be.”
It’s enough to make a guy feel reborn.
Matthew Taylor blogs about the Orioles at Roar from 34. Follow him on Twitter: @RoarFrom34. His ruminations about the Birds appear as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.