Albert Pujols, Chris Paul latest to prove old guys rule

There was a fabulous second tucked away Friday evening at Nationals Park in Washington. The Dodgers have been trailing the Nats, 3-1, within the prime of the seventh inning, however the defending champs had a person on third, one out, and 23-year-old Gavin Lux due up. But Lux was known as again to the dugout.

Albert Pujols pinch-hit for him. Pujols was practically 18 years old on the day Lux was born. He is 41 now. He is the oldest participant in MLB. He walked to the plate along with his old-man’s gait. He labored the rely to 2-2. And then he swung, and hit a dribbler to third. The ball ate up Starlin Castro at third. Pujols had an infield hit and drove in a run.

If it felt prefer it took without end for the play to develop … properly it did. There was an iso digital camera on Pujols as he “ran” to first. It was laborious. It was superb. It famously took Mickey Mantle all of three.1 seconds to make it from residence to first in his prime. It took 41-year-old Albert Pujols 4.85 seconds to cowl the identical floor.

The Dodgers, impressed, scored eight extra instances that inning, gained the sport 10-5.

And it was simply the latest instance of how the sports activities yr 2021 has grow to be an Ode to the Olde. Every few weeks, it appears, somebody is defying Father Time and exhibiting the youngsters that there’s nonetheless life but within the old bear/tiger/lion.

Tom Brady began all of this, in fact. Brady is likely one of the few professional athletes left that Albert Pujols may use a courtesy title with; Mr. Brady is a month shy of 44, and he was 43 in February when he gained his seventh Super Bowl. It doesn’t matter that he seems to be 33, or that he doesn’t at all times play like he’s 23. With a title at stake, he outplayed his inheritor obvious as GOAT — Patrick Mahomes, 18 years his junior — and received the lady in the long run, too (although he already had her).

Tom Brady
Tom Brady
Getty Images

Phil Mickelson is 51. Way again when he was 50, in May, he won the PGA Championship, changing into the oldest man to ever win a significant. Now, there are only some 50-year-olds who appear like Lefty — fact is, if 30-year-old Lefty and 40-year-old Lefty regarded extra like 50-year-old Lefty, his trophy case may be much more crowded than it’s — however regardless of.

He beat Brooks Koepka by two pictures. Mickelson gained his first PGA Tour occasion, the Telecom Open in Tucson, Ariz., as an beginner on Jan. 13, 1991. Koepka turned 256 days old that afternoon.

Old guys rule.

Roger Federer, at 39, continues to be grinding away at Centre Court, Wimbledon, and whereas he won’t be the marvel he was at 29, or at 19, as he seeks Grand Slam No. 21, it certain is extra enjoyable watching him now. It is why we are able to dream that Serena Williams could make another run at a twenty fourth Slam on the Open this September, weeks earlier than she turns 40.

Because Old Gals rule, too: simply ask Syosset’s personal Sue Bird, a WNBA All-Star at 40, who will attempt to win a fifth Olympic gold medal in Tokyo in a number of weeks.

Chris Paul is the latest to seize the torch. He’s solely 36, however in NBA years there’s no telling how old that’s, particularly for some extent guard, particularly for as many miles as he’s placed on his tires. But when he certified for his first NBA Finals final week there wasn’t a soul wherever who appeared to object — properly, aside from possibly Patrick Beverley.

It doesn’t matter that the Suns have skipped right here on pixie mud, drawing a banged-up Lakers crew, a banged-up Nuggets crew and a banged-up Clippers crew on their manner to the Finals … the place they’ll face both the banged-up Hawks or the banged-up Bucks. Paul would be the favourite.

And it’s humorous — LeBron James is definitely 4 months older than Paul and gained a yr in the past. But LeBron belongs in his personal bodily class. Even when he’s old, it’ll be arduous to think about him as old.

It’s why the Islanders shedding was so unhappy, as a result of 38-year-old Andy Greene was nonetheless hammering of us, and along with his playoff beard you would possibly swear the primary man he ever drove into the boards was Boom Boom Geoffrion. Because even in hockey les vieux règnent.

Old guys rule.

Vac’s Whacks

I can’t be the one one who finds it scrumptious that one of many all-time basketball coach-killers, Jason Kidd, is now going to attempt to work with Luka Doncic in Dallas, who has already gotten a head begin on his personal assortment of pelts. This can be enjoyable to watch.


If we didn’t already know baseball was a merciless sport, watching what it’s finished to Clint Frazier the previous few years has been an undesirable and unrelenting reminder.


I actually wished to like “Lansky,” the brand new film. Oh, properly. What I’ll say is that this: Harvey Keitel is nice, and is now in all probability the perfect Lansky, leapfrogging Richard Dreyfuss and Ben Kingsley (will want a ruling on if Lee Strasberg is eligible for this class).


July 4 will at all times have one highly effective reminiscence for me: a protracted day and longer evening in 1985 at Breezy Point, then a visit residence to Long Island accompanied, amazingly, by the fifteenth by way of nineteenth innings of Mets 6, Braves 3 on the radio. Ron Darling pitched the nineteenth for the win and instructed Jay Horwitz not too long ago: “When we got back to the hotel, there was tomorrow’s paper at my door. That’s never a good sign.”

Whack Back at Vac

Richard Siegelman: Now that Jacob deGrom has “allowed” his ERA to rise a troubling 0.41 (from 0.54 to 0.69 to 0.95), I need to insist he restrict any future rise to a most of 0.16 — in order to make sure to break Bob Gibson’s report 1.12.

Vac: To see deGrom after he turns in a human inning, as he did the other night in Atlanta, is to be reminded simply how unimaginable this path (and Gibson’s in ’68) is to keep.


Mike Tate: Why is it when an NBA coach wages a profitable problem, the crew doesn’t get the advantage of receiving one other problem? It appears to me the crew that wages a profitable problem is penalized for accurately stating an error made by sport officers.

Vac: Of all the varied issues with replay, this can be the smallest — and but probably the most egregious. The coach ought to completely get one other problem after that.


@bg23on28: Dad took me to the Coliseum the week after the opening for Nets-Colonels. Lower stage had not been completed. Saw Moses Malone’s first professional sport with the Utah Stars. Last time there was to see Bruce. The place had a great run.

@MikeVacc: I’ve now been there for the final Nets sport (ABA & NBA preseason), final Islanders video games (2015 and 2021) and final Billy Joel live performance (2015). I’m formally prepared to say goodbye for good.


Michael Bruno: If I’m Hal Steinbrenner, it’s time to begin over. No want to panic. But I might let Brian Cashman go now and begin the GM search. The GM ought to decide the coach and roster for subsequent season. While Cashman has finished a great job over time, the crew is sluggish, very inconsistent and simply boring.

Vac: Proof that it’s OK to consider it’s time for a brand new GM with out going out of your manner to disparage what has been a really profitable tenure. Civility lives!

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