Dodgers Toughest Opponent - the Clock

Tempus fugit. Time flies. The Dodgers' toughest opponent in 2007 is none other than the clock. A full 60 per cent of the Dodgers likely 25 man opening day roster will be 30 or older. An old team. More than 25 per cent of the roster will be over 35 years of age. By the baseball clock, really old.

Tempus fugit. Time flies. The Dodgers' toughest opponent in 2007 is none other than the clock. A full 60 per cent of the Dodgers likely 25 man opening day roster will be 30 or older. An old team. More than 25 per cent of the roster will be over 35 years of age. By the baseball clock, really old. Jeff Kent, who will fully 39 years old on opening day, is NOT the oldest Dodger or even the oldest starter. That dubious distinction goes to newcomer but oldtimer Luis Gonzalez, who is six months older than Kent and will be fully forty years old on September 3, just when the stretch drive begins to heat up.

Both Kent and Gonzalez are being counted on to fill key roles in the middle of the Dodgers lineup, two geezers at 39 and 40 in the stretch drive. Hardly likely to beat out any infield grounders. Less likely to beat out double play throws to first. Las Vegas bookmakers are probably not even going to quote odds both will be able to make lineup.

Should the Dodgers and Grady Little worry about pacing the play of these two oldsters? Yup. Will they have a compensatory program or plan? We shall see.

The Dodgers' relative newcomer at closer, Mr. Saito, is new to American baseball, but he is not new to planet earth. Saito turns 37 years old on February 14. No spring chicken he. Is this something to worry about? Assuredly. And on and on it goes.

Here are the ages the players will be before or during the season:
Elmer Dessens - 36.
Mark Hendrickson -33.
Derrick Lowe - 34.
Jason Schmidt - 34.
Brett Tomko - 34.
Randy Wolf - 30.
Mike Lieberthal - 35.
Nomar Garciaparra - 34.
Ramon Martinez - 35.
Olmedo Saenz- 36.
Marlon Anderson - 33.
Juan Pierre - 30.


The Dodgers better make sure they have their health insurance and Lloyds of London performance insurance premiums paid up. Now you see why the team invested in the health and fitness guy from the Giants.

Can over the counter vitamin pills of the legal variety keep the above guys in playing shape? Hmmm. Should we invest in horse ligament? It would be wise.

We have waxed frequently at the realistic chances of Mr. James Loney getting past the biases in favor of age and against youth in various places amongst the Dodgers leadership and actually into the playing lineup.

The more we contemplate the vicissitudes of what age really does to the lineup, the more we are encouraged that Mr. Loney will play almost as much as we want and probably more than the Dodgers braintrust are likely to feel comfortable with.

Quick quiz. Is speed important in baseball, particularly winning baseball? The answer is yes. Question two, does speed diminish after 30? Maybe not always, but certainly usually. How many sub-four minute millers over 30 can you think of? There are NONE.

If it isn't an axiom in baseball that older pitchers pitch fewer innings, go less deep into the game, it ought to be. It thus follows the middle men are used more often and the bullpens become more stressed. Three of the five projected starters - Schmidt, Lowe and Wolf - are over 30.

The middle men are even older. And the closer is the oldest pitcher of all. Is this good? Not usually. Is it worrisome? Again it ought to be.

A team placing so much reliance on a team this old is a team playing with its fingers crossed, a team hoping to beat the statistical injury odds, a team praying to beat the baseball record book.

Next question? With the exception of now illegal substances, how many older hitters hit MORE homers than when they were in their prime. Darned few. Now the Dodgers who were near or at the bottom of the power lists last year are now a year older and the only slugger they added is one of diminishing numbers and the team's OLDEST player.

Going on 68 this year, may we tell you something - older is NOT better.

If you are a bible believer, as we are, we are assured of a new body in the next kingdom. We are promised no more illness, no more sorrow, no ailments.

The kicker is, this blessed state does not come until the next world. Somebody ought to tell the Dodgers braintrust this promise does NOT come for the 2007 season.