We know already that the 2017 baseball season will be different, because we know what we’re missing. Gone are the soothing soundtrack of Vin Scully and the stylish slugging of David Ortiz. The persistent misery of the Chicago Cubs has gone poof. And we won’t have Ol’ A-Rod to kick around anymore, either.
But fear not. Here are six baseball men who’ve done it all, and still want to stay on the stage. They come from Japan and Ecuador, Canada and the Dominican Republic, California and North Carolina. They are the active leaders in hits, homers, strikeouts, games as an umpire, years in the broadcast booth and years as a major league coach.
They have seen the sport evolve, with home runs and strikeouts continuing to rise. Last season, a record 111 players hit at least 20 homers, while pitchers struck out 21.1 percent of opposing batters, the highest rate in history. That’s a whole lot of balls soaring over fences or being missed completely. All or nothing, boom or bust.
The folks depicted here – the Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, the Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Jaime Jarrin, the Arizona Diamondbacks coach Dave McKay, the Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols, the Yankees left-hander C.C. Sabathia and the umpire Joe West — share an abiding love of the game, even as it changes. Serving it at the highest level continues to invigorate them.
“We’re the custodians of the game,” West said, speaking for all who work within it. “This game isn’t ours, it’s America’s game — and we’re just here to protect it.”
Read more at The New York Times.