While Randy Johnson basks in the afterglow of career win No. 300, the only pitcher in the majors older than the Big Unit heads to the mound in Dodger Stadium this evening in pursuit of career win No. 251.
No small feat, either, for Philadelphia's Jamie Moyer, 46, who appears close to getting back on track after a miserable beginning to the season, pitching reasonably well in his past three starts (1-2, 4.00 ERA).
And with the streaking Phillies reeling off a seven-game winning streak and opening up a four-game NL East lead over the New York Mets, there isn't quite the sense of urgency that there was earlier when it seemed as if the roof were caving in on the soft-tossing left-hander.
You don't pitch this long in the majors, though, without developing a philosophical side. And while he's confident that the wreckage of his first seven starts (8.15 ERA) is behind him, Moyer says he never reached panic time.
"It's happened to me before in my career and it's probably happened to everyone on the field," Moyer says. "Obviously, you want to minimize the struggles. For some, it's knocked them out of the game. For some, it's been a character-builder.
"You struggle for a reason. Sometimes it's unknown."
Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee has at least an idea as to why the struggles.
"Jamie likes to tinker a lot," Dubee says, smiling. "Some of the tinkering led to difficulties with his arm angle and with his arm slot.
"But (tinkering) is probably why Jamie Moyer has been around for 23 years. He's always looking for some kind of edge."
He also spent a lot of time looking at an unusual career souvenir at home in Bradenton, Fla., over the winter.
Remember those television shots and photos of Moyer carrying the dug-up pitching rubber around like a bagged hunting trophy in the immediate aftermath of the Phillies' World Series triumph last October?
Well, the pitching rubber -- which measures 18 inches long and some four-to-six inches deep -- is displayed on a shelf in the bedroom of he and wife Karen at home.
"It's pretty cool," he says. "I have it in the bedroom so I can look at it when I go to sleep and again when I wake up in the morning. It brings back a lot of good memories."
He has a second pitching rubber, dug up after his Seattle Mariners tied a major-league record with their 116th regular season victory back in 2001, on display at the house the family still owns in Seattle.
Likes: Saturday afternoon games. ... The days when pitchers were men and, doggone it, stayed on the mound -- like this old game from Monroe, Mich., in 1968. ... The opening sketch from Conan O'Brien's first Tonight Show on Monday, was classic. He "realized" he forgot to move from New York to Los Angeles, and when he couldn't catch a cab outside of his New York office building, he started running and ran all the way west to Los Angeles. Very funny. Letterman is still where it's at, though. ... New album from Jimmy Buffett on the way this fall, Buffet Hotel. That's always good news. ...
Dislikes: One day very soon, the Yankees are going to figure out a way to install each of their exalted players inside of a personalized, portable, plastic bubble so that they can move about without ever having to suffer the indignity of coming into contact with common, everyday street trash like you ... and the fans who actually, uh, support them. The latest evidence.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Thirteen's my lucky number
"To you it means stay inside
"Black cat done crossed my path
"No reason to run and hide
"You're looking through a cracked mirror
"No one really knows the reason why
"Your enemies are gettin' nearer
"Gonna hang down your head and cry"
-- Social Distortion, Bad Luck