Have you noticed how young center fielders are these days?
Gary Cohen did.
Cohen, the outstanding television voice of the Mets, asked me the other day who's the oldest regular center fielder in the game, now that Carlos Beltran and Torii Hunter have become right fielders.
So I looked it up.
And the answer is? It depends on who you consider a regular, but in any case, there's no one older than 33.
The oldest is either Marlon Byrd of the Cubs, who is 33 (and will turn 34 on Aug. 30), or Aaron Rowand of the Giants, who will turn 34 one day earlier.
Rowand has played the most games in center field for the Giants so far, but Andres Torres is the regular when he's healthy. That's OK, because Torres is also 33 (but a few months younger than Byrd or Rowand).
No other regular center fielder in the game is 33. Or even 32.
In fact, 21 of the 30 teams feature a center fielder who hasn't turned 30, and 10 have a center fielder who is 25 or younger. And one or two of the teams with a 30-plus center fielder are already looking for someone better.
You might say that it figures, because center fielders need speed. But over the last 10 years, 35 center fielders who were past their 34th birthday played at least 100 games in center field in the big leagues.
Steve Finley played every game in 2004, at age 39, and played 139 games two years later, at age 41.
It can be done, but not this year.
Now center field belongs to the young.