Vizquel continues to defy odds, but don't expect him to outlast Moyer
At 44, Omar Vizquel wins Blue Jays' backup shortstop job and is on deck to become first middle infielder that old since the Boston Braves' Johnny Evers in 1929. ...
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Like sunflower seeds in the dugout, he just won't go away. And Omar Vizquel is almost as old.
"Surprised?" a philosophical Vizquel mused as we chatted under the hot Florida sun Thursday morning about his making the Blue Jays' team as Yunel Escobar's backup. "No, I'm not surprised."
And why would he be?
While Jamie Moyer is stealing the hearts of geezers everywhere at 49, the fact that Vizquel, at 44, is still playing quality shortstop is another victory for the old-timers.
"When I came here, I was prepared," Vizquel said. "I put myself in position to compete for a spot on the team. And everything came out according to plan."
His plan, maybe.
Through 15 spring games, Vizquel, who turns 45 on April 24, is batting .433. The man with 11 Gold Gloves reported to camp here last month on a minor-league deal and, when he makes his first appearance in the regular season, will become the first middle infielder who is 44 or older since Johnny Evers in 1929, according to BaseballReference.com
"One thing about Omar that was so refreshing is, even at his experience and elite level, he loves to play this game," manager John Farrell says. "He came in on a minor-league contract, which is telling you he's readily willing to compete for a major-league job."
And compete he did.
"I showed 'em I can make the plays, swing the bat and run the bases," Vizquel said.
Question now is, who's going to play longer between the two old guys who continue to defy time?
"I think Jamie Moyer is," Vizquel said, chuckling. "I don't think teams are going to want a 49-year-old shortstop."
The two have never been teammates, and Vizquel figures they never will be.
"It would be unfair for one team to have a 49-year-old and a 44-year-old," he said, though he didn't specify which way the unfairness would swing.
Who knows, the way these two are going, perhaps it would be unfair to the OTHER team.
At any rate, Vizquel isn't laying out a goal of playing with Moyer before his career finally finishes.
"Maybe on a softball team sometime," he said, laughing. "But probably not on a major-league team."
Sunblock Day? We're in a Cal Ripken-esque streak of 80 degree days.
Likes: Man, these Blue Jays are young. Katy Perry's The One That Got Away was pumping loudly through the Jays' weight room sound system Thursday morning. ... The way Brett Lawrie busts it down the line even on a routine ground ball to shortstop. ... J.P. Arencibia's charity T-shirt company -- 100 percent of the proceeds go to various charities. Check it out here. ... The Final Four on deck Saturday. ... The grouper tamales at Frenchy's Rockaway Grill on Clearwater Beach. Between those and the fried grouper sandwiches, it's as good as you'll find. ... Gonna miss the Waffle House when spring ends.
Dislikes: Uh oh, predictions for the 2012 season are due, like, now. I'm going to work on them tonight. And it doesn't matter which direction I turn, I'm bound to look like an idiot. Only consolation: Almost every other colleague is going to look like an idiot, too. If any of us could see into the future and know what's going to happen, it would be scary, wouldn't it?
Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"I was dreaming you were my Johnny Cash
"Never one without the other, we made a pact
"Sometimes when I miss you, I put those records on
"Someone said you had your tattoo removed
"Saw you downtown singing the blues
"It's time to face the music, I'm longer your muse
-- Katy Perry, The One That Got Away
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