There are a few guys in my office who don't work in the sports department but are sports fans. Just about every day, early in the shift, they discuss sports loudly.
These guys are adults, some with wives and kids, and because they are adults, they are prone to talk about "the good old days" when it comes to sports.
When I think of the "good old days," I think of the '70s and '80s. I believe everyone who reads this blog knows that by now. But these guys in the office, when they get nostalgic, revert to one particular time period that I don't think of as "good" or "old."
Most of their discussions center on the late 1990s/early 2000s. Players like Scott Brosius are treated like long ago heroes.
What the hell.
For me, that is far too recent a period to start getting nostalgic about it. Besides, what is there worth rumination? Androstenedione? Jeffrey Maier? Big-headed Barry launching home runs like I'm supposed to care?
Obviously, these guys are younger than me.
But these conversations still throw me off, because when you get to a certain point as an adult, you often forget that other adults are quite a bit older or younger than you. This isn't like when you were kids and you kept track of that stuff daily. Adults are just adults. It isn't until they start talking about when they were young that you figure out, "oh, that guy is ancient" or "oh, I have socks older than her."
So when the Cleveland Indians were on their record-breaking win streak, the Oakland A's 20-game win streak inevitably came up. The guys started talking about the A's streak as if it was in the distant past. Moneyball was eons ago. And I was thinking "hell didn't that just happen? Isn't Billy Beane still in the front office in Oakland?"
That's not old enough to be the good old days.
Except, actually, it is. Well, the "old" part anyway.
To demonstrate, I looked back at the Topps flagship set that was issued the same year as the Oakland A's 20-game winning streak.
The 2002 Topps set contains:
They are the only current active players who were in major league uniforms back in 2002. Everyone else in that set has moved on from playing in the majors.
If you include the prospect cards in that set then you can throw in Joe Mauer, but I didn't consider him or any of the other prospects because they weren't active in the majors yet.
So, 2002 Topps flagship can display only a half dozen active major leaguers. The vast majority of players playing 15 years ago are not playing now. Which, of course, makes sense.
For me, 2002 Topps isn't that long ago. But if you think about it for more than five minutes, it actually was quite awhile ago. My daughter was in preschool in 2002. I didn't have an internet connection in 2002. Bobby Bonds, Larry Doby and Warren Spahn were still alive.
None of the above six players have announced plans to retire after the 2017 season and I can see all of them coming back next year.
That's a good thing.
Because if people start talking about 2003 as the good old days, I'm taking my 1970s binders and heading for a cabin in the woods.