Archive for Saturday, October 25, 2008

Veteran Moyer takes mound tonight

October 25, 2008

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— The 100th anniversary of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" was Friday. No truth to the tale that Jamie Moyer was the first to sing it.

In a World Series full of juicy subplots, perhaps the most intriguing of all is about to play out: Can a 45-year-old man with a heater that rarely cracks 85 mph stop a lineup stacked with brash boppers?

Game 3 is tonight, weather permitting, when the ol' left-hander and the Phillies face the Tampa Bay Rays with the teams tied at a game apiece. Steve Carlton will throw out the first ball - Moyer won his major-league debut in 1986 by outpitching the future Hall of Famer.

Moyer gets his chance to finally pitch in a World Series, fans of a certain generation get an opportunity to root for one of their own.

"The age thing, it's not an issue, but it's been around for a while with me and I think I'm kind of over it, because I've been around a lot of younger players," Moyer said during Friday's off-day. "Some kids haven't even been born yet when I was in the major leagues."

"It's kind of weird to think about it," he said. "But back a few years ago when I played in Texas, I had two teammates, Nolan Ryan and Charlie Hough, that were in their 40s, and I really looked up to them and respected who they were and what they did in their careers. And now I've kind of come full circle with it."

Moyer will become the second-oldest player to appear in a Series. Jack Quinn was 47 when he pitched for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1930.

A month shy of his 46th birthday and coming off two losses in the NL playoffs, Moyer could become the oldest pitcher to win a postseason game.

"He's obviously extremely mature," teammate Chase Utley said, smiling. "It's fun to play behind him."

That is, if the rain holds off. The forecast called for showers into the night. When the Rays and Phillies finished batting practice, the grounds crew rolled out the tarp to protect the field before the first Series game at Citizens Bank Park.

Matt Garza, the MVP of the AL championship series, was set to start for Tampa Bay. At 24, he said he couldn't imagine pitching two more decades.

"At 45, I want to be watching my son play," Garza said. "He's doing it with will and guts. Pitching at 45 is amazing. That's a feat. It's undeniably amazing."

This year, Moyer went a team-leading 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA. And he's not ready to leave yet.

"I love the challenge. I enjoy the challenge," he said. "I haven't lost that desire."

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