Having spent a little time being both, I feel qualified to say this: Being young is better than being old.
Generally speaking, running is preferable to standing still, energy is better than entitlement and today is better than yesterday. Ripening is better than rotting, playing hard is better than punching a clock and, evidently, running over a catcher is better than running around him.
Also, it should be mentioned, the Rays are better than the Yankees.
We are not simply talking about the standings here. We are talking about the rosters. We are talking about reality. We are talking about Hank Steinbrenner having a rough, rough morning.
It was sometime during last week's games, when the Rays took three out of four from New York, that the notion arose. It began as a small idea, flitting around the eyes like a mosquito, then it grew into this question:
Brand names aside, would you trade the 25-man roster of the Rays for the 25-man roster of the Yankees?
Think of the audacity of the question. Throughout the entire history of history, such a question would have deserved only two answers: One: pointing. Two: laughing. That a person would even think seriously before answering says a great deal about the direction of both franchises.
At this point, the Rays are better.
Now, I don't mean they are a better bargain than the Yankees, although that is certainly true. I don't mean they happen to be ahead in the standings for the time being.
I mean they are better. Younger. Faster. Hungrier. They play the game so much harder that even Steinbrenner-the-sequel, the same guy who recently acted as if the Rays were kids who didn't appreciate their allowance, couldn't keep quiet about the embarrassment. You get the feeling Hanky the Yankee is ready to bowl over a Yankees catcher himself.
In other words, yeah, these Rays ought to finish ahead of these Yankees.
I know, I know. Any moment now, Yankee fans will hit you with their history books. And it is true: The Yankees have a glorious past. On the other hand, so did Constantinople.
At this point, however, watching the Yankees is kind of like watching the Rolling Stones. It's nice to see they can still strut around because everyone loves the oldies, but down deep, you find yourself hoping that no one breaks a hip.
Let's be honest: The emperor is wearing Perry Como's clothes. There were times last week you wondered if the Yankees wouldn't have shown more life if they strapped gloves on a few ATMs and placed them strategically about the field.
This is what you get for $207-million? Man, is this a rough economy or what? Never has yesterday's news come at such prices.
I don't know about you, but I can't wait for Steinbrenner to get loud. Eventually, he's going to have to wonder if this roster was assembled in a darkroom. Eventually, he's going to have to look at his payroll and ask for change. Also, his roster.
Eventually, he's going to have to walk into his front office and ask: So, how do these teams stack up?
This is what he is likely to hear.