He remembers being 17 in Seattle, wishing he knew what Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez knew. He reflects on being mentored by Kirby Puckett and having Mo Vaughn take him under his wing. He's not sure if he gets across the same way. Rice says he felt something similar when his career was winding down. It's the cycle of the game. Nostalgia is inevitable. To have once been part of something great is to later long for it. To have lived in a golden age is to find the present dull by comparison.
"When I came up, there were at least two guys on every team ... you wanted to be," Ortiz says, for the first time sounding all of his 38 years. "These kids are different. Why would a kid who has made $100 million before he's even 30 feel like he has to listen to anyone?"
Then, like a hitter who's still dangerous, he shakes it off: "What's it mean? It means I'm old, dude."