The guy certainly doesn’t seem old to me, but at 36, Jon Lester is now the elder statesman of the Chicago Cubs.
Marquee shared a video of Lester from Spring Training, talking with Ryan Dempster about aging gracefully in the sport, and how he can translate what he can provide not only on the field but also to younger teammates. It’s a nice bit of info-tainment for your lunch break.
“I just like to be relied upon. I don’t want it to be — ‘go stand over here and we’ll see you every 5 days.’
"I want guys to still be excited when they see me run out there.”https://t.co/27WKFXXlVt
— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) April 2, 2020
The best exchange to appreciate where Lester is coming from this year: “I can’t get in the gym and lift what I used to lift and I can’t run like I used to run, but now I’m trying different things as far as staying loose and flexible, maybe drop a few pounds. You can pitch at a heavier weight when you’re younger. I don’t know if I can do that anymore. I just like to be relied upon. I don’t want it to be — ‘go stand over here and we’ll see you every 5 days.’ I want guys to still be excited when they see me run out there.”
That’s some nice context for what a lot of folks seemed to see in Lester this Spring – a little less weight, maybe a little more flexibility, and the ability to stay right there with the rest of the team, even if he’s not quite doing the same work in the gym. You don’t have to be the grizzled old vet sitting off in the corner somewhere, and Lester doesn’t want to be that guy.
If and when this season gets underway, I look forward to seeing what a guy like Lester can do following the weird layoff. On the one hand, you could see it being more disruptive for an older guy, for whom the physical routine may be more important. But on the other hand, you could see an older guy knowing his body better, being a little more judicious in how he takes care of himself ramping back up, and then maybe he’ll be all the better in a shortened season.