Besides being one of the greatest pitchers in the history of the game, Satchel Paige was a very wise fellow. He became famous not only for his blazing fastball early on and his dazzling array of junk as he got older, but also for his six rules on "How to Keep Young," with the last suggestion remaining the most prescient. To wit:
Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you.
It's tough not to look back, however. Especially in sports. I know that a lot of Packer fans have been having a difficult time getting over the loss to the Giants, especially now that the Super Bowl is nigh. My friend Rich pointed out that some of us still haven't gotten over the John Hadl trade back in 1974. Packer fans seem to have very long memories and we don't forget much. Sometimes we should, though. I read a fascinating piece earlier today in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel which is here. It turns out that Ron Wolf, former Packer GM, is still stewing about losing Super Bowl XXXII to those pesky Denver Broncos, and that he puts the blame for the loss primarily on the shoulders of the Walrus. Wolf, now in retirement in Annapolis, thinks that Holmgren should have made adjustments to the all-out blitz package that the Broncos used to rattle Brett Favre.
I greatly respect Ron Wolf, who was the primary architect behind a Super Bowl championship. Still, after ten years, it's really time to let it go. I've seen the NFL Films piece on the game any number of times over the years and it always turns out the same way. There's no good reason to keep picking at that particular scab. Life is too short for regret.
With the news that the Johan Santana trade is now essentially complete, I sense that a lot of fans of the local baseball team will be going through similar feelings of regret. And while this particular event is much closer, it is now passing. I'm going to be happy that I got to see Johan Santana pitch in his prime and I am glad that my kids got to see him pitch here. I doubt that he is worth the nearly $151 million that he is receiving from the Mets; really, is anyone in baseball worth that kind of money? But you can't begrudge the guy for it. You just have to thank him for his service and look forward.
When we look back at such things, it's pretty clear what that we run the ristk of missing what is gaining on us. As a Packer fan, I don't need to think about whether or not Dorsey Levens ran the ball enough ten years ago. A far more interesting topic is what Ryan Grant will do in 2008. And as a Twins fan, a far more interesting topic is whether Francisco Liriano is ready to pitch again. We'll start getting answers to these these and many other questions soon enough. I can't wait.