The young faces in professional sports are replacing many of the older stars

Published 6:08 pm Friday, February 14, 2014

In college, I wrote a column calling the sports age we are currently living in as the end of an era. This was during the time when Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter had his season-ending ankle injury and Ray Lewis was retiring from NFL football.
Not to toot my own horn, but I think I was right.
In a 15 paragraph-long statement on his Facebook page, Jeter announced his retirement from the MLB after 20 years wearing the famed pinstriped uniform.
“Last year was a tough one for me,” Jeter wrote in his statement. “As I suffered through a bunch of injuries, I realized that some of the things that always came easily to me and were always fun had started to become a struggle. The one thing I always said to myself was that when baseball started to feel more like a job, it would be time to move forward.”
He goes on to write, “And the thing is, I could not be more sure. I know it in my heart. The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball.”
All of the big, young stars that have entered sports in the last 20 years are making their exits in grand fashion, or in a disappointing fashion (I’m looking at you, A-Rod). Ray Lewis is out of the game, Brett Favre, Chipper Jones and now Jeter. The list goes on. It’s time to face the facts. Professional sports are changing, and a new regime of young heroes is stepping up to the plate or behind center.
The team that just won Super Bowl XLVIII, the Seattle Seahawks, didn’t have a single player on it with any sort of Super Bowl experience. Their starting quarterback Russell Wilson just turned 25 in November.
The Yankees just signed Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, also 25, to a $155 million contract. He starts pitching this spring.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, 24, just signed a $135 million contract extension, the biggest in Braves franchise history.
LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin dominate NBA sports talk, pushing older players like Kobe Bryant (who is constantly injured these days) to the wayside.
These are the new faces of professional sports. They are dominating the headlines and filling the slots the old greats left behind.
There’s plenty of room, too. Bearcat and Cougar athletes in Bainbridge have the opportunity to work hard and join the professional sports world. There’s talent in this town, and I hope to someday watch it on my television screen.

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