November 2, 2012
Why Darren Oliver Might Really Retire This Time
We love baseball, all of us, but it can be exhausting, too. There are so many games. The games only matter in that they lead to other, more exclusive games. Then, once those games are played, we wait a few months and we start over, with more games. For you, it’s a hobby and a diversion. But imagine it’s your job, and all these pointless games just pile up on each other, each one bringing a new chance for you to fail in front of everybody. How long until it stopped being fun?
Darren Oliver is 42 years old. The Blue Jays just picked up his $3 million option for 2013, but he’s said to be leaning toward retirement. Many times in his career he has been leaning toward retirement, but this one is a bit different for two reasons: He’s really, really good; and it sounds like he might mean it.
Darren Oliver has the job you wish your dad had had, but his kids just want him home. It almost makes you wonder how anybody makes it to 42 without retiring.
The first time he nearly retired.
The Rockies signed him before spring training, he got attacked by bees, and the Rockies released him. The Diamondbacks signed him in April, and released him. The Cubs signed him in May, and released him, and from May 20 on he was unemployed. He pitched 32 minor-league innings that year, all as a starter. He gave up 34 runs, including 20 in 13 innings for for Iowa; the Iowa Cubs’ web site ran a headline calling his first start “The Mother’s Day Massacre."