What kids?

Every year the Cubs struggle the masses come out and say the Cubs should play the kids. It happens every single time. It happens when a veteran is struggling. It’s happened a lot as the 2011 season has progressed. Who exaclty are the kids on the Cubs?

Generally speaking, we refer to kids as being younger than 18. Often times it’s reserved for children even younger than that. Once a person reaches the teenage years, they are often referred to as teenagers. A teenager hates to be called a kid and we tend to show them some respect and refer to them as either a young adult or simply a teenager.

Think about how you use the word. If I hear someone say “the kids down the block were playing baseball,” I’m picturing young kids. Maybe a few teenagers, but mostly kids who have not reached that age yet. Perhaps that is just me, but the families I have known rarely refer to children over the age of 12 or 13 as kids. If they do, it’s in the general sense. “I have to get the kids to school by 8 am.”

“When you were a kid what did you want to grow up to be?” At what age are you thinking of. Are you thinking of your senior year in high school or when you were just a little kid and dreaming about being an all-star 2nd baseman one day? I remember a time at my house with a buddy of mine and we were talking about going to law school together at the University of Iowa. I was 6 or 7 years old. A couple years later all I wanted to be when I grew up was a star baseball player. We tend to think of ourselves as grown up long before we actually are.

By the time I was 15 I knew playing professional baseball was out, the only interest I had in the law was avoiding it and much of my attention was focused on the girls lucky enough to catch my eye. I sure as hell didn’t see myself as a kid. I was about ready to get my driver’s license, a job, and eventually my own car. I would officially become an adult, at least I thought, when I got those things. Anyone called me a kid and I was sure to tell them that I’m far too mature to be called a kid.

In real life you rarely hear a person who is 18 or older referred to as a kid. Usually when it’s done it’s by some adult who thinks referring to them as kids gives them more power. But in sports, these athletes are regularly referred to as kids. I’ve done it myself. Starlin Castro is just a kid. It’s true in some way, but mostly it’s just bullshit. I do have a tendency to refer to the younger athletes in baseball as kids. Once they get to 25 though, no way. Just because a player is in the minor leagues without any big league experience doesn’t mean he’s a kid.

Some people don’t really understand this. This time of the year it’s time Quade plays the kids according to them. And they’re searching for any answer as to why he wouldn’t.  For example, in Levine’s chat today there’s this (h/t to RC).

Jason: I understand the Quade is trying to win as many games as possible but doesnt the fact thathe didnt play the “kids” as much as he should kind of hint that even he knows his days are number? If he felt like he was going to be back he wouldnt he want to see who can play?

Bruce Levine: That’s a possibility. I think you’re right about that. Also there is no direction in the organization for Quade. There is no top baseball guy telling him what the plan is for next year. When you’re out there on an island like Quade is, you just try to win every game.

My first thought was this: who the hell are these kids? I start going through the roster in my head. Starlin Castro is still young. He’s playing every day. DJ LeMahieu is 22 and not getting regular playing time. If you do play him, you have to sit Darwin Barney who would then be a kid not getting playing time according to these people.

I keep thinking about the roster (the 40-man roster specifically). Welington Castillo is only 24, but he’s injured. Those are the only 3 players under the age of 25. I know Campana is 25, I think Clevenger is 26 and Blake DeWitt is 25 or 26. Are we going to refer to 25 and 26 year olds as kids? Seriously? The prime of their career is maybe only a year away at the most. The fact they haven’t played much to this point suggests they probably won’t play much after that age too. Is Tyler Colvin still 25? I’m not sure. It doesn’t matter. He’s not a kid.

I know Jeff Stevens is 27 and Bryan LaHair is 28. Isn’t Geovany Soto 29? Those are all the players under the age of 30. Maybe Luis Montanez is too. He’s probably 30 since he was drafted 3rd overall way back in 2001.

So I start going through the pitchers now. I’m pretty sure Rafael Dolis is the youngest at 23. Casey Coleman is 23 or 24. Coleman is getting regular playing time. Dolis isn’t, but are we complaining about 23 year old reliever not getting much playing time? Really? I’m pretty sure Andrew Cashner, Christopher Carpenter and James Russell are all 25. There are your pitchers under the age of 25 unless I missed someone. I’m not going to waste my time and look this stuff up. It’s not worth it.

There are two guys on the roster who I can understandably be called kids: Starlin Castro and DJ LeMahieu. If you wanted to include 23 you’ve Rafael Dolis and and Casey Coleman. As I said and as every Cubs fan knows, Castro is playing every day. Coleman is in the rotation. Dolis was called up as a reliever and will naturally have to earn more playing time. Nothing wrong with that. The only possible thing Cubs fans can complain about with regards to “kids” not playing is DJ LeMahieu, but if he was playing the “young kid” Darwin Barney would not be.

If people are going to refer to 25, 26 and 28 year olds as kids, this is literally a situation a manager cannot win. There’s a reason those guys are 25, 26 and 28 and barely have any experience. It’s because they were never good enough prior to that to deserve being called up. Why would people suddenly think they would be now?

So please, let’s stop referring to the guys who are old for the minor league level they have been at as kids. They aren’t. Tony Campana is not a kid. Starlin Castro is 4 years younger than Campana. Castro will be one year away from being free agent eligible by the time he’s Campana’s current age. Are we going to refer to him as a kid at that point? Of course not.