Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Alex Ochoa, 1994 Upper Deck #538
beat me to the punch, so I can only echo his sentiment. When my Oriole fandom was at its freshest and most fervent, Alex was the "it" guy in the O's farm system: a multi-tool prospect who was flashing power, speed, and a fair amount of plate discipline at AA at age 22. He peaked at #35 in the Baseball America prospect rankings in 1995, the year that the Birds sold high and made him the centerpiece of a deal that brought Bobby Bonilla over from the Mets. He was in the majors from 1995 through 2002, peaking with consecutive strong years as a reserve outfielder for the Brewers in 1999 and the Reds in 2000. Obviously I know that I'm getting older, though I'm still young enough to treat it with the right amount of detached bemusement. 29 is not a bad age to be, and from here, I'm willing to bet that 30 isn't much different. But after a while you just stop thinking about fresh-faced future star Alex Ochoa, and then BOOM, he's a 39-year-old coach for one of your hated divisional opponents. Craziness.