Professional athletes have always had difficulty telling themselves it’s time to retire, but fewer than ever seem to know when enough is enough.
You can blame Tom Brady for that. He won a Super Bowl last season at 43, turns a year older next month and apparently plans on playing and living forever. Suddenly, lots of athletes in their competitive golden years think that if they stop eating tomatoes, as Brady did, they can play at a high level into their 40s. This has to be killing the BLT lobby.
No one knows if Brady has discovered some nutritional secret to being able to play longer than everybody else or if he’d be just as successful on a diet of Big Macs. It doesn’t matter. Everybody thinks it’s the former.
This brings us to Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta, who is 35 and struggling to do what he used to do so well. I don’t know if he has looked to Brady for inspiration, but Arrieta has been a big fan of cutting-edge diets and exercise programs throughout his career. If he was being reticent during his 2015 Cy Young season, all a reporter had to say was, “Where can a guy get some decent kale juice in this town?’’ and Arrieta wouldn’t shut up. Brady’s success at an advanced age and his disavowal of some common foods – I’m talking to you, strawberries and eggplants – resonates with a certain…