CLEVELAND – When Mike Napoli first attended spring training with the Angels, his mentors were players like Darin Erstad and Tim Salmon. Although Napoli is now a handful of days from his 35th birthday, he sounds like an Athenian talking about Greek gods as he speaks of their unmatchable deeds.
Napoli signed with the Indians last winter. He did so because he would have an opportunity to play first base regularly. It wasn’t until after he signed that he really began to consider the composition of his roster of teammates, how young they all are, and the reality of his status and his role dawned on Napoli. In a roomful of mortals finding their way through their first experiences in the big leagues, Napoli is Zeus.
“I’m The Old Guy,” he said a couple of weeks ago, his smile a sunburst on a cloudy day at Fenway Park. “And I love it.”