Apparently Dr. Oz and I are kindred spirits. While attending Major League Baseball’s All-Star festivities in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, earlier this summer, I was surprised to learn the 59-year-old cardiothoracic surgeon and TV personality was going to participate in a celebrity softball game on the Sunday before the big game. Like Dr. Oz, I’m a lifelong baseball fan and I continue to play in a senior softball league on a weekly basis in a feeble attempt to relive my youth and (unsuccessfully) turn back the hands of time.
Unlike Dr. Oz, however, I don’t arrive at softball games in my own private jet accompanied by the likes of former Cleveland Cavaliers sharpshooter J.R. Smith and comedian Scott Rogowsky. The three celebrity softball players were supposed to arrive in Cleveland on Saturday, but due to inclement weather on the East Coast, they found themselves stranded in Newark, N.J.
“Fortunately, Dr. Oz had a plane available where my wife and I could hop on and ride,” Smith told Cleveland.com. The two hit it off like long-lost friends, discussing everything from Smith’s tattoos to financial matters. By the way, I would have gladly forfeited my celebrity softball game tickets to be a bug on the overhead baggage compartment for that conversation! Wait a minute, do private jets even have overhead baggage compartments?
As I arrived at Progressive Field to take in all the pageantry of the celebrity softball game I wondered if Dr. Oz, who by all accounts is a very competitive guy (otherwise, he’d be a podiatrist), would step up to the plate and “call his shot” — a la the great Bambino — or wilt under the big-game pressure? With the two celebrity softball rosters filled with such world-class athletes as Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, MMA fighter Stipe Miocic, NFL All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce and “The Bachelor’s” Colton Underwood (???), would Dr. Oz embarrass my entire generation when the bright lights were turned on? (Actually, it was a day game, so the lights never came on. I just included that reference for dramatic effect.)
Once the game got started, much to my relief Dr. Oz held his own, although it helped to have “The Price is Right” host and former Clevelander Drew Carey on the field at the same time, lowering the bar for what it means to be a “competent” celebrity softball participant. In fact, I think Carey was waived immediately following the game. Baseball’s a cruel sport.
On the flip side, I was so impressed with Dr. Oz’s performance that I visited doctoroz.com a few days later to see if he had posted any pictures following his time in Cleveland. (Yeah, you’re right, I need to get a life.) What I learned is Dr. Oz decided to participate in the celebrity softball game to be an inspiration for people — particularly old people like me — to get up and move. In a Q&A previewing his participation in the game, he said, “As we age, our muscles begin to shrink — a condition known as sarcopenia. This puts people at higher risk of falls and is also associated with increased insulin resistance. Exercise can help strengthen muscles and prevent sarcopenia.”
I hear ya, Dr. Oz. I don’t want no damn sarcopenia! It sounds dreadful. In fact, upon returning home from the game, I immediately signed up for a 5K and joined my local health club. (Actually, I just thought about it.) But Dr. Oz wasn’t done with me yet. (Damn you, Dr. Oz!) Two days later, there he was again on “Today,” trumpeting the benefits of five super foods from around the globe that would extend my life. I listened intently, fearing that I was already exhibiting the symptoms of early-onset sarcopenia, and I learned that quinoa (from Peru); hazlenuts (from Turkey); lentils (from India); snow pea leaves (from China); and chapulines (from Mexico) are a recipe for long life. What are chapulines, you ask? They’re toasted grasshoppers seasoned with garlic, lime juice and salt that are popular in certain parts of Mexico.
Carson Daly, despite Dr. Oz’s enthusiastic endorsement, was having none of it, refusing to even sample the crispy treat. “It will never happen,” he said. “Hell no. I’m out!” At only 46, let’s see if Daly comes around when he’s my age. In the meantime, “Can you please pass the chapulines, Dr. Oz?”
The author is publisher of PCT magazine. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.