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Lane Provides Best Story of Year

Jason Lane is a name from baseball’s last 10 years that you probably don’t remember. But if you’re a fan of feel-good sports stories, it’s one you’ll want to remember now.

Jason Lane played with the Astros from 2002-2007 (Getty Images).

Lane played six seasons in the major leagues (2002-2007), nearly all of which came with the Astros. He was part of the 2005 Astros World Series team. He even homered in that series. He was a career .241 hitter. He added a .314 on-base percentage.

He wasn’t a star. But he was a big leaguer. For a long time. And he contributed. That’s all any of us in the game ever could ask for.

After 2007, he bounced around multiple organizations in affiliated and independent ball. He spent time in Pawtucket, Scranton, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Reno, Tuscon, El Paso — and with the Sugarland Skeeters, the same independent team that Tracy McGrady just played for.

He wasn’t traveling on first-class charter flights. He wasn’t eating gourmet meals. He clearly just loved to play. And he wanted to get one more chance.

Jason Lane makes his first MLB start tonight (Getty Images).

Somewhere along the way in the years since his last MLB appearance, Jason Lane learned how to pitch. And tonight, he’ll make his first MLB start for the Padres at the age of 37. He’s the oldest first-time starter since Troy Percival started at 38.

Lane had a brief call-up earlier this season and threw 4.1 innings of scoreless relief across two appearances.

And now, he’s back. I hope it’s for good. I hope he throws a one-hit shutout. The dedication and perseverance to get back to the bigs after all that team is remarkable.

Baseball players are creatures of habit. In a sport known for making adjustments, baseball players don’t like change. Someone who is willing to give up his identity as a position player and reinvent himself after six years already spent the bigs? That’s a guy I can root for.

For one night, go Padres.

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