This is what keeps Jamie Moyer going: Playing baseball. It's as a simple as that. He's still in the game because he loves it. He loves being part of a team. He loves competing and helping his team win.
He did all that Saturday night at Coca-Cola Field where he made his first minor league start in 15 years, guiding the Norfolk Tides to a 5-0 win over the Buffalo Bisons.
At age 49, Moyer became the oldest man to pitch in Buffalo since Satchel Paige, who threw for Miami in Buffalo in 1958 at the age of 51, according to International League historian Joe Santry.
What keeps him motivated?
"Doing what I did tonight. Being on a team," Moyer said. "I enjoy this. I was as up for this game as much as I was for any in my career."
In picking up the win Saturday, he pitched five scoreless innings giving, up one hit with five strikeouts. He threw 84 pitches, 52 of them for strikes. In an age when youth and smoking fastballs are the order of the day on the mound, Moyer's pitches averaged in the mid-70s. But it's not just speed that makes a pitcher effective.
"It's Jamie Moyer. You don't evaluate that," Norfolk manager Ron Johnson said. "The biggest thing I can evaluate is that he went five innings. He feels fine physically. He threw strikes. He obviously does what he does. He changes speeds. He makes the ball move. He controls bat speed. I think it was exciting to watch. I enjoyed it."
And the hullabaloo about his age?
"The biggest thing was I started to feel ashamed of myself," Johnson said. "I told our trainer, 'I'm going to have to go out tomorrow after the game and start running.' But you don't think about it. I'm like everyone else. I'm a fan. But when he's on the mound, to watch him compete, I don't care if he's 39, 49, 89. It's great to watch."
Moyer set the Major League Baseball record as the oldest pitcher to win a game, winning two with Colorado -- April 17 against San Diego and May 16 against Arizona.
Despite the record-setting pair of wins, Moyer had some bumps with the Rockies, going 2-5 with a 5.70 ERA in 10 starts. Colorado designated him for assignment and then released him June 2. On Wednesday, he signed a minor league contract with Baltimore and was assigned to Norfolk.
"They had interest and they're giving me an opportunity," Moyer said. "That's all I can ask for at this point. It's up to me to take advantage of the opportunity. Call it what you want. Call it a showcase. It's an opportunity to pitch and let whoever is evaluating evaluate."
Bisons manager Wally Backman faced Moyer during his playing days, going 1 for 3 with a walk against him while with Minnesota. Backman doesn't remember the at-bats but he has plenty of respect for Moyer.
"I'm happy for the guy," Backman said. "Really, he's accomplished something that's never been accomplished. Jamie's been a competitor his whole career. He's almost my age. I'm happy for the guy. For a guy to do the things that Jamie's done for the length that he's done it is a feat in itself. Win or lose, it doesn't matter. I'm sure he's bound and determined to get back to the major leagues at 49 or else he wouldn't be here."
Bisons starter Jenrry Mejia allowed just one hit through the first four innings before running into difficulty in the fifth. He misplayed a ball and was charged with an error and gave up a three-run homer to Lew Ford. The Tides scored all five of their runs that inning. All were unearned.