Luis GomezJanuary 9, 2008
Is life a battle between good and evil or an inconsequential rest stop between oblivions? Consider Luis Gomez, the benchwarmer, waiting slack-armed for his turn in the batting cage, where he will likely have only enough time to momentarily practice bunting before a Blue Jay regular commands him to step aside. As he waits for this truncated, ignominious turn, two blurry figures hover above his narrow shoulders, each figure perfectly positioned to whisper influence into an ear. But what could these indistinct spirits possibly have to say to Luis Gomez? In his 8-year major league career the utility infielder batted .210 with a .261 on-base percentage and a .239 slugging percentage. He never hit a home run. He stole 6 bases but was thrown out trying to steal 22 times. Once he was called on to pitch in a bullpen-savaging blowout. He gave up three runs in one inning. In his final game he batted 8th in the order, just above the pitcher’s spot, for a lineup that was 1-hit by Mario Soto. The last of Gomez’s fruitless at bats was a popup that whimpered to extinction in the glove of the opposing shortstop. He stands here somewhere in the middle of that featureless career, waiting for a couple weak swings in the cage, and the two entities hovering near his ears seem incapable of making themselves understood. They will only mutter incomprehensibly as they fade, the two voices indistinguishable from one another, no guidance, no angel and devil, no choice between paths, no paths at all, or maybe infinite paths, all of them leading to dissolution.