I don’t know how things stand now, but in the late 1970s the corrective eyeware industry had not really mastered the operational aspects of eyeglasses that, theoretically at least, got darker in the sunlight and lighter indoors. There was this one kid in my grade, Craig, who had tinted aviator glasses very similar to the ones partially masking Mike Parrott’s apprehensive expression, and Craig’s glasses were never tinted enough outside or untinted enough inside. I sort of hated Craig because both he and I had curly hair and glasses and braces and played small forward on our constantly defeated junior high basketball team. I hated my curly hair and glasses and braces and losing and hated Craig because I guess I needed in some way to put all that self-hatred onto somebody else, especially a someone who didn’t seem to mind all the things that seemed like curses to me. In fact, I am pretty sure he permed his fucking hair to make it curlier, and somehow the fact that his glasses were tinted, that they featured this new, attention-grabbing technology, made his glasses the same as the perm, an embrace of his cursed status as a four-eyed brillo-head. By the time we were in tenth grade and putting in our fourth straight season of getting our brains beaten in on the basketball court, Craig’s refusal to realize that he was cursed had resulted in him even having a girlfriend that he seemed likely to be having sex with, which was something like the Apollo Space Program to my Caveman Banging Rocks Together And Thinking About The Moon. But even so, in my mind Craig was still the douchebag with the stupid tinted glasses. He had to be.
Anyway, Mike Parrott seems here to be on the brink of a humiliating discovery, his eyes fixed on the horizon as if an airplane skywriter is spelling out the last letters of a message that Mike Parrott’s wife has run away with some other Mariner that Mike Parrott has always fervently believed to be a douchebag. In the season to come, Mike Parrott will valiantly battle the creeping self-doubt apparent in this picture, going 14-12 with a respectable 3.77 ERA. He will even begin the following year with a win, but then he will lose every single other game that year, 16 games in a row, to finish 1-16. I don’t know if Mike Parrott’s tinted glasses contributed to the monumental losing streak, but one has to wonder why a guy whose home games were in the roofed Kingdome would be drawn to glasses that were always a little too dark when the wearer of them was inside.