Darrell EvansJuly 25, 2007
Here we see a year passing like nothing in the life of Darrell Evans. In the earlier photo, at our left, Evans is apparently in San Francisco, wearing home whites and long sleeves, perhaps to combat the infamously raw temperatures at Candlestick. He seems pensive, maybe even slightly displeased. Maybe the Pittsburgh Pirates catcher, possibly Ed Ott, has just muttered something troubling through his mask to Evans. All hopes fade. All beauty crumbles. All roads lead to the boneyard. The second photo seems to be in Los Angeles, judging from Evans’ dark uniform and the backwards cap on the catcher. (It seems indeed to be a cap and not a helmet, which makes me think this is not the Dodgers’ regular catcher, Steve Yeager, though I am basing this assumption solely on the hazy recollection that Yeager was once nearly killed by a broken bat flying into his neck and responded by inventing the first neck guard, which I assume was accompanied in the newly sobered and extra cautious nephew of Chuck Yeager’s armor by a sturdy helmet. My gut feeling, without checking any rosters of the time, is that the catcher pictured here is Dodgers backup Rick Dempsey Johnny Oates, who I see in my mind’s eye catching with a turned-around cap and not a helmet and who as far as I know avoided getting brained by any balls to that soft cloth cap as well as any jagged bat shards to the neck but who instead eventually died before his time anyway, of cancer.) In this slightly more recent photo Evans trains his pensive, faintly perturbed gaze straight at the viewer. He has let another pitch go by. Maybe it has been called a strike. But maybe not. Maybe it has been called a ball and Darrell Evans is on the brink of yet another of his many featureless, unmemorable walks. Maybe he has grown weary of the routine of tossing his bat toward the dugout and loping down to first to stand there until Johnny Lemaster or Terry Whitfield pops out to end the inning. As for me, I am finally home after most of a month spent traveling. I am back in my life, the one that would be depicted on a card if trading cards showing people like me existed. I am working as a proofreader. Same as last year and the year before that and the year before that.