Ron Schueler (3)

January 18, 2008



(continued from Ron Schueler (2))

I lasted two years as an adjunct, which matches the average stay by Ron Schueler on each of his four major league teams. He spent two years with the Braves, three with the Phillies, one with the Twins, and two with the White Sox. Maybe two years is the normal shelf-life for adjuncts. Most of the other adjuncts at my college also seemed to be just passing through. There were a couple of long-timers, but they had fit their adjunct duties into a sturdy arsenal of resourceful chisel-jawed remunerative pursuits, one guy teaching a couple of classes when he wasn’t leading tours through the Amazon rainforest and selling photographs to National Geographic, another guy maintaining his on-campus reputation as a ruthless grammarian in between professional jazz trumpeter engagements. Most of the others seemed to view the low-paying, no-insurance, no-security job as a steppingstone to something better. I may have entertained that thought, too, early on, but in the same blurry, hypothetical way that I daydreamed about someday publishing a novel or owning a house or ceremonially passing my baseball cards down to a son. It became apparent eventually that the job was merely another in my long line of crumbling ledges to cling to by my fingertips.

One day while clinging I stopped in to see my old teacher and good friend Tony, who had helped get me the adjunct job. Tony told me of a dream he’d had the night before. In it, he’d gathered me and his wife together to tell us that he’d come up with an idea for a Broadway musical. One of the clearest impressions from the dream for him were the looks on our faces as he described the idea. First we were skeptical, then alarmed.

“It was a whole musical about adjunct professors,” Tony explained. “I even remember the big closing number. Paaaart-timers are indispensable!” Tony came up out of his chair behind his desk to sing this last part. As he did I saw the whole thing in my mind, a stage full of singers and dancers wearing fake bald spots and glasses, wool sweaters and corduroy, stacks of marked-up student papers in their fists, everyone leaping to and fro to express the unconquerable nature of the human spirit, the hero in the center of the action an adjunct who overcame all the odds, who found the song deep down below all the meaningless noise, who let the song flow through him, who found while singing that he and his fellow adjuncts and every last creature on earth were worthy of song. Worthy of love. Indispensable. I laughed so hard I felt temporarily cured.

“The end of the dream was you guys walking out on me,” Tony said. “You were shaking your head and saying ‘I don’t know, man. I don’t know.’”

(to be continued)


  1. 1.  i can’t wait to see how this turns out…can’t wait for pitchers and catchers either. On the way to work this morning, I took the long way which takes me past Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Some minor leaguers were working out, long-tossing, running.

    The best time to be a baseball fan is this moment of nothing but absolute positive expectation.

    Oh yeah, the practice field grass smelled GREAT!

  2. 2.  Hilarious! I’m looking forward to hearing how your fantasy team finished up.

  3. 3.  Heartbreaking.

  4. 4.  There’s some activity in some (slightly) older posts that I wanted to point out, including thoughts in “Ron Schueler (2)” from Ramblin Pete on the otherworldly qualities of Ron Schueler; a vote for Cesar Cedeno as best player of the 1970s in the Pete Rose card I have filed under Phillies in the sidebar; and, in “Geoff Zahn,” some definitive-sounding comments on whether Geoff Zahn is in fact standing in front of the Ivy in Wrigley.

  5. 5.  Josh, thanks for updating us about posts on old threads; esp the Zahn. George Michael’s hobby (the Sports Machine George Michael, not the singer or the Arrested Development character) is identifying old baseball photos. His interest is usually in older pics of players sliding into home or a base, but I think it’s kind of neat trying to figure out where and when a baseball card photo was taken.

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