Jim Gott

May 6, 2013

Exif_JPEG_422I had stuffed animals as a kid. The dog shown here isn’t one of them. I don’t have them anymore. My favorite was a stuffed dog named Spot. He and I used to have brawls. I used to punch him and throw him across the room, and I’d pretend he was doing the same to me. The key element of the whole recurring fantasy was that Spot was beating the shit out of me as I was beating the shit out of Spot. I suppose I imagined that in the end I threw the final, decisive punch, but this victory was secondary to the central function of the whole endeavor, which was to pretend that I was in a horrible fight. I don’t know why I was so prone to imagining violence, specifically violence being done to me. There wasn’t any actual hitting of me or anyone else in the house I grew up in, besides my older brother sometimes becoming so exasperated with my incessant needling commentary and questions and need for attention that he’d punch me in a “phaser-set-to-stun” kind of way in the arm.

And yet, I still imagine my face getting smashed in on a fairly regular basis. Life is one fucking invisible worry after another, one thing breaking after another, one long day after another. And now, for me, there’s a small boy in the center of it, not even two years old, and it’s up to me to protect him, as if I could do so by draping my arm around him like the stuffed dog in this photo is doing to Jim Gott, one of the cards my son plays with sometimes. But I can’t protect him. I’m at the mercy of forces far beyond me.

Spot is in a landfill somewhere, I guess, probably all but disintegrated. He was full of white Styrofoam pellets. Because of all the fighting I subjected him to, he sprung several wounds and would bleed the little white pellets everywhere. I imagined bleeding all over the place, too. Then the two of us would lie there together in the wreckage, arm in arm, and make peace.


  1. somewhere buried deep in a box, i have a Jim Gott signed baseball… the autograph pickings were pretty slim for Toronto fans in 1982.

  2. Of course you can protect your son. Some days will be a struggle. Some will be a losing struggle. Jim Gott may have had a lot to contend with going up against the Schmidts and Dawsons out there, but he wasn’t exactly at their mercy. And they knew he wasn’t without resources of his own.

    Tim Teufel himself only went 2-9 against Gott. One of those two was a homerun, and that’s tough, but fully 87.8% times, Gott sent Teufel back to the bench in futility.

    That’s worth something.

  3. jamesguitarshields: The very name of Gott buried deep in a box. I love it.

    Thanks, edgydc. There are a couple of Tuefel cards in my son’s collection (it’s heavy on late-’80s journeymen), so the Gott-Tuefel tangle goes on.

  4. Bill James once pointed out that if Teufel homered off of Gott, the ensuing story should be called Paradise Lost.

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