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Ray Fosse

March 30, 2016

Ray Fosse_77The sun is always shining. The sky is always boundless.

I worked today, same as yesterday, same as the day before. Tomorrow: same. I get a little sliver of time in the morning with my boys. The younger one said “Daddy” this morning. He’s been slow to get rolling with the words. He’s a year and a half, a little past that, but he still gets what he needs by pointing, pantomiming, groaning. He’s kind of like Frankenstein, groaning and bashing his way through life. His few words, though, they slay me.

“Ball,” he says.

“Daddy,” he says.

When I left for work he and his brother climbed onto the couch to look out the window and watch me go. I drive to work, listening to Buddhist lectures. I work all day and drink enough coffee to reanimate the deceased. I drive home listening to podcast interviews with comedians. I’ve listened to hundreds of these things. I now know what it means to “middle.” Why the fuck do I know that?

I get a little sliver of time with my boys in the evening.

“What’s that word for measuring volcanoes?” the older one said. He’s four and a half.

“Volcanoes?” I said.

“A seismic monitor?” he asked. A second ago he was a tiny groaning Frankenstein too.

“Jesus Christ,” I said.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. I don’t care. It’s nine p.m. and both boys are asleep and I’m going to spend this last little sliver of the day in gratitude, with the hopes that this 1980 Ray Fosse card, the image surely a product of wide blue sky psalmist Doug McWilliams (a disciple of Ozzie Sweet), can help me express this.

Ray Fosse was near the end with this one. You may know the story with him. Promising young catcher steamrolled by Pete Rose in the all-star game, injured, never the same. I think I’ve read about him expressing anger over the incident. If so, he’s not the only one ever to get angry at Pete Rose. I hope this anger, though certainly understandable, doesn’t completely cloud his memories of the big leagues. This is the danger all of us face, I guess: bitterness. We fall into a pattern of perpetually forgetting the sun is always shining, the sky is always boundless.

On the back of this card, below the mortality-aping list of dwindling numbers, there’s one line of text, referring to the very All-Star Game in which the most-told narrative of Ray Fosse was born, but the text makes no mention of the collision. It’s like a textual brother to the most basic tenet of Doug McWilliams’s photographic aesthetic: remove all clouds.

Had RBI in 1970 All-Star Game

Thank you, gods, for this one life.

bye_daddy

5 comments

  1. Josh, that Ray Fosse card is a 1980 Topps.


  2. True. Thanks for the heads-up on that brain cramp. I will not be able to leave that uncorrected.


  3. Hi Josh, great post. You may know that Ray Fosse has been the color analyst for Oakland A’s broadcasts for 30 years. He is one of the best in the game, a thoughtful, interesting commentator.


  4. The 1980 cards are very similar to the 1977 cards.


  5. Tom: I didn’t know that. I live in something of a bubble.

    Thomas: Thanks for the justification, but the shameful aspect of that mistake is, in a world in which I don’t know much, it’s the one thing I know –the design of the cards from ’75 through ’80. It’s like mixing up my sons’ names! (Which is also starting to happen.)



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