Team SpacemanApril 21, 2016
When I was a kid I used to put my cards into teams sometimes. I usually bought two packs from the store, so I’d pit one pack against the other. Or did I? Who even remembers. It sounds like something I might do. Anyway, I know I played with my cards. I still play with my cards. It always helps. When you’re feeling anxious, or depressed, or whatever—when you feel like you can’t fucking deal—stop and play with your cards a little.
I got ten cards in the mail recently, from Jesse Spector, who has a podcast built around talking to people about baseball cards. While I was waiting to talk to him I divvied up the cards we were going to talk about. Some guys were out of position—specifically in the outfield, though Yaz did log 165 games in center over his career; and Bill Lee, who loves to play—that word again, play—all phases of the game, surely has logged at least ten times that many games in the field in his post-major-league career as a world-traveling semi-pro ecstatic (and in this clip, at about the 20-second mark, he describes the way he wants to die, and it is as a right-fielder); and Mark Fidrych, who considered himself an outfielder as much as a pitcher when he first turned pro and had to be convinced otherwise.
I don’t know how this team would do. Better than some. Yaz, Grich, John Valentin: pretty strong up the middle. A team with the Bird and the Spaceman would be in good spirits, you’d think. The team could unravel of course, what with futility-magnet Eugenio Velez and the lifetime leader in bad luck, Anthony Young. The team would have a spastic, hesitating backbone in poor Mackey Sasser, owner of arguably the saddest of all baseball yips (in that it was the only one to rear its head outside of an action moment). But who know, maybe Balboni would go yard. With Balboni, there’s always hope.