Archive for the ‘Brian Asselstine’ Category


Asselstine, Royster, Bonnell

November 8, 2010

What Is the Meaning of the 1978 Atlanta Braves? (cards 7-9 of 25)

(continued from Andy Messersmith)

As of a few weeks ago, I had only a handful of 1978 Atlanta Braves cards—the Bobby Cox card that has now been featured twice on this site and these three repeaters. All the other Braves came to me recently courtesy of Joe Stillwell of STATS, who’d read my past complaints about the mysterious disappearance from my childhood card collection of almost all my Braves and sent me most but not all of the 1978 team. I didn’t notice any absences at first but when I did it made me happy, in that it made the influx of Braves into my collection more realistic. I never got all the cards for any team, so it’s fitting that there are gaps in my collection of 1978 Braves.

There are three missing cards in all, among them the glum team’s ray of hope for the future, Dale Murphy. I’m proceeding through the 1978 Braves in the order in which the players featured appear in the Topps numbering system for that year, and this approach, coupled with Murphy’s absence, has front-loaded the 1978 cardboard version of the Braves’ meager collection of notable players to such an extent that even though most of the cards are still to come there’s virtually nothing left in terms of star power or historical significance or, well, anything much else at all. We’ve already seen the team’s lone Hall of Fame player (Phil Niekro), its soon-to-be Hall of Fame manager (Bobby Cox), its 1976 and 1977 All-Star Game representatives (Dick Ruthven and Willie Montanez, respectively), its sole former MVP and best slugger (Jeff Burroughs), and its trailblazing former ace (Andy Messersmith).

What’s left?

I don’t know. This morning, the first morning of a new week, I meditated. In theory, this is something that I do every day, but the truth is I let days and sometimes weeks go by without taking a few minutes for this practice. When I was younger, I did this zealously, fueled in part by the afterglow of hallucinogens and more generally by the belief that I would soon be perfect and painless. When this vision of permanent spiritual triumph kept failing to arrive, I lost more and more motivation to just sit there and gaze at a wall and breathe. It’s hard to do. It’s always been hard to do. Life is not a championship season.


Brian Asselstine

May 28, 2008
Minutes of 5.28.08 Pitch Meeting, Cardboard Gods Industries

Meeting Chair: Josh Wilker

Attendees: Anger, Going Through Yet Another Heavy Bob Dylan Phase, The Pretentious Promoter of the Hackneyed Voice of Childhood, Apocalyptic Panic, Disgust, Compulsiveness, The Baseball Guy, The Guy Who Loathes Josh Wilker

Could Not Attend: Easily Inspired, Zen Calmness, Humor, Confidence

Agenda: Brian Asselstine Profile


Josh Wilker (Meeting Chair): Thanks for coming. I well understand the tedious nature of these meetings, and I appreciate your sacrifice. Anybody got anything?

The Guy Who Loathes Josh Wilker: Why are we even here? I’ll tell you why. Because you can’t handle what is a one-person job, if that. Give a monkey a typewriter and he’ll do better than you. You’re a disgrace. You didn’t even spring for donuts!

Compulsiveness: All I know is we’ve got to get something up there on the site today or . . . or bad things will happen.

Anger: [Glares at previous speaker]

The Baseball Guy: Can’t we just string together a paragraph about Asselstine’s brief, mediocre career and call it a day?

The Pretentious Promoter of the Hackneyed Voice of Childhood: But surely there must also be some way to connect to the realm that the poet Rilke declared to be the wellspring of all great art, the numinous pastures of long lost memory, where innocence and wondrous awareness combine to—

Anger: [Lands punch in previous speaker’s solar plexus]

The Pretentious Promoter of the Hackneyed Voice of Childhood: Oof!

Compulsiveness: What about something about his facial expression. Oh, I wish Humor was here to quickly come up with something about how he looks like he’s evacuating his bowels. Is that funny?

Disgust: Yes, yes, let’s produce yet another This Guy Looks Like He’s Doing This Instead of What He’s Doing essay. That will surely add to the advancement of civilization.

Going Through Yet Another Heavy Bob Dylan Phase: (humming) Goin’ to Aaa-ca-pul-co, goin’ on the run . . .

Apocalyptic Panic: Disgust is right. Civilization is doomed and we’re here trying to write about the baseball card of a guy taking a swing in a batting cage thirty years ago with a look on his face like he just hit another warning track flyball and he’s worried that his failure to go any deeper than that is going to banish him back to the minors, doomed is sort of what he looks like, as if he’s us with the soaring gas prices and melting ice caps and endless war and teenagers getting shot every two seconds and—

Josh Wilker: Uh, did anyone else notice the heart shape on the left shoulder of Brian Asselstine’s uniform? That’s kind of odd, I thought.

The Pretentious Promoter of the Hackneyed Voice of Childhood: Yes, perhaps we can weave together some sort of heartrending narrative that touches on whence the tender touch of romantic love first—oof!

The Guy Who Loathes Josh Wilker: Don’t try to change the subject with your pedestrian observations, Josh Wilker. You’re worthless. You add nothing to the world but just sit there eating tortilla chips and watching sitcoms.

Disgust: My stomach.

The Baseball Guy: I know nobody at these meetings cares what I have to say, but don’t most people who might read whatever we come up with want to read about baseball?

Disgust: Is there a gas leak in here?

Compulsiveness: How about instead of a regular essay we just slap the meeting minutes up there?

Disgust: [Vomits]


(Love versus Hate update: Brian Asselstine’s back-of-the-card “Play Ball” result has been added to the ongoing contest.)