What Is the Meaning of the 1978 Atlanta Braves? (card 11 of 25)
(continued from Rod Gilbreath)
The 1978 Atlanta Braves had, let’s face it, no chance. It wasn’t just that they were bad at hitting (only one team, the Padres, would score fewer runs) or even worse at pitching (they allowed the most runs scored in the league). It was the cap each player had to wear. How could anyone hope to conquer anything with a lowercase “a” on the crown of his head? It was a letter that, if rendered in uppercase, might have stood for the city they were located in, might have, in turn, inspired them to extend beyond their individual limitations to honor that restless growing American metropolis with vibrant expansive glory. But it was a lowercase “a”—the first and faintest official word in the English language, an indefinite article used, according to Webster’s, “when the referent is unspecified.” The example provided by Webster’s for this definition seems telling in terms of the current examination of the 1978 Atlanta Braves: “a man overboard.”
Not the man overboard or that man overboard. Just a man overboard. Nobody special.
Hope he can swim.
Compounding the ever-present announcement of inconsequentiality that the small “a” provided was the shape of the cap, at least as seen in the version of the cap modeled here by Jamie Easterly. The upper part of the crown bulges as if designed to smuggle a large loaf of decidedly non-nutritious white bread.
Jamie Easterly seems to understand the intimations of being burdened by such haberdashery. To this point in his career, according to the back of the card, his record stands at 5-14 with a 5.59 ERA. Amazingly enough, considering that start, he’ll endure for several more seasons, logging 13 major league campaigns in all. Like most of us, he was never The Man, just a man. Trying to keep from falling overboard.
(Love versus Hate update: Jamie Easterly’s back-of-the-card “Play Ball” result has been added to the ongoing contest.)