What a world, what a world. How, you might wonder, is someone to live in a world like this one, all crumbling and cruel and forsaken and loud? It’s a great question and honestly buddy I’ve got nothing for you there. But I can tell you this much: if you have in your possession a box full of random old baseball cards from the 1980's and 1990's you might as well crack that shit and get to remembering.
This is not because anything is about to end. It’s more a matter of self-care. There’s no real reason to be nostalgic for the 1980's or 1990's, which surely would have been just as unbearable as our current moment if there had been some sort of rotary-phone version of social media available. But it is nice to remember that there was a time when baseball cards were even dumber and uglier than everything else, and when baseball teams were put together by checked-out chain-smokers in permanent press suits instead of by the highly qualified algorithm-guided data mutants of today. Those teams were flawed and flabby and, in retrospect, both inexplicable and inexcusable. But man did they ever have some Guys on them. You don’t have to be nostalgic about the Dumb And Doing A Bad Job part of all that to feel good about the Guys part.
And it is the Guys part that we deal in, here. Lauren and I returned to the jumbo box of random shitty commons that we were sent by an anonymous benefactor in the Pacific Northwest, and we got to work on remembering the guys therein. Some of these dudes were frankly un-rememberable jheri-curl guys who never quite got a shot at making the Astros rotation. Others were once-potent sluggers who got real sad upon joining the Mets. One was the tragic and kind Ken Caminiti. Lonnie Smith is involved.
None of them were great, really. Every single one of them is worth remembering, if not because of who they were or what they did then at least because remembering ennobles both the rememberer and the remembered. Just the ritual of it is important. It is good to remember that there was a past, and that it was in some ways dumber than our present and in some ways less dumb, and that everyone survived it, even Ron Oester. I can’t project this forward in any meaningful way. But I can and will reiterate that Herm Winningham is a fantastic baseball name, until next time and then even after that.