It pains me to confess that as a member of the hallowed NotGraphs brand, I find the straight curation of baseball ephemera somewhat distasteful. Despite the fact that I am a spiritual vulture, picking off the scraps of other people’s lives and accomplishments for my own (extremely) limited fame, I find it difficult to subsume my ego and present, without illustration, something that I cannot in some way be lauded for. It’s a perpetual conflict.
Then, from nowhere, Lenny Randle emerges, and sweeps the I out of the I and Thou.
Lenny Randle once punched his manager in the face for calling him a punk. He tried to blow a ball foul. He went to Italy and hit .477 one season. He came back to America and attempted a comeback among the strikebreakers in 1995, at the age of 46. He created a sports academy and mentorship program.
All of these facets of Lenny Randle, past and future, are combined in a single glorious three minutes of what can only, by the necessary reduction of the English language, be described as music. It is music in the sense that the bloodstream is music. It is driving over traffic cones. It is a protest against death. It is the 1982 B-side, “I’m a Ballplayer”.
“I’m a ballplayer,” Randle declares, and we are powerless to question or refuse. Then, when we are laid prone by this assault, he whispers: “Do you ever sleep alone?”
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