Each of us has an MLB Twin: that player, active or retired, whose age most closely approximates our own. Carson Cistulli’s, for instance, is Joe Valentine. Though the two share little apart from appearing insane, being ill-equipped to face major league hitters, and being raised by lesbians in Las Vegas, Cistulli can take some vicarious pleasure in the accomplishments of a man of his exact vintage. Dayn Perry’s MLB Twin, as is well known, is Boileryard Clarke; both men were born on October 18, 1868.
My MLB Twin has always been Kevin Frandsen. This is fine; I like Kevin Frandsen, especially since learning that he “is known for his love of Easter,” and “is known to dye eggs with his children all year round.” He’s not an exciting ballplayer, and he was actually born two full days after me, but I made my peace with the situation long ago. After all, it’s not like a better match was going to come along. Major league players don’t often appear at age 31+.
And then, in an American miracle, I learned of Ed Lucas. Around the time my mother was entering labor in North Carolina, Ed’s was delivering her baby boy in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Our tiny fetal souls, no doubt, exchanged fist-bumps on our way out of the tiny fetal soul place. But I lost track of Ed after that. Our paths diverged — but not all that far; while he was falling in love with baseball, I was doing the same, albeit in a somewhat lower-stakes manner. While Ed was attending a well-regarded school (Dartmouth), I was doing the same. While Ed was doggedly paying his dues through his twenties — in places like Burlington, Idaho Falls, Northwest Arkansas, High Desert — I was similarly toiling in peripatetic obscurity. And just when we were each on the verge of giving up hope, the very improbable happened. After nine and a half years in the minors, Ed Lucas was called up.
Because my own modest writerly skill quails before such a task, I yield to “Yahoo! Expert” Eric Adelson the job of describing the feeling of this moment:
The team flew together in high-fives and hugs, and Lucas felt “hot” – the physical feeling when all your emotions rush together and gather at the fringes of your skin.
Reader, let it be known that I felt “hot” as well — “hot” at the glimmer of hope offered by such an extraordinary happening; “hot” at the sudden, exhilarating notion that even at the wizened age of thirty-one, life still has surprises to offer.
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