While Jerry Seinfeld nearly said that we all root for laundry, there’s something noble about the idea. Fandom, in itself, is transient; the thrill of one game disappears into the tension of the next. Yesterday’s heroes, with the natural exception of Dick Allen and Rick Reuschel, fade from memory. Our fabric is immutable evidence of our existence in this world, something that goes beyond the bounds of feelings and words. The dirt stains are our cave paintings; they connect us to history.
My original intention for this piece was to provide a full wardrobe of authentic, game-used paraphernalia as sold on eBay. Clad in these, the ghosts of the baseball ancestors would guide your arm, and your foes would fall before you. But as I dug further into my research I found myself strangely compelled by some of the items up for bid, not for their utility or their aesthetics, but for their silent lamentations. After all, not every artifact can radiate the success and fortune of Jon Voight’s automobile. With that in mind, enjoy this, the detritus of our national pastime.
First, there are the shoes worn by Joey Cora ($29.00). As a pair of cleats alone costs more than $29.00, we can only infer that the essence of Cora in these shoes is somewhat less valuable than their depreciation. One assumes that the structural integrity of the leather has been weakened by copious tears.
For even less, it was possible to buy the broken bat of former healthy human being Eric Chavez ($25.00). I cannot think of a more fitting representation for Chavez’s career than this picture. It hurts me to look at it. The only more fitting baseball metaphor in existence might be Jason Kendall’s actual still-beating heart, but that would violate eBay’s terms and conditions.
Finally, there’s the A-2000 glove worn by Steve Trout ($525.00). It’s not easy to put a price on things. I sold an elliptical machine online last weekend, and the dozen phone calls I received within a couple hours informed me that I might have failed in properly valuing my own merchandise. So let’s not judge Steve Trout too harshly for his admittedly debatable price point for what could be “perhaps the final glove he used in his career.” For Trout, selling his glove for a mere half-thousand dollars is likely forcing him to part with it for a mere fraction of its sentimental value. It may be what he needs to close a chapter on his life and move on with a new future; we cannot say. The all-caps Trout employs in his listing obscures the emotions in his heart.
Personally, I can’t afford his glove, or even his 2003 Calgary Outlaws jersey. But if possible, I’d like to add to Steve Trout’s 100% positive feedback. We’re all looking for evidence that our existence is something concrete and meaningful. Keep reaching out, Steve.