A few minutes ago, I stepped onto the deck
of the house. From there I could see and hear the water,
and everything that’s happened to me all these years.
It was hot and still. The tide was out.
No birds sang. As I leaned against the railing
a cobweb touched my forehead.
It caught in my hair. No one can blame me that I turned
and went inside. There was no wind. The sea
was dead calm. I hung the cobweb from the lampshade.
Where I watch it shudder now and then when my breath
touches it. A fine thread. Intricate.
Before long, before anyone realizes,
I’ll be gone from here.
R. Carver. The Cobweb.
A few years ago Rob Neyer made a comparison between James Loney and Wes Parker. I think it was Neyer who made the comparison, but he was probably referencing a comparison he’d heard or read. The comparisons seemed to be apt and true. John Olerud was another. I think my dad may have made that comparison. Though Parker might have made a little more sense at the time. Lightish with the bat, heavyish with the glove.
We tend to make comparisons- especially with baseball. It grounds us. It connects us to something bigger and deeper. It is the vein that pumps the blood of time and history through our fragile souls. Mike Trout is to Mickey Mantle as Rickey Henderson is to Satchel Paige. Metaphor is the thing that allows hope to spring eternal.
So here we are. Spring has sprung. And the once lofty comparisons have begun to fade. James Loney, metaphorically speaking, is beginning to feel like the cobweb. There is a great deal of emotion wrapped in his success. His essence is, in some way, linked to that great revolution when the old was tossed into the metaphorical sea. We thought he would be great. We thought he would be eternal, possibly immortal, at least serviceable.
Now, the promise feels like a metaphorical memory. The cobweb, though not completely void of spider, might hold a little better if it were hanging from a lampshade. In the long run, none of it really matters. It’s all about movement. The refrain. The slowed pace of the music. The vacating spider and the hope that springs eternal. It all, in some weird way, beacons the SAT-esque:
James Loney : Ricky Jordan
Jerry Sands : ___________