It has been a while since we graced the virtual pages here at Mastersball with a look at the Transactions.
And, in truth, for the most part, once the actual season begins, the daily moves generate a lot of interest for me with respect to understanding what is going on with teams, and the game, not to mention the fantasy baseball world (and my teams).
But, to a degree, the Transactions listing is a lot like the Obituaries in that they both pretty much show how much life on a particular plane a human has. And, while sadly sometimes we see a familar name listed with the obits, at other times we see the names of celebrities, as well, and both instances generally evoke those Proustian waves of memory.
For example, memories of an elementary school friend might bring up thoughts of a time in the school cafeteria when the prepared vegetable was less than palatable, and deserved of some action other than ingestion. Like a food fight. Or stuffing in the orafice of someone unsuspecting.
Like seeing that of a celebrity, like maybe a guy who was on a "Get Smart" episode that was both funny, and meaningful.
Well, seeing a name in the baseball Trannies does the same for me.
In the last week, these names, for example, have graced the Transactions on my favorite at a glance source at CBS Sportsline: Jorge Cantu (signed a minor league deal with the Angels); Mark Teahen (designated by the Jays); Anthony Rizzo (swapped by the Padres to the Cubs for Andrew Cashner); and John Bowker (released by the Phillies).
Well, if baseball is metaphor, what can explain life more than the hope we may have had for Jorge Cantu, or at least me, when I saw him as a 17-year old at the Cooperstown Hall of Fame game in 1999 as his journeyman career tries to stick with a team that has Kendrys Morales, Mark Trumbo, and that new guy named Albert Pujols capable of doing most of the work Jorge could do?
Or Mark Teahen, once a promising prospect with the Athletics, who like Cantu did at least have a season of belting 15-plus homers a couple of times, and both almost being the same age with Teahen born in September 1981, and Cantu January 1982. Like Cantu, he could not be consistent enough to really do it, despite being handed starting gigs in Kansas City at two spots.
As for Rizzo, he is where both Teahen and Cantu were back in the late 90's having been swapped, like Oakland let go of Teahen, to the Cubs where he will likely be the everyday first baseman. Right now, we hope he will be Derrek Lee. Truth is, he will more likely be somewhere between Cantu and Teahen (Cantu hit 104 homers while Teahen 67 over their careers) which really is not bad. I mean, making it to the Majors is, as Bob Eucker has always maintained, a pretty big deal.
But, I also remember John Bowker, who homered in his first game back in April of 2008 (I was there, scoring the game). Bowker made the transactions not because he was signed. Nor was he designated. Or swapped. He was released.
Bowker actually hit ten dingers that first season and was looked upon locally with favor at first, as the Giants tried to piece together the right parts to win a title, something that would elude them for just a couple of more years.
And they would do so ultimately without Bowker, who was unceremoniously swapped to the Pirates where he was good for 45 games (,233-2-15), and only 12 more with the Phillies (0-0-.000 over 13 at-bats last year).
Likely, for Bowker, life begins anew. In the real world where the rest of us function.