Tuesday, July 17, 2012
He's new here
Part of the fun of discount boxes is the "randomness" factor.
For those you who have read through any of my card show or flea market posts, I bet it seems like there's no rhyme or reason to the cards I buy.
Believe it or not, there is.
And every "keeper" card I own is properly filed into one of "the binders", under my own organizational system. (Which was the subject of my first-ever blog post.)
I pride myself on my organization and filing tactics, and I concur with what a fellow blogger recently said on the topic.
To paraphrase, a lack of baseball card clutter makes my mind uncluttered as a result.
My binders are literally filled with hundreds of different players. Part of it is just random, but I have a specific reason for collecting most of the guys in "the binders". (Especially the more obscure ones.)
For a long time, it was the same group of players in the binder. For whatever reason, I couldn't bring myself to add any new players to the collection.
My stance has loosened considerably within the last few months, as I've added a few new guys to the binders.
All of them have that "personal link". And all of them deserve to be recognized in my collection, as far as I'm concerned.
A quick side note: Since my "collections" of most of these guys are just starting, I can use almost any base or inserts you might have lying around of the players I'll be featuring in this post. Feel free to contact me if you have any extras available.
The "inspiration" for the new additions to my binders was Mike Stanton. Or Giancarlo Stanton. Whatever his name is. (For what it's worth, the 1990's/2000's pitcher Mike Stanton is also in my binders.)
It's staggering to think that he's only a little more than two years older than me.
I've said this before on this blog, but I'll say it again. He has the most raw power of any player I've seen in my lifetime.
If that doesn't earn him a spot in my collection, I don't know what will.
Speaking of "raw power", how about Mark Trumbo?
I'm not altogether sure why I didn't put him in the binder earlier. Power aside, he plays for my favorite non-Chicago team in all of sports with the Angels.
While I wasn't able to catch much of the Home Run Derby this year, I did see Trumbo's first round performance. It blew me away.
My sincerest apologies for keeping you out of my collection this long, Mr. Trumbo.
Although my collection of Andrew McCutchen is just starting out, I already have a "centerpiece" for it.
I pounced on his '05 Topps Update rookie card when I saw it in a quarter box at the flea market last year. Rookie cards of rising stars make for fantastic tradebait, much less one that only cost me a quarter in the first place. By now, I was surprised it was still in my trade pile.
I guess it was a blessing in disguise, as it made the move from a forgotten trade stack of cards to the hallowed "binders".
McCutchen has blown me away with the way he's played so far this year. I can't believe I'm saying this, but the Pirates might be on their way to a playoff spot if he keeps playing the way he has. Not to mention that he's already a prime NL MVP candidate this year.
Not a bad pickup at all for a quarter.
I've had the good fortune to see two games at Miller Park within the last couple years.
The first time, I got to see the "John Axford show" when he emerged from the bullpen. Between the blasting heavy metal music and just the sheer atmosphere of the ballpark when he entered the game, it was one of the most interesting ballpark experiences I've ever been through. (Although I'm not a heavy metal fan by any means.)
Although he's struggled so far in 2012, I'm still pulling for Axford and his awesome 1800's-style mustache.
Not to mention that Axford was signed an undrafted free agent back in '06.
I find it hard to root against "underdogs" like him.
It's really an abomination that I didn't welcome this guy into "the binders" until now.
At the least, he should've been in nine months ago.
Game 6 of last year's World Series was the greatest baseball game I have ever seen. That's not an exaggeration, either.
To see Freese come up clutch twice in one game like he did was beyond belief. Some of my friends who don't even like baseball were talking about David Freese the next day, much to my surprise.
Anyone who can do that should've earned a spot in my collection a long, long time ago.
I'm glad R.A. Dickey is in "the binders" now.
At the very least, it means I get to keep this card. While I wasn't a huge fan of this year's Gypsy Queen set, I'll be the first to admit that this is one great piece of cardboard.
My favorite pitch in baseball isn't the overpowering 100-MPH fastball. It's not the knee-buckling 12-to-6 curve.
It's the mysterious knuckleball.
No one knows where it's going. Not the catcher, not the hitter. Not even the pitcher, for the most part.
I've never seen a better knuckler than the one Dickey throws. The fact that he managed to revive his career with the wacky pitch at 37 years young is a great story.
Something like that couldn't really happen in football or basketball. R.A. Dickey is a great example of why baseball will always my favorite sport, in a nutshell.
Sure, I would've loved to have seen a knuckleballer start the All-Star game. But I had no problem with the guy Tony LaRussa picked.
Speaking of that...
Matt Cain is the newest of my "binder inductees".
Giants ace and the winning pitcher of the 2012 All-Star game is now in my collection, thankfully.
Not to mention that perfect game he tossed.
There's a few moments in baseball history that I'll never forget. Again, there's Game 6 of last year's World Series. Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit. Roy Halladay's NLDS no-hitter from a couple years ago. The White Sox ending their World Series drought in '05.
I'd put Cain's perfecto among those moments.
Gregor Blanco's catch during that game was one of the best I've seen, if not the best. The anticipation between every pitch during the 9th inning was something else.
Witnessing the massive celebration after the eventful final out made me especially proud to be a baseball fan.
For that, Matt Cain certainly earned a rightful place in my collection.
I'm sure there's a few more "inductees" on the horizon that will join the likes of Dickey and Trumbo in my binders. I'm not sure who they'll be, though.
We'll just have to see what baseball has in store for us.