Friday, November 9, 2012

Being a grown up and stuff

There's a lot of reasons to love this hobby.

I'd never be able to cover them all in one post. I don't think anyone could.

Some of them, I've realized from day one. I knew that collecting would be "fun" the minute I opened my first pack of cards.

Others sneak up and hit me like a bolt of lightning. Up until I started this blog, I'd never known just how much I enjoy talking and conversing about cardboard.

Yet, a select few aspects of collecting materialize over time.

As I've gotten a bit older, I've begun to notice something.

Although most bloggers probably have a few years on me, that doesn't mean that baseball cards can't make a college student like myself feel like a "kid" again.

Because they do.

Most of the time, it takes a real "grown up" moment for me to realize that.

This afternoon, I went down to a local Dollar Tree to turn in a job application. With winter break and the holidays coming up, I have to at least try and find some sort of work.

It's the grown up thing to do.

As has been the case with most of the applications I've filled out over the last few years, they didn't have anything available for me right now. But they'd let me know.

While walking out, I noticed that this particular dollar store actually had a decent selection of baseball cards available.

I figured I'd reward my "grown-up self" with a few packs. No matter how old I get, the sound of breaking the seal off a pack of baseball cards never fails to get my heart racing.

It always makes me feel like a kid.

To my surprise, they actually had a box full of 2012 Panini Triple Play packs available. I'd never seen that from a dollar store before.

Because I'm on a budget for a card show next week, I didn't get too crazy. I limited myself to one pack, which mostly proved to be a dud.

Still, I can't complain with a new piece for my Ichiro "puzzle". I own four of the nine pieces at the moment.

I haven't been able to complete the nine-card puzzles of any of the players in the checklist. If I had to choose one player, I'd go for the Ichiro one.


However, these are what really caught my eye.

I've seen variations of these miscellaneous dollar store repacks during my time in the blogosphere. Every time I do, I can't help but think...

"Why can't I find one of those?"

Well, I did. I finally did!

Thirty baseball cards for a buck. About three cents a card. Not a bad deal at all.

With these types of things, just ripping the pack open and digging through those cards is worth the dollar. Anything I actually need from them is strictly a bonus.

Again, I probably would've gone wild with these if I wasn't on a strict card show budget.

Even so, I couldn't help but pick up a couple of them.

As you can see from the image of the wrapper, there's a little "window" that lets you peek inside the pack.

Sort of like the "coming attractions" at the movie theater.

This Mattingly was visible through the "window" of the first pack. Even though I don't really collect him, it looked like a nice card, one I'd like to have.

The surprises were just beginning.

I figured the repack would basically be all '80s and '90s cards.

While that was mostly the case, a few recent "gems" managed to poke their way inside as well. Never did I think a Chrome card would actually make an appearance, though.

By the way, that reminds me.

I really need to clean my scanner.

As far as I know, that one completes my "sunset" collection of Lee Mazzilli. I now own his Topps, Fleer, and Donruss cards from 1990.

Cherish this now, because you'll probably never hear me say it again.

I'm actually glad I found a card from 1990 Donruss.

I hope I'm not going crazy.

The back of each wrapper said that I was "guaranteed" a Hall of Famer in every bag.

Yet, unless Mattingly or Scott Spiezio have somehow recently been elected to Cooperstown without my knowledge, I was shorted. No HOFer for me.

Bob MacDonald is not impressed.

The second pack didn't yield a Hall of Famer, either.

Still, it didn't need one. It proved to be a whole lot better than the first.

This neat landscape card of Mr. Sheffield certainly stood out from all the boring Jim Slatons and Craig Worthingtons.

My mischievous thirteen year-old self would've probably been tempted to scribble a giant "S" in front of the word "hit" on this card.

As it turns out, my twenty year-old self is no different.

Maybe I am still a kid, after all.

My pre-blogger self probably wouldn't have pulled the trigger on either of these repacks.

After all was said and done, they only yielded a small handful of cards for my binders.

Again, though, I've realized that what I need or don't need isn't all that relevant with these things. It's about the experience.

With a pack of 2012 Topps, I pretty much know what I'm getting. Ten 2012 Topps cards. Pretty simple.

On the other hand, these are very much like a grab bag. You never know what might pop up.

Maybe it's just a funny card of Bob Horner sporting some legendary glasses. Or Doyle Alexander looking like he's about sixty years old.

No, they're not all that shiny or flashy. They're not serial numbered. They're not parallels.

They get the job done, though.

Both football and wrestling cards fell out of my supposed 30-card pack of baseball cards.

I guess the dollar store repack inspection coalition took the day off.

This was one of the better "gems" of the repack.

Evidently, the people at the repack company felt the same way. They liked it so much, in fact, that they gave me two copies.

From what I can tell, Topps magazine held some sort of contest that gave fans the opportunity to design their very own baseball card. The winners actually saw their "masterpieces" printed and given away with the magazine sometime during the '90s.

I can see why this one of Robin Ventura made its way onto the printing presses. It's got a very 1970's variety show-like feel to it.

Even with that, I think the next card earns the "Best of the Repack" title.

I've always had a weakness for Jim Abbott cards.

This one was visible through the little "window" of the second repack. Once I saw that, I knew it was a winner.

It borders on "oddball" status, given that it's from the rarely-mentioned Classic set. (A set that produced one of my favorite "gems" of the era, incidentally.)


A cartoonish Ichiro "puzzle piece", a cherished "sunset" card of Lee Mazzilli, a "trippy" Robin Ventura, a spiffy Don Mattingly, and a brand-spankin'-new Jim Abbott card? And I got to experience the good ol' joy of ripping open some packs?

All for a few bucks?

Can't beat that.

Well, I must be going now. More job applications to fill out, you know.

Don't you remember?

I'm a grown up now.

At least when I'm not collecting baseball cards.


Mark Kaz said...

Very cool Ventura card(s)! Hey, for a buck you really can't go wrong, right?

I have Dollar General stores near me, but none of them carry cards. I think there is probably a Dollar Tree somewhere. Gotta find one, cos I'd love to rip into one or two of these!

TTG said...

That's crazy; I just went to Dollar Tree the night before last and picked up a pack of Triple Play and a repack. In my case the repack was only a twenty-carder but still...