Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Now that I've been moving a little further into my college career, I realize how different Gen Eds are from the much more intensive classes centered around my major.
I don't say this to brag, but I was able basically float through most of my Gen Eds without much of an effort. Now, I'm not saying Gen Eds can't be fun, because a lot of them are. One of them pretty much started me down the path towards my current major out of nowhere. Gen Eds are important, even if only a fraction of them are all that challenging.
I got to thinking about my past history with Gen Eds the other day when, all of a sudden, another one of those silly baseball card thoughts popped into my head. If there was a college for baseball cards, what kind of Gen Eds would it offer?
Due to the great and varied assortment of cards I found in an awesome package from my buddy Adam of the fantastic blog "Infield Fly Rule," I think I can piece together at least some of the course catalog from the (unfortunately fictitious) Cardboard University.
DUG 101: Dugout Shots through the Ages
The timeline for this class almost entirely cuts off at around 1980, as dugout shots haven't received much recognition in recent days. However, Adam gets extra credit for tracking this terrific 2011 Topps issue down.
It's a rare modern dugout shot and a card I've actually had my eye on for a long time now.
PASS 101: Personal Associations
Here, we'll be analyzing instinctive similarities between baseball cards, much like the inkblots one might encounter in the Psychology department.
Quick, name the first thing that comes to mind when you see this action-filled Hubie Brooks.
My mind instantly shoots to Doc Gooden's picturesque 1992 Stadium Club issue.
HORZ 101: The Art of the Horizontal
This class analyzes the positives and negatives of the horizontal baseball card.
Here, we investigate what is gained through the landscape orientation. Themes such as background, scenery, and overall border framing are discussed at length.
This Kyle Farnsworth is one of the many examples we will be deconstructing during the semester.
BACK 101: Card Back Appreciation
While the fronts of baseball cards may deserve the majority of our attention, let's not forget the flip sides.
More than anything else, this class hammers the idea that the backs are worthy of our appreciation as well. In some instances, the flip sides may outdo the fronts.
Examples such as Andres Galarraga's bulky '90s cell phone and Kirby Puckett's ill-advised home plate belly flop will be discussed on the first day of class.
RAND 101: The Value of Random
Students will never know what to expect when they walk into this class.
One day, we will analyze the serendipity of Rookie Davis's rookie card. The next, we'll delve into the history of presidents and their appearances on cardboard.
Our Board of Education has confirmed that Jose Canseco will make an appearance as a guest instructor in RAND 101 as well.
CLUB 101: Essential Functions of Stadium Club
This class gives a general overview of Stadium Club's long and storied history.
Topics such as the fitting full-bleed design and the brand's grand resurgence in 2014 are examples of what is found on the course's syllabus. Each student is asked to give a presentation about a particular favorite image from the Stadium Club brand.
Any student who utters the words Stadium Club sucks immediately fails.
MINI 101: Introduction to Mini-Collections
What is a mini-collection?
How do I start one?
What is the value of inventing a mini-collection?
All of these questions (and more) are answered in this course. Students are encouraged to build their own mini-collections throughout the semester.
If images of ballplayers signing autographs is your thing, go for it.
Or perhaps broken bats or double dips are up your alley.
Or maybe throwbacks or images of guys at the wall strike your fancy.
Or perhaps good ol' plays at the plate are more your style.
Whatever you choose, we at Cardboard U will support your decision. We're not so much concerned with what you collect. The sheer act of mini-collecting in and of itself is where we focus our attention.
That's all that matters.
MYST 101: Cardboard Mysteries
This class analyzes some of the anomalies and mysterious occurrences that constantly happen within the card collecting hobby.
For instance, the spooky tale of how one collector managed to track down the Opening Day, Chrome, and Chrome Refractor variations of this Jose/Bengie Molina card without being able to find the standard base version is presented.
It took the generosity of someone halfway across the country to finally bring the mystery to an end.
BO 101: Bo Knows
The only course material required for this class is a 300-page textbook found in the bookstore, located in Cardboard U's campus center.
The book is entitled Bo Knows, and all 300 pages simply have the words BO KNOWS repeated over and over again on each and every page.
BO KNOWS. BO KNOWS. BO KNOWS. BO KNOWS. BO KNOWS.
The objective of this course is to understand that BO KNOWS.
COLL 101: Principles of Player Collecting
This class is an investigation into the art of player collecting.
With any luck, students will be able to differentiate between player collecting and sheer hoarding. (The two are closely linked.)
This class offers a competitive program that challenges students to build the biggest and most comprehensive player collection of their choice. The winner will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Chicago to present their collection at the 2015 National Card Convention.
It's one of the several perks of attending Cardboard U.
ODD 101: Making Sense of the Odd
Students will be exposed to the vast array of oddities that have been issued throughout the history of baseball cards in this course.
Everything from movie-themed oddballs to backflips will be covered. The objective is to somehow attempt to make sense of all this craziness.
Or something like that.
We're not even sure, frankly.
SWAP 101: The Benefits of Trading
Finally, this course discusses the wide range of benefits of trading with fellow collectors.
Students will be required to send packages out to various parts of the country as part of their final grade. An extra credit paper discussing how great it is that other people can send them cards that they perhaps would have never found in their neck of the woods is also offered.
However, students are not required to know what a Factory Set Limited Edition parallel is in this Gen Ed class. That's something for a 300-level course.
You won't have to worry about those until you're well into your major at Cardboard U.