Thursday, August 30, 2012

The inbetweeners

For a lot of people, collections revolve mostly on the basis that the baseball card world is black and white.

Some can say, "I only collect this player" or "I'm only building these two sets right now". There's not a lot of wiggle room when it comes their version of card collecting.

I'm the complete opposite.

There's a lot of gray area when it comes to my collection.

Maybe there's a part of me that envies the type of collector who can only collect one or two sets or players.

Ah, who am I kidding? It's so much fun to just collect whatever my heart desires! If I only chose a couple players to collect, what the heck would I come back with from card shows? A card or two?

This is the way I was meant to collect.

Sure, I can definitively say "I collect Prince Fielder" and "I don't collect Nate McLouth". (My apologies to any McLouth fans out there.)

While my collection might seem a bit scattered to some of my readers, I promise you that there is a rhyme and reason to it, and it's all nicely categorized. (Don't worry, you'll never see me on that Hoarders show.)

But for whatever reason, there's a few guys that make up the small percentage of "gray area" amongst my player collections.

They're what I like to call "The Inbetweeners". (At least since I started watching the show off Netflix last week.)

And "inbetweener" number one is Mr. Miguel Cabrera.

It's odd that I've placed one of the best hitters of my generation into this category.

So what exactly makes Cabrera a part of this club?

Well, I've never specifically sought out any of his cards. I don't usually trade for anything of his. For whatever reason, he's just not that high on my priority list.

However, should I come across any of his cards in dime boxes, I'll gladly buy them. They're responsible for about 90 percent of my Cabrera collection at the moment.

Dime boxes are perfect for "the inbetweeners" because of their low cost.

Perhaps I'll upgrade Cabrera to one of my "all-out" player collections in the future. Only time will tell.

For now, he'll have to live with being an inbetweener.

Considering that I own almost 100 different Jose Reyes cards, he's a questionable pick for this category.

I've specifically sought out his 2012 issues of him in a Marlins uniform. I guess technically, Reyes is only part "inbetweener".

Still, I've never gotten to excited over any of his Mets cards. (This one being an exception.)

The only reason I've accumulated so many of his cards is that he's one of the more common dime box guests known to man. (I purchased about 20 Reyes cards from a single dime box last year.)

That's not to say that I don't treasure my Reyes cards, because I do. It's doesn't get much better than the awesome Turkey Red issue you see above these words.

Heck, I used to not collect Reyes at all.

He's working his way up the ladder in my collection.

I guess you could say he's at the "middle management" phase right now.

The time has come to showcase my favorite "inbetweener" card.

Frankly, I'm a little surprised that this is its first appearance on this blog.

It was the centerpiece of one of the craziest packs of baseball cards I've ever opened.

I used to buy packs from my local K-Mart on a fairly regular basis, back when they actually had new releases on the shelves. (Nowadays, I feel like I'm trapped in 2009 whenever I find myself in their card aisle.)

Most fans probably remember the huge buzz surrounding "Dice-K" when he first entered the big leagues back in '07. I especially remember the hype in the cardboard industry.

One innocent K-Mart pack of 2007 Topps Series 2 capitalized on that "hype" more than I could ever imagine. That one pack netted me both the base rookie and Japanese-variation rookie of Matsuzaka.

That was the highest point of my "Dice-K" collection. It's all been pretty much downhill for the last five years. (I guess the same could be said of Matsuzaka himself.)

Jose Reyes managed to work his way up to being an inbetweener.

Daisuke Matsuzaka has been the opposite. He's fallen down the "corporate ladder".

In a lot of ways, these "inbetweeners" are what make collecting so much fun for me. They're like a "side project", which never hurt when it comes to collecting baseball cards. After all, I'm sure most of us have a few "projects" on the horizon.

They're also a great reminder that only one person can decide what I want to collect.


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