Archive for Topps

Twitter sale is reminder that “value” of cards varies from person to person

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , , on January 23, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

For about a year I’ve had six 500-count boxes sitting on my card desk. The boxes contained partial baseball and football Topps sets from 1980-1985.

They were partial/starter sets I acquired with the intent to either 1) complete the sets, or 2) sell them to someone who needed them.

Well, they sat … and sat … and sat.

The mere sight of them often sent me into a tailspin as I could not muster the idea of spending an hour to determine what was there so I could post it on eBay with hopes that someone would take them off my hands. The resell value wasn’t nearly as good as I had hoped.

And then yesterday, after dropping off my kids at school, something clicked. Just get them out of the house, and reduce that stress.

So I spent 30 minutes counting the cards that we’re within and then offered the lots for sale on Twitter, which is sometimes hit and miss for sales on items that are not presently hot in our hobby.

For about 10 minutes the post sat. Then a follower of mine hit the DM and said he was interested.

This sale was confirmed and I was happy to hear the cards were going to a good home. What’s even better is the buyer advised they would essentially replace cards he lost in a flood some 30-plus years ago.

The economic value of the starter sets isn’t high — and the buyer understood that. The lots were void of the big star rookies and even the stars. But this also reset the notion of “value” for me a bit.

I had approached this the wrong way. I was looking at “value” based on what I saw on eBay, and the lack of “big payday” actually was hindering my process. Hell, at one point I was even regretting the purchase I made when I acquired these … because in some ways I had placed no value in the cards themselves because they no longer fit my collecting style.

But this transaction is a win-win for Scott (the buyer) and myself. Not only did I get the items out of my house and into a collector’s hands, but it was humbling and served a reminder that the value of our cards — while often tied to money — is often a personal experience.

One could look at these boxes as stacks of commons and donate them or toss them in the trash. Another could look at these partial sets and see potential, but then sit on then for years and gain stress from not moving them. And yet another person could look at the lot and see items representing a piece of their childhood.

The sale didn’t make me rich or even net me a profit; but it made me feel like I had made a giant sale as I had lightened my load and recouped a portion of what I spent on these cards and others.

Baseball Hall of Fame `Class of 2019′ in rookie cards

Posted in Hall of Fame Rookie Cards with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

For the first time in several years I’ve been excited to see the announcement of the newest class of Cooperstown. I’m not going to dwell on the fact that my guy, Roger Clemens, still didn’t make it — although I appreciate that he is trending upward.

That said, Tuesday afternoon it was announced that Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was the first unanimous selection to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and joining him in the Class of 2019 are pitchers Mike Mussina and Roy Halladay, and designated hitter Edgar Martinez. Those four players were elected by the Baseball Writers of America and join the previously announced closer Lee Smith and Designated Hitter Harold Baines who were elected to the Hall in December by committee vote.

I’m a Red Sox fan and I cannot deny the greatness of Mariano. While I hated seeing him close out games against my team, I appreciated his pure dominance. And he was humble and emotional at the same time. One of my favorite scenes is watching him crumble on the mound after winning one of his first World Series titles. I’m proud to say I own a BGS Mint 9 copy of his 1992 Bowman rookie card. Also, one of my favorite inserts in my collection is his 1997 Bowman Best International Preview Atomic Refractor.

Mussina is one of the guys I pulled for in 1992, a year after his rookie cards actually hit the market I distinctly remember seeing his 1992 Ultra card — that set was super premium quality at the time — selling for $3 to $5 at my LCS, and remember the first time he was on the cover of Beckett Baseball. Moose was filthy, and it was a joy to watch his career. My favorite of his rookie cards is the 1991 Fleer Ultra Update, which I own in a BGS Mint 9. In terms of inserts, his 1996 Pacific Flame Throwers sticks out in my collection.

“Bad Ass.” That’s how I liked to think of Roy Halladay, both in real life and as a fantasy player. This guy was so fun to watch; and in our fantasy league was a source of controversy as there was at least one guy who thought he was overrated. Nope. Not one bit. One of my favorite memories of Halladay is that no-hitter he threw in Game One of the NLDS. This was four days after my son was born, and I remember sitting at home on the couch with him in my arms when the final pitch was thrown. I was genuinely sad when I learned Roy had died in 2017. I was at work driving around when word started to spread. The only graded rookie card I own of Roy is his 1997 Bowman, BGS Mint 9, which holds a special place in my heart because that 1997 set is the first Bowman set I actually built. I do own a few copies of his Bowman Chrome rookie in raw condition, however it is the International version of that Chrome rookie card that I like to think of when it comes to my favorite inserts or parallels in my collection.

I loved watching Edgar Martinez play, especially on those mid to late 1990s Seattle Mariner teams with when he had other hitters around him like Ken Griffey Jr, Alex Rodriguez and Jay Buhner. The DH position is often shunned in baseball circles, but this dude could hit. I really enjoyed his batting stance and watching him make solid contact with the ball. He has two rookie cards, and only one of them actually pictures him. I have several copies of his 1988 Fleer card, which I sadly do not own in a graded case. It’s shown here in a one touch solely for display purposes. I’ll have to add a Mint 9 or better BGS copy at some point — but I will not overpay for one right now. When it comes to inserts, Edgar’s Elite Series card is the one that catches my eye.

Whether or not you believe Lee Smith or Harold Baines belong in the Hall of Fame, fact remains they are in and were good players. I remember Smith being the closer for the Red Sox just as I was really getting into the sport — and he was dominant. Maybe not Dennis Eckersley dominant, but a stud nonetheless. When I think of Harold Baines I do think of a very good hitter. I LOVED his batting stance and often emulated it in Whiffle Ball games in the parking lot of my apartment complex — I got to watch him a lot in the early 1990s when he played in Oakland. I own a 1982 Topps Lee Smith in BGS Mint 9, and a 1981 Topps Harold Baines in a BGS 6 — which is comical, but was a must-buy when I found it for $2 at the LCS. I’ll probably update at some point.

The hidden shame of collectors

Posted in Project Organize with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Funny story, last week, my ex-wife contacted me via text message and told me about this new show she was watching on Netflix called “Tidying Up.” The premise of the show being that the host had a methodology for de-cluttering one’s home and helping folks reacquaint themselves with their items. My Ex instantly reached out to me because in the second episode, they were dealing with a husband who had amassed a large amount of baseball cards.

Later that same day, my girlfriend – which feels like a silly title, but we’ve been together for almost a year and a half now – told me about the same show. And of course, the same reason she thought of me was because of the second episode, which I shall forever now refer to as the “baseball card episode.”

And so last night, while I was working on Project Organize, I took a break to watch the show. While the episode does not spend a lot of time discussing the baseball card issue, it does give a broad overview of show participant Ron Akiyama’s card collecting habit and storage. Basically, he had collected cards with his two sons for three decades and now he has amassed so many cards that the pile of boxes literally touches the ceiling.

I’m not here to judge Ron. Hell, Ron, if you read this, I thank you for sharing your story.  My family has had the same issues you and your wife dealt with before this show and I know it can be very difficult to admit the issue, let alone tell others (or the world in this case) about it and then let people inside your world to offer suggestions.

I digress, Ron’s passion for cards is one that looks like a familiar story for many of us, especially those of us who grew up or collected during the late 1980s and early 1990s – we owned everything and still own everything, so it’s a ton of shit.

This episode struck home for me because I am in the middle of my own Project Organize. I’ve been trying to determine what makes me happy, or “sparks joy” – to use a phrase from show host Marie Kondo. The idea of course is not to dump everything and quit the hobby, but to really assess what you own, think about why you own it, and determine if you still need or want to own it.

This area has been a sore spot for me because I’ve felt a lot of shame in the amount of stuff that I feel I’ve accumulated, and this idea that I am still participating in a hobby that many think – or thought – was meant for kids. And I’d venture to say there are a lot of others who find themselves in the same spot. What’s important that we understand that it’s perfectly healthy for us to have a hobby — this hobby — and not allow the feelings of guilt surrounding spending and clutter consume our lives to make us feel like we’re living under an adult-size Jenga Tower of boxes, which is how much of Ron’s collection appeared.

In the process of doing Project Organize – which began before I even heard of this show — I’ve found myself being re-acquainted with items I forgot had, and I am truly starting to enjoy this hobby again. And this joy, honestly, is more valuable than any single card I could pull today.

 

 

Project Organize: Big Problem With Small Cards

Posted in Misc., Project Organize with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

As mentioned recently, the only real hobby goal I have for 2019 is to be more organized.  What that will eventually look like is somewhat unknown.  But my initial plan was to move a lot of cards out of boxes and into binder pages.

I set the ground work for this on Black Friday when I purchased a box of 100 BCW 15-pocket pages from Blowout Cards to house tobacco size cards. (side note, I prefer Ultra Pro Products but a sale is a sale.) Up to this point I had a few hundred already in a binder, but I had several hundred more just sitting in other boxes.  The odd size makes them fun, but also presents storage challenges.

So Wednesday night while watching the Golden State Warriors take down the New York Knicks I decided to get cracking on this “small” problem.

I located two plastic boxes that housed my Gypsy Queen, Allen & Ginter, Golden Age minis … and then I located even more in another box. And as I kept looking I kept finding these little cards mixed in all over the place. It was akin to when you visit someone with a pet – suddenly you start finding cat and dog hair everywhere.

So I culled them (at least what I was finding in front of me) and placed them on my ottoman. Then I located my binder of minis and realized I have a HUGE problem with these little cards: I freaking love them … but do I love them all? Like do I love them all enough to keep them all?

Am I the only one with this problem?

I know of at least one other guy, (what’s up, Olds?) who also enjoys the minis, but does anyone else actually collect them, or are they merely piling up because they feel special and you can’t get rid of them?

Personally, I really enjoy the Ginter minis, but I’ve yet to really find a focus with them. And while I am building a 2014 Gypsy Queen mini set (I’ll post a need list later), a lot of the stuff – including dupes — just sits there.

If you’re in search of anything from 2010-present with minis let me know, I’ve probably got something you need.

My kid has shown an interest in cards!

Posted in Dad Life with tags , , , , , , , on November 11, 2018 by Cardboard Icons

“Dad, it’s like real cardboard …”

For a parent card collector these words coming from the mouth of your offspring are priceless, especially when you’ve just introduced them to their first true vintage addition to their fledgling card collection.

I’ve been a baseball card guy for more than three decades, having begun my card adventure when I was just seven years old, shortly after moving to the suburbs from the Big City. And I now have two children, the oldest pushing 10 years, and the other having just turned 8.

I always envisioned that one day my card collecting habits would one day rub off on my children, and up to this point there has been very little interest. Kids these days don’t know what it’s like to not be able to get information or entertainment at the blink of an eye or the touch of a screen. Collectors from my generation and those before know the struggle all too well, having to buy and handle newsprint, and in some cases using baseball cards as our method of learning and remember statistics and even historic events.

I introduced my kids to cards many years ago. They’ve both opened packs; attended shows and shops with me, and often see me rummaging through my boxes and piles. But until recently, there had been very little real interest. I’ve given my kids packs, especially my son, who in many ways is my Mini Me. But he hasn’t truly enjoyed then; he’s busy, swiping and button mashing.

And then just a few days ago, without my prompting, he walked over to the bookshelf, took out his binder of cards – many of which are 2016 Topps Bunt, the last product that he and I really broke together, and he started flipping through his pages.

Like many starting to collect, my son had placed every card he owns into 9-pocket sheets and in a binder with no regard for organization. His baseball cards were next to his football ones, and even some random basketball and Olympics cards sprinkled in.

I watched him from a distance and then he comes over to me and says, “Dad, I’m going to sort these by sport.” The later he brings the binder to me and says, “Can you tell me if any of these are good.”

The question as to whether or not a card is good is very subjective. I know for a fact that none of his cards at the time carried any sort of premium, or really any desire outside of his own. But I am not in the business of crushing budding collector’s souls with a statement like that. And so we flipped through, page by page, and I called out every All Star, every Hall of Famer and every Red Sox, Athletics or Giants card we saw. I wanted him to appreciate what he has, not be so concerned with what the cards are worth.

My son continued to look at his cards for a bit; and I even gave him a larger Collector D-Ring binder, all while teaching him the importance of moving the entire stack of sheets to the flat side of the D-Ring before closing the cover.

My son and daughter went to stay with their mother for a few days and when they returned, I told my son that I had a new card for him, one that I had picked up from a Local Card Shop, one that I never owned as a kid collector. It was a 1995 Pinnacle Ken Griffey Jr., an iconic card showing The Kid being a kid, blowing a massive bubble with his gun. It was my generation’s version of the iconic 1976 Kurt Bevacqua card. I got the card for $1.

I presented the card to my kid and his response was “What the heck?! He and his sister giggled about the large bubble Ken blew in the image. I had succeeded; they cared about the card.

And so I began thinking about items I could gift to my son, cards that he could add to his collection, items that had some sort of meeting, and not just run-of-the-mill commons I had sitting around. I looked through stacks on my desk and found two cards that I thought would be nice additions. The first was a Lonzo Ball Hoops rookie card. Both of my kids know who Ball is because he made an appearance on Fuller House on Netflix, a show the kids watch and re-watch just like I used to watch re-runs of The Wonder Years. They laughed when I showed it to them.

The second card? The aforementioned vintage card, a 1972 Topps World Series Game 4 Highlights card of Roberto Clemente. But before I showed them the card, I told them the story of Clemente, about his baseball skill and his true heroism, his fatal humanitarian effort in Nicaragua.

The kids were astonished by the story. And then I presented the Clemente to my son so he could put it in his binder. The card isn’t worth a ton of money, but it was the kind of card that served as a teaching point, one that I hope he’ll remember forever.

I handed him the card in a penny sleeve and top loader, and he surveyed it and then removed it – By the way, I taught him how to smack the palms of his hands together to insert and remove cards from Top Loaders – so he could place it in his binder next to the aforementioned Griffey card. His words were priceless.

“Dad, it’s like real cardboard…”

I then told him that’s how baseball cards used to be. I pointed to the showcase on the wall and explained that that’s how cards used to made, and every single one of the cards in the case were made the same way, only they were now living inside a plastic Beckett Grading Services slab inside the showcase.

I don’t know if my son will end up loving cards in a week, in a year, in a decade, or if he cares that the cards I’ve accumulated will end up being the possessions of him and his sister at some point. But these last few weeks have been promising; perhaps one day he will understand completely my passion for this hobby, even if it drags me down at times.

The Greatest Baseball Experience of my life: Attending the Red Sox 2018 World Series clincher (Game 5)

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2018 by Cardboard Icons

This grown man cried. And it was the second time I cried at a baseball game, and both instances involved the Boston Red Sox.

Moments after Dodgers third baseman Manny Machado flailed at Chris Sale’s final pitch Sunday during Game 5 of the 2018 World Series — an apropos ending to a horrendous three weeks of baseball for the soon-to-be free agent — the flood gates opened.

My eyes burned. My nose tingled. The tears began to roll down my face. The Boston Red Sox were champions again, and this time I was there to witness it in person.

For more than three decades I have been a Red Sox fan. And for almost as long as that fandom has been alive, it had been a fantasy of mine to not only see a World Series game featuring the Red Sox, but to see them clinch the sport’s top prize. The scenario was something I never saw as a possibility, primarily because I live on the West Coast and couldn’t see the Sox ever facing off against the Giants — the local National League team — in the Fall Classic.

But when the Dodgers wrapped up their series against the Brewers to clinch their second-straight National League crown, my head started spinning: Could this be a possibility?

**

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in a time where the Oakland Athletics were at the top of the sport. I had my favorite Oakland player, his name was Mark McGwire. And every day after school I’d run home hoping that there would be a game on. You see, I was so naive initially that I didn’t even have the schedule down.  All I knew was that I would occasionally turn on 560 AM KSFO and hear the golden voice of baseball Bill King calling the final innings of what I’d learn was a midweek day game.  And when I wasn’t listening to the games, I was fighting my sister to allow me to watch the A’s play on KICU TV-36. We had one television in the house; and I was one of two children.

With that said, you’d think the A’s were my favorite team. And in some ways you wouldn’t be wrong. I definitely chose Oakland over the regional rival San Francisco Giants, especially when they faced off in the 1989 World Series.

I digress. By this point you might be asking yourself how the hell did I become a Red Sox fan?

The answer: William Roger Clemens.

***

I started following baseball in 1987, about a year after my family moved to the South Bay from San Francisco.  I was merely 7 at the time when I was befriended by two brothers who lived in the same apartment building. They are the ones who introduced me to the greatness of baseball cards. Many years before, my mother had introduced me to collecting when she bought Garbage Pail Kids; but it was the brothers from two floors above who brought the combination of cards and baseball into my life. And it didn’t hurt that there was card shop literally across the street, probably no more than the distance from home plate to the middle of center field.

One of the brothers was a massive Oakland A’s fan, and his favorite player was McGwire. Who could blame him.  His brother somehow became a fan of New York Mets outfielder Darryl Strawberry. The question was posed: Ben, who or what do you collect?

The answer became Roger Clemens.

I’d never seen The Rocket pitch in person at this point. I believe my following of Clemens came from the fact that I had a handful of his 1987 Topps All Star cards and had seen him pitch against the A’s on television. So, me wanting to be different and not collect the same exact things my friends did, I chose Clemens … and The Red Sox.

From the moment I made my collecting choices, my fandom became stronger … even if the team was not really any good. Hell, by this point the Sox were a mere year or two removed from the 1986 World Series when the team collapsed and were defeated by the Mets.

For Christmas 1990 my mother bought me a Boston Red Sox book that I believe she had to ordered through the mail since we lived on the West Coast.  And for my 11th Birthday my father took me a store called “The Sports Fanatic,” which was kind of a big deal.  The store sold authentic hats, jerseys and jackets. My loot for my 11th birthday?  An Authentic Boston Red Sox fitted cap, and a legit Starter Sox Jacket, which I still have to this day. I even have a Identification Card from an old mini golf and go kart place showing me wearing the hat. The ID card was created Jan. 4, 1992.

***

For years the Red Sox seemed to come through Oakland early in the season, usually within a few weeks of my birthday. But for one reason or another I was not able to see the team in person until 1994. And while I wish I could paint that picture with words, sadly I cannot. I was 13 at the time and was still learning the game, mostly on my own. No one in my family was really a baseball fan. Luckily I still have my ticket stub; and with the magic of the internet I am able to recall that Frank Viola and Ron Darling did square off in a pitcher’s duel that ended just two hours and 22 minutes after it began. The Sox, of course, were the victors; Oakland at this point was without the aforementioned McGwire due to injury.

Five years later I again saw the Red Sox in Oakland; this time as a “birthday party” in which I invited two friend.  The four of us — me, two newer friends and my father — were treated to a 13-strikeout performance by Boston starter and eventual Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez.

***

The only time I had been able to see the Red Sox in person during the first 30 years of my life was in Oakland. Boston had not played in San Francisco to my recollection; and I had no reason to ever actually go to Boston. Hell, the idea of going to Fenway Park was something that I figured would never happen.

Well, it did. in 2010. I wrote about it before.

My wife at the time and I made a week-long trip to the east coast in May of that year, a vacation in which I managed to incorporate a jaunt to Yankee Stadium — where we saw the Yankees walk-off the Red Sox much to my dismay — and then two nights we found ourselves in Boston at Fenway Park.

It literally was a cold and dreary night; it had rained all day and I feared that my one chance to see the Sox play at home (against the Twins when they were still good), was going to get washed away.  As it turned out, that rain helped keep two season ticket holders at home that night and allowed us to slide over two seats out of our view obstructed seats — there was a giant support beam blocking our view — into the ones next to us, which was an option presented by friends of those ticket holders.

The game couldn’t last long enough; and when it was over, I didn’t want to leave.  We took more pictures in the stadium, used the rest room, walked around, and then we had to go — really, they were ushering us out.

That night, I cried.

Not everyone will understand the emotions of others. But I really should have to explain why I was emotional at all. I mean, I was a West Coast guy who was living out a dream and my time at Fenway Park was coming to and end.

The tears came; I dried them and we headed out of the building for what I thought was the one and only time I’d ever step foot in there.  As luck would have it, a day later we had a few hours to waste before our flight back to the Bay Area and we decided to go for a drive through the off grid of streets that make up Boston.  As fate would have it, we would up at Fenway Park; found a parking spot right across the street from the box office, and we had gotten there just as they were preparing for the final building tour of the morning.

***

There are many Red Sox fans who spent a lifetime — literally — not knowing what it could be like to see the Sox win a World Series. Hell, the team went 86 years before finally wrapping up the championship in 2004. Since then, the team has won World Series titles in 2007 and again in 2013.

And in 2018, it looked again as if the team would have another banner to raise.

The Red Sox ran roughshod through the American League in the playoffs, finishing off rival New York in four games (best of 5 series), and gutting the reigning champion Houston Astros in five games (Best of 7 series) to secure its position in the Fall Classic.

It was clear to me that something magical was in the works.  The Dodgers were still in the playoffs and had a strong possibility of advancing.  Los Angeles is not San Francisco, I mean there are some 300-plus miles between the two.  But LA is only a six hour drive away from my home; it wasn’t going to require expensive last-minute flights if the Los Angeles-Boston World Series were to happen.

A few days after Boston had clinched its spot in the final; the Dodgers did the same. And when the final out was made, I immediately checked StubHub to see how much tickets were going to run. The cheapest single seat I could find was in the neighborhood of $700 — no way I could make that happen.

I pretty much gave up on the notion, occasionally checking prices to assure myself the market was too strong.  But by the time the Sox went up 2-0 in the series, interest had either waned, the market was correcting itself — supply and demand were working toward eachother — and a seat for Game 5 (which was the only really possibility due to other reasons) had dropped under $500.  I was much more comfortable in this price range as I could sell a handful of baseball cards and help fund that seat to fulfill my dream.

As it turned out; a personal connection of mine put me in contact with someone who had a pair of seats for Game 5 — and they were mine for less than I was going to pay for the single ticket on StubHub.  With a few emails and a cash transfer through PayPal I was headed to the World Series to not only see the Red Sox face off against not only the Dodgers, but looked like a showdown with Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who is my favorite active player — a story for another time.

***

The date Oct. 25 is now a weird thread in my baseball life. In 2013 I was at Dodger Stadium for the first time during a short vacation to Southern California.  The Dodgers had been eliminated from the Playoffs by that point, but I was able to take a tour of the stadium. Tours are said to be a dozen or so people; in this case there were just two people, myself and my wife at the time. This was a pretty special tour as we got to spent a lot of time seeing various areas of the baseball landmark.

A year later, on Oct. 25, 2014, I attended my first World Series game, which I was certain was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  The Giants were in the third of three World Series in five years.  My sister, whom I mentioned earlier as fighting with over television time to watch baseball, secured a pair of seats to Game 4 of that World Series. Her favorite team is the Giants, so she should have went.  Instead she sent me and her husband to the game — I later paid her for the ticket, but the memories in and of themselves were priceless.

And on Oct. 25 of this year I reached out to my friend, a member of the media who was going to be covering the World Series. I was merely looking for a space to crash on his hotel room floor if I was able to find my own ticket to the event. But it was on that date that he was able to put me in touch with the person who had two tickets available at face value — the pair collectively cost me about two-thirds of what the asking price was on the single seat, despite being in the same section. The tickets were secured. I was heading to the World Series if the series went to a Game 5 … and I was taking my sister.

I have two children, a boy and a girl.  Both know I love baseball and my favorite team is the Red Sox. But neither of them have completely followed my footsteps in fandom yet.  My daughter is almost 10 and while she enjoys going to games, she doesn’t fully understand the significance of the games.  And my son, who is 8, is beginning to follow baseball — he reminds me of me, honestly — but I couldn’t take him to the World Series and leave my daughter in the cold. Parents know things have to be fair. If I was going to take the kids, I’d need another ticket. And as the saying goes, money doesn’t grow on trees.  So my sister was the natural selection.  Not only would I be repaying the favor of 2014, but she knows how much this means to me.

***

For two straight nights I sweated out Games 3 and 4.  I watched nearly all 18 innings of Game 3 and knew that if a Game 5 was to happen, Los Angeles would have to win either Game 3 or Game 4.  When that Max Muncy homer was crushed in the 18th, I had mixed emotions.  The Sox had lost a World Series game; but this also meant that I WAS GOING TO A RED SOX World SERIES GAME.

I got three hours of sleep before working Saturday morning; and then planned to get up at 4 a.m. on Sunday to make the drive with my sister from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles.  The journey started almost as planned; we were on the road by 5 a.m. and subsequently arrived at Dodger Stadium well before lunch time.

We went about our business; checked into the hotel and then returned to the stadium around 3 p.m., 40 minutes after gates opened, and still two hours before the game’s scheduled start time.

Pregame was pretty much what I expected, we took pictures of eachother, and picture together. Watched baseball media personalities on the field, watched Alex Cora and Dave Roberts — the managers for these two World Series teams who are friends in real life — converse, and then watched some Red Sox players talk, stretch and warm up before the game.  We then retreated to our seats in Reserved Seating 56, which is a section near the top of the right field foul line.  I didn’t care where we were sitting, all that mattered was that we were there to see the Red Sox on the verge of a World Series facing off against my favorite active player and his Dodgers teammates.

***

From the time I secured these seats, I knew that I was going to be emotional at this game at some point. And I knew that if that actually happened, by sister would be there to capture it.

I held my own through the National Anthem; through the first pitch, and Steve Pearce’s two-run homer off Kershaw in the Top of the first immediately put me at ease.  Save for the David Freese homer in the Bottom of the first off David Price, and the JD Martinez miscue that lead to a triple by Freese again a few innings later, there was little doubt the Sox were on their way.

Mookie Betts and JD Martinez, both of whom had MVP-Caliber type season but had gone into somewhat of a funk recently, went on to extend the lead with a pair of solo homers, and then Pearce capped off his World Series MVP candidacy with a solo shot to score the fifth and final run of the night for Boston.

By the top of the 9th inning, I had made plans to meet with my friend, who was seated in the auxillary press seating area above and behind home plate.  We exchanged pleasantries and found a way to stay in the section — which was somewhat empty because many media members had already began heading toward the field for the festivities that would ensue.

Chris Sale came out of the bullpen to close out the series.  With each pitch the anticipation began to build. With two outs, baseball’s newest postseason villain Manny Machado stepped to the plate. For the better part of three weeks, the mid-season Superstar acquisition had been nationally labeled as dirty and lazy due to his play. He swung at the first two pitches, and took a third that was a ball. On the fourth pitch, he somewhat corkscrewed himself into the ground on a swing that wouldn’t have even damaged a pinata. With that miss, the Red Sox were champions and my dream had come true.

I watched that final pitch with one eye on the field, and the other looking through the view finder of my Canon 7D, with which I was documenting the game. I took photos, and then put the camera down moments after Sale and catcher Christian Vasquez embraced, and were subsequently mobbed by their teammates.

I began to grimace. The feelings I thought would come had arrived and tears began to well in my eyes and stream down my face.

It’s often taboo for a man to admit he has been overcome with emotion, but that’s because all too often people are afraid to show their emotion as it is often seen as a weakness, instead of proving that you’re human.

In Memoriam: Willie McCovey (Jan. 10, 1938 – Oct. 31, 2018.)

Posted in In Memoriam, Misc. with tags , , , , , on November 1, 2018 by Cardboard Icons

1960 Topps Willie McCovey Rookie Card.