Baseball cards every spring
The other day, I made my annual early “spring” trip to Wal-Mart. On this mission, I bought two things. First, I went to the magazine section and bought a fantasy baseball magazine. Then, I went to the checkout aisle and bought five packs of baseball cards. This is my spring ritual.
While my obsession with fantasy baseball is a topic that Daren McGregor can write about at a later date, I can’t help but think back on my love for baseball cards as MLB spring training begins. Baseball cards have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My room at home is filled with boxes and binders of baseball cards. My first job, at which I was employed from ages seven to 14, was to numerically organize thousands of baseball cards for a card-dealer friend of the family. I would spend hours and hours sitting on my family room floor putting out-of-order cards into order while watching baseball on TV. Talk about a dream job.
To this day, my friends still laugh at me every time we go to a store and I see baseball cards for sale. When I see the shiny packs of cards, I get that excited feeling inside, similar to how it felt to walk into a Toys ‘R’ Us when we were younger. I inevitably reveal my excitement to my friends and proclaim that Christmas has come early! After we leave the store, I immediately tear open the packages. With each pack, I eagerly ask myself, will I get my favorite player? Will I get lots of Red Sox players? Will I get any Yankee cards that I can draw on? Will I get any rare cards?
Yes, this makes me sound nerdy, but it brings me back to my childhood. The hours spent organizing cards, trading cards with friends and admiring my father’s old baseball card collection are memories I will forever cherish. Although cards today are so overproduced that they hold little monetary value, the personal value, for me, is through the roof.
Indeed, when I buy that first pack of the year in late February, I usually call my dad to tell him who I got and what the card style is for this year. After the phone call, I then organize (obviously) my cards based on a player’s fame and my own personal preference—so all Red Sox players jump to the top and all Yankees players get to feel what it is like to be at the bottom of the pile.
But yes, even to me, the cards do get a little boring after a while. After looking at them a few times, I admit even I will look away as the cards sit around and start to collect dust. Fortunately, this is where my amazing mother comes in. While mom loves to keep the house clean, she only rarely complains about having thousands of baseball cards lying around the house. While she has, at times, forced me to hide them away somewhere (owing to visitors), she has never threatened to throw them away. She knows how much they mean to my dad and me.
It seems clear that baseball cards will always be a part of my life. Whenever I go home from school, I still make sure to check my hidden box of my most valuable cards to make sure they are all still accounted for. I do this, in part, so that one day I will be able to hand down all my cards to my children and tell them stories about all the players who I loved—just like my dad tells me about old greats like Tris Speaker, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and Carl Yastrzemski.
In other words, I look forward to the future to fully enjoy my greatest nostalgia (or pastime—you pick!).