Friday, January 9, 2009

What the best cards? Free ones of course!

Over the past few months I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of people out here on the internets. Complete strangers, bound only by our collective desire to own pieces of cardstock with photos of athletes, have been more than willing to send me stuff I don’t have -- for free! Not only that but they let me give them cards I don’t need or want for just the price of postage. What a great world we live in! Check out the links along the side of this page for some of the websites of those generous enough to send me cards.

I’ll do a better job of posting about these trades as the year winds on. Some Christmas gift cards will finally allow me to pick up a scanner so that I can show off the additions to my collection. For this first post you’ll have to use your imagination, ‘cause there ain’t gonna be no pictures!

A few weeks ago I was perusing the usual suspects when I stumbled across A Cardboard Problem Sooze had bought a blaster of Upper Deck Documentary and decided it wasn’t worth keeping. There were some O’s cards available so I threw my name in the hat for them. On Monday they showed up.

I hadn’t heard much about the set and what I have heard made it sound a little too gimmicky for me. 166 cards for each team each representing a different game throughout the season. An interesting idea that probably could have been embraced in a Topps Total like fashion by set builders. However, they made one miscalculation. Instead of taking their time to feature different players who contributed to different games they focused on pretty much the stars of the team and repeated them throughout the set.

For instance card 4002 which I received from Sooze features Melvin Mora on the front. The game it is recognizing is game 136 played on August 31st. The O’s, in their typical August swoon, lost to the Rays that day 10-4. How did Mora do in that game? He didn’t even play. Aubrey Huff started at 3rd base that day. If they had to feature a player from the O’s why not Luke Scott who drove in 2 runs or Randor Bierd who threw 2/3 of a scoreless inning (trust me for Baltimore that was a notable stat last season).

If they feel the need to release it next year I hope they tweak the set to show more players. It would be nice way to include some late season call ups / rookies in one of the last sets released in the year.

Along with that card I also received card 33 (another Melvin Mora, 1837 (Adam Jones) and 1839 (Ramon Hernandez). Both of the those cards detailed games against the Pirates in June. That reminded me, hey I attended a game in Baltimore in June against the Pirates! Maybe one of these cards represents the game I saw.

So I dug into my ticket collection and wouldn't you know it - the cards showed the game the day before and the game the day after the one I attended. so by my calculations card 1838 would be the one that showed the June 14th game I attended. That card must be mine.

Not only was it the only O's game I attended in 2008 ti was also the first outdoor major league ballgame my better half attended. She had been with me to several games down here at the Trop, but that was her first at a “real” park as she described it.

The game itself was pretty good. After some late afternoon showers (which we avoided by quaffing a few adult beverages at The Wharf Rat in Fells Point) the weather cleared in time for the recently retired and future Hall of Famer Jonathon Ogden to throw out the first pitch. The game went back and forth and the O’s prevailed in the ninth on a game tying home run by the immortal Oscar Salazar and a game winning single by Ramon Hernandez.

There were six home runs total including a 440 foot BOMB by Xavier Nady ( he had yet to be traded to the Evil Empire) that almost hit the ivy climbing up the backdrop in centerfield. Nick Markakis also put one onto Eutaw Street which was only the 43rd home run hit out there since the park opened in 1992.

There is something about sitting outdoors on a clear summer night watching a ball game that makes everything seem alright with the world. I think it’s the clock free nature of the game. In all of the other major sports the fact that there is a time limit seems to add a little tension to the contest. In theory, a baseball game could last forever and there is something soothing about that.

All in all it was one of the best at the ballpark moments I remember from last season. As a matter of fact I think only game one of the World Series topped it. So thank you Upper Deck and thank you Sooze for reminding me of that fun night. And if you happen to have that card sitting alone in your closet feel free to send it here, it will be loved.


Dave - Fielder's Choice said...

Hey, the Trop is a real park too! But obviously, Camden Yards is much, much nicer. I really hope the Rays will get to build a new stadium in St. Pete (or even Tampa). And I didn't know that you went to Game 1 of the World Series - that is totally awesome!

Sooz said...

I like how the seats in the Trop resemble a wave of some sort.

That's all I liked about the Trop.

Costanza's Brother said...

the trop isn't that bad especially when it's full. While I prefer outdoor stadiums I have sat in the trop on plenty of July nights while the rain has pounded on the roof.

I don't think they'll be getting a new stadium any time soon unless they finance it themselves. The state and the county have zero money in the their budgets and there isn't much support in St Pete or Tampa for a new stadium