A new season of baseball has started. I'm not exactly sure why, but I'm excited about it. Maybe it's because my favorite team, the Cincinnati Reds, may finally have a winning record. Or maybe its because our local high school, Little River, has just started its baseball program. And yes, I have to mention this: the high school played the community in a scrimmage game. I walked, stole a base, and scored a run. Sore the next day? Yep, but I proved to myself I can still play.
I don't know about you, but when I was a kid, collecting baseball cards was one of my favorite childhood hobbies.
Whenever I could scrape up a quarter-- either by begging my parents, or find enough empty glass bottles to redeem-- I'd immediately go around the block to the little Mom and Pop grocery store to get a pack of baseball cards.
The cards were always kept on the left side of the check out counter. My strategy to get the best cards was to go to the far right side of the card box and dig down for the last pack of cards at the bottom of that row. That always seemed to yield the most coveted cards-- anyone from the Cincinnati Reds.
One day I implemented my strategy and opened the pack in front of the lady at the check out counter who was always amused by my ritual. I complained, "Golly, all these cards are bad! The bottom right pack is always the best." The lady replied, "Oh, I'm sorry. Since you always have to work so hard to get to the bottom, I dumped all the cards out of the box and put the bottom cards on the top, so you wouldn't have to dig so hard."
Wish she told me that before I bought that bad pack!
I spent hours with those cards. The pictures on the front. The information on the back. I still have a big box of cards safely stashed away from those years in the 70's.
What got me thinking of all this is ESPN has a great piece on the guy who takes those baseball card photographs.
A couple years ago I saw the man who was my childhood pastor at the Lutheran Church, which was not far from that grocery store. I hadn't seen him in years. He said, "Ted, I remember how in Confirmation Class you had trouble memorizing Luther's small catechism, but you had no problem rattling off to me all the statistics from your baseball cards."