Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Old Man and The Jeter Card

As I was surfing the web at work during a quick break last week I stumbled across the following story.

To say Derek Jeter and his acting job in the game against the Rays has been blown out of proportion is a bit of understatement. Luckily (at least for me) I don’t spend much time these days watching Sportscenter or listening to talk radio, therefore I was spared much of the pseudo-outrage that comes out of these incidents.

Did he overact, yes. Should his entire career be called into question because of it? No. I don’t like the Yankees, and I don’t care much for their iconic captain, but I have to agree with him. His job is to get on base, the umpire’s job is figure what happened and get the call right.

The outcries for justice have been amusing. Even in the comments section in the linked story above the indignation is laughable. Jeter, for his entire career, has kept things pretty clean. He plays the game the “right way” which I take to mean he plays hard, keeps his mouth shut and doesn’t embarrass himself or his team. To think that 3 seconds of amateurish mock pain ruins all of that is ludicrous.

Despite the name of the store not being mentioned I’m pretty sure I know what card shop is referenced in the story. Seeing how I can only remember one shop being located in Largo, and it’s definitely the kinds that would cater to a man in his 80’s. Beckett is king and pack selection is limited at best. The owner does have an extensive commons collection in the back that he will let you go through for set-filling needs, which is nice, but there is no use going in there for any other reason.

What made me chuckle while reading the article is the image of an 87 year old man getting up from his couch and shuffling over to his house, sorting through his cards and taking one card and, with trembling fingers ripping it to shreds, mumbling to himself about “these damn whippersnappers” and how things were done “back in my day”. In other words acting like Grandpa Simpson.

Initially I cringed at the thought of a card, any card being destroyed. It’s a holdover from my formative collecting years. I’ve always treated my cards fairly well be they commons or game used gems. They are stored in properly marked card boxes. I make sure my hands are clean when I handle them. All habits I started as a kid. After all, when I started collecting as a kid every single 1988 Topps that I had was going to be worth tens of dollars when I was older.

When I was wee little collector I was in our basement sorting cards. It was probably a Friday night and I had them set on a card table so I could watch TV at the same time. I’m not sure, but there is a 92.3% chance that one of the original Star Wars movies was on. What can I say - I was a playa even back in those days.

For some reason my older sister came down and we got into an argument about something. There was some yelling and as an infuriated pre-teen I slammed my fist down onto the table upsetting a cup of water that was on the table next to a stack of cards. Needless to say some cards were ruined. I went apocalyptic. Yells became screams of rage, I may have been speaking in tongues. There may also have been tears, and I definitely have flipped the table over. I don’t remember everything, I’m sure my young, fragile brain blocked some of the memories to prevent permanent mental damage.

I don’t remember what the argument was even about, and I’m sure if you asked my sister she probably doesn’t remember any of it. What I do remember is the punch in the gut feeling knowing that cards were ruined, I had rendered them worthless. Of course, the older me realizes that they worthless before being covered in delicious Baltimore tap water, but at that time each and every Topps common card was valuable to me.

Now that I’m “old” I realize that they are just pictures of men with stats on the back. They aren’t sacred. If someone wants to cut them up to create art that’s cool. If people want to draw on them to make funny jokes, that’s cool. If an old man wants to flush Derek Jeter down a toilet that’s cool too. After all, that means there is one less of them out in the world, thus making the ones available incrementally more valuable.

So, loyal readers, what are your thoughts? Have you ever destroyed cards on purpose? Should those that do be stretched on the rack?

1 comment:

shanediaz82 said...

I once threw out a 600 count box of cards. They were junk wax era hockey and were in terrible, beat up condition. I'll take vintage cards in any shape or form but knowing that there were literally millions of these out there and that they're worth nothing even mint there just wasn't a need to keep them around.