Friday, April 1, 2011

End of the year loot ... this is not an April Fool's joke

I have become rather proud of my ability to be late. I admit it's "acting out" on my part. I have a job that revolves around being obsessively "on time" and "on top of things." I also was raised by a mother who I am convinced would forgive every last wrong as long as I was punctual. "You say you ran five cars off the road and crippled the mailman? That's OK, honey. You made it here on time."

So when I want to ride on the wild side, I whip the alarm clock out the window, dash outside and do a party dance on its shattered remnants.

For a little bit in college, I lived 25 minutes away from campus. I would wake up 30 minutes before my first class began and walk into class five minutes after the professor began his lesson. I probably didn't smell very fresh, but I was fashionably late. That was the important thing.

But, lately, I think someone has me beat in the "notably late" department. About two weeks ago, I received my end-of-the-year prize from Brian at Play at the Plate. You may remember, he generously held monthly contests throughout last year, of which I won one. He then presented an end-of-the-year contest, which I happened to win, too, through no ability of my own.

Then I stood at my door for months and months waiting for my prize to arrive.

OK, not really. I didn't spend any time waiting at all. I think Brian sent an email at some point apologizing for the lateness of the prize. He didn't need to do that. It's not that I didn't care, it's just that I know Brian. He's a family guy with a demanding job, just like me. He works at night, just like me, meaning he's sleeping during the time when the world declares that it is "get things done" time. By the time he's ready to "get things done," all the people who run the "get things done" places have closed up shop and have declared it "not getting things done" time.

Daytime fascists.

Believe me, I understand. I've been there many times.

I knew Brian. He'd send me something. Not that I actually deserved anything.

But when the package finally arrived, I was so impressed with his lateness, I decided to pay tribute. I waited a couple of weeks before posting the contents of his fine prize. I was going to be late on top of his lateness. How's that for prolonging procrastination?

Really, I had a good reason for my delay. But I'll leave it to the end of the post for you to decide whether the reason is valid or not.

But first, on with the goodies.

Brian really outdid himself here as you will see.

He began by lightening the mood:

Eradicating Giants! I like! I really enjoyed Buster Posey's throwing error last night. If the Dodgers encounter any troubles this season -- and I'm sure they will -- I will call up Posey's error on my mental TiVo system and chuckle quietly.

Then Brian went for the gut. I didn't have this card yet, so seeing scribbling on it caused me to wince for a second. But then I reminded myself of the months of grief this team will give me this year and it suddenly seemed like innocent fun.

Night cards came next. Brian questioned whether all of them were night cards. I can say for certain that most most of them are, including this one. Unless Topps did some sort of weird Heritage background photoshop thing.

An old-school-ish night card (I don't really think 1994 is old school). Brian pointed out the card back, in which Rodriguez is shirtless. But I will not show that. We will not encourage 1990s card behavior on this blog.

Next out of the package were Dodger want list needs. The Gary Sheffield card wants me to scratch off part of it to reveal some sort of number or message so I can "digitize my e-card." As much as the concept of  lottery-type scratch-off games appeals to me during my "I've got to find alternative sources of income to get away from the idiots at work" phase, I will not be scratching off anything on this card.

These cards came from Brian's "overpriced LCS." I hope they weren't too overpriced. Nobody should be blowing a bunch of cash on Night Owl. Really, I'm happy with bugs and a hole in a tree.

At any rate, the '85 Donruss cards completed the Dodger team set for that year, which is terrific. I love the set, and '80s sets were made to be completed.

Next up were some variation Dodgers. The first is a gold parallel of pinstripe Russ. The Yankees media were already getting all mushy about Martin's first game with the Yankees in that sickening way that I know so well. Let's see if they're all lovey-dovey when he grounds to third for the 239th time.

Here is a great card that I'm happy to have just because I didn't pay attention to the wrapper redemption program that allowed you to nab this Robinson card. Fortunately, Brian is looking out for the ignorant folks like me.

Well, OK! Shades activated!

There he is again. Before you know it, I'm going to dislike this guy as much as Captain Canuck. But I hope it doesn't get to that.

Numbered Topps 206 shinies of Matt Kemp. He looked pretty good in the opener. One of the ESPN guys -- I think it might even have been Hershiser -- was ragging on his base-running. These days that's like ragging on a player who slides head-first. There are precious few major leaguers now who are exceptional base-runners.

Ah, Brian forgets that I am a Jon Link super collector! I have this autographed card already. But that's OK. There are plenty of Dodger bloggers, and I'm sure somebody will be interested in challenging me for Link super collector supremacy.

Isn't that nice? Ethier's Topps card in 2010 kind of sucked. But putting it in a purple frame helps a lot. Hershiser was calling out Ethier last night, too. I think Orel's getting old and cranky. He'll be Tom Seaver before you know it.

One of the coolest cards in the bunch. A red refractor (23/25) of the guy who I hope ends up in the starting rotation this year. Me gusta mucho.

All right, now comes the part where you decide whether my additional delay in showing off this prize package was worth it.

At the bottom of the package was this note from Brian:

That's right. He sent me cash. So I decided to do what the man said and get what I really wanted.

But that would require some thought, some ordering and some waiting for delivery.

So, I thought and then I ordered and then I waited.

The item that I purchased with the cash arrived yesterday.

Here it is:

One of the all-time iconic cards. The 1959 Topps Campanella Symbol of Courage card.

I thought I'd never get this card.

I'm sure you're aware that this is considered a $150 card in minty shape. Obviously, this is not mint. And it's off-center, top-to-bottom. But it's perfectly pleasing to me and I was quite happy with the price. I paid just shy of what Brian sent me. Only he knows what that is, but that'll be our secret.

I really enjoyed going through the cards. And I'll enjoy sorting them and filing them.

I sure did, Brian. No need to thank me. Thank you many times.

This is yet another example of good things coming to those who are late ... I mean those who wait.


  1. Haha, welcome to the Symbol Of Courage club! I figured it was this one that you got, but I wasn't 100%.

    Heck of a prize package!

  2. Kind words sir! I'm glad you enjoyed the package and great choice in the Campanella.