I am on vacation this week. The older I get, the better vacation gets. And the older I get, the more I think that those people who wouldn't know what to do with themselves in retirement and just love to work, work, work, tra, la, are seriously, seriously disturbed individuals.
The job, frankly, has gotten worse over the years. And when I ask others in completely different lines of work about their jobs, they say the same thing. More demands. More hours. Less pay. Fewer perks.
Did I say perks? Yes, perks.
There used to be perks at my job. They would come in the form of free stuff sent by various PR firms in hopes that you would review the items and give them some publicity. The entertainment section of the newspaper would get this stuff all the time. Movie promotions. Tickets. New food products. CDs. The sports section didn't get nearly as much, but every once in awhile, a sports book would arrive in the mail. Back in the late '90s, baseball card samples regularly appeared.
But it's been a long time since I've seen free baseball cards at work.
Periodically, a book will show up still. It's usually something I don't care about -- Syracuse University sports, hunting & fishing, golf, auto racing. We're a small paper, so we don't have the resources to do a regular book review. Plus the arrival of free stuff comes with the implication that we're being bribed for a good review, which always raises journalists' ire. Usually, whatever the item, it goes to someone in the office who is most interested in it.
On Friday, the last day before my vacation, a book package arrived and I wondered who would be getting this book.
Then I pulled this out of the package:
A book about baseball cards?????!!!!!!!!!
Come to papa.
Yeah, yeah, it's all about the Yankees. That's a definite drawback. But not shocking living where I live. So many lost people here.
The book is an ode to the Yankees and Topps baseball cards of Yankees. It's no surprise that the book was put out by Topps. Aside from the YES network, I think Topps is the biggest Yankee propagandist in the world.
The text in the book is written by Bob Woods, a lifelong Yankee fan and the creator of Topps Magazine, which had a four-year run in the early 1990s.
Outside of my own anti-Yankee bias -- I am incredulous that anyone could write about the Yankees so lovingly when I find it rather obvious that George Steinbrenner squeezed the last remaining bit of love out of the team long ago -- I consider it a nice picture book.
That's basically what it is, pictures of 100 Yankees cards, separated by decades. You get a full-color picture of a certain Yankees card on the right side of the page, and then a smaller image of the card back on the left side of the page, with a brief blurb about the player, written by Woods.
It's not deep writing, and you won't find much you didn't already know, but the pictures are fun to view. Looking at the back of the often seen 1952 Mickey Mantle is a kick. Viewing some of the very few Yankees cards from the '70s that I've never seen before is also interesting.
I'd show some of the pages here, but my scanner goes ballistic if I scan anything thicker than a piece of paper.
Fortunately, there was something in the book that was as thin as a piece of paper.
Yup, it came with free cards. Just like I'm sure many of you noticed when you saw the book cover.
These are four cards made exclusively as promotional material for the book. This is mentioned on the back of the cards -- which look just like 2012 Topps card backs, with each players' full stats and an "NYY1," "NYY2," etc. for the card number.
Really, these cards are the biggest kick for me. The pictures are fun to view in the book, and I love books about baseball cards, but cards are where it is AT.
Unfortunately, the cards are about the Yankees, and really I don't need these in my house.
So I am willing to trade the cards. I'd think about trading the book, too, but there is packaging involved, and the book is actually quite heavy for its size, so I may just hang on to the book.
But if you want the cards -- make me an offer (email only, please). You know what I like. Best offer gets the cards.
I have to make the most of this. It could be another 15 years before a perk like this arrives at my job again.
And who knows how much my job will have regressed by then.