Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Curb appeal

Back in the early days of this blog, I addressed finding this 1971 Manny Mota lying in pieces at the curb of a busy street while I walked home from school.

Since then I've mentioned this same story a couple of more times, including here, because the idea of finding free cards on the street for the taking fascinates me.

Since that time in the mid-70s when I found broken ol' Manny, I've probably discovered a stray card on the ground a handful of times. But it's been so infrequent and so underwhelming (I'm sure we're talking about a 1990 Fleer Brian Holman or something similar) that I don't remember the occasions.

That brings me to this past Sunday night.

I had to go to work, and as I backed out of the driveway and headed past the house, I noticed a small piece of discarded paper in front of the curb.

This was nothing worth noting. I live very close to two separate schools and there are kids walking down my street at all times. I'm forever picking up empty candy wrappers and boxes, half of which I've never heard of before, that have found their way to my curb or on the sidewalk or on the lawn.

So I was just relieved it wasn't a McDonald's bag full of someone's garbage. I uttered a simple "meddlin' kids" to myself and made a mental note to pick it up when I came home from work.

A number of hours later -- after work was over and stopping by Walmart to grab those $2.98 Opening Day blasters -- I turned to enter my driveway and saw the piece of paper as I drove past. It attracted my eye even though it was dark because the paper caught the reflection of the street light. I automatically figured that the paper was glossy.

But I didn't make the connection and I had forgotten about it by the time I parked the car.

The next morning, I woke up to a note from my wife. She had moved my car to the front of the curb so she could leave for work. The note said: "found this at the curb."

She said she found it face down. Like so:

Yes, that's a dirty baseball card.

I don't know why I didn't figure that out when I was driving past. I guess my eyesight isn't what it once was.

But not only was it a baseball card, but it was a baseball card from 2014. And a baseball card of a decent player. No, this was no Brian Holman. This was one of Canada's greatest treasures.

But that wasn't the most interesting part. That came when I looked at the front of the card:

Yup, it's a purple parallel. The kind you can find only in Toys R' Us. These things go for way more than they should because nobody wants to pay the inflated prices for baseball cards in Toys R' Us. In fact, I just looked up the price of some purple parallels about a week ago and was instantly discouraged.

So, it's a little sad to see a purple parallel roughed up like this.

But here's the most interesting fact of all to me:

There is no Toys R' Us in this city.

There used to be one in the mall, but it closed down or moved or something -- I don't know -- thank goodness I don't have to go in those things anymore.

Not only is there no Toys R' Us in this city, but the closest one is 80 miles away.

So how did this purple parallel of Joey Votto land on the curb in front of my house?

The mind reels.

Does someone know I collect cards and is leaving secret love cards for me?

Do I have so many cards now that they have acquired their own magnetic pull and wayward cards gravitate to my home?

And a Toys R' Us card! How? Why?

I don't wish to lecture the person who dropped the card there. I'm not waiting to catch anyone littering. In fact, I never do. It amazes me the stuff I find on the ground and I always think "how is possible that I didn't see that?" It makes me wonder if someone dropped a tractor on my lawn if I wouldn't notice it until the next day.

But if I saw that person I'd want to know how a card like that came to a spot like this.

I'd love to know how a card most likely purchased more than an hour away, ended up at the curb here.

Everyone talks about cards having their own story. This one I know has a good one.

I just told part of it.


  1. That poor Votto. Unloved in all its purple glory.

  2. You missed the note that went with it. It read...

    "Dear Night Owl. Screw you. You're demanding and loud and you yell too loudly at me. I'm reporting you to the Gameshow Host Union. Sincerely, Jim"

  3. "Secret Love Card?" Man, I just had a Teen Beat flashback.

  4. Mystery of the Poor Purple Votto. Sounds like a case for Encyclopedia Brown and his sidekick Sally.

  5. We just watched Airplane! the other night. "No batting for Pedro Borbon: Manny Mota-mota-mota!"

  6. I've only found one card on the ground. I was riding my bike in middle school and saw a card on the ground. It was a Latrell Sprewell Fleer insert.

  7. Wathena, KS -- Since the Toys R Us baseball card prices are so high, they are developing quite a backlog of inventory. Corporate has resorted to air-dropping single cards onto nearby towns as a "goodwill gesture" to the local kids. Everything was going as planned until an unopened case of Heritage blasters fell out of the chopper and landed on Old-Man-McGee down by the sawmill. Upon his discharge from the hospital, he said "This is the second-highest amount of pain the Royals have ever caused me."