Thursday, April 19, 2018

A collector in my own backyard

Last week, I was toiling at work, staring furiously at my computer, literally less than 20 minutes away from deadline.

It was at that point that one of the prepress guys, the one running the show no less, ambled upstairs to the newsroom and plopped himself into a chair in the sports department, ready to shoot the breeze.

It always amazes me how oblivious people are to other people's situations. The deadline time at the newspaper hasn't changed in years, I haven't been any less busy in trying to meet it, the prepress guy has been working his job probably almost as long as I have (we were on the same work softball team over 15 years ago). Yet, he's getting chatty.

But my exasperation turned quickly into the feeling of wanting to be in two places at the same time because prepress guy suddenly asked whether I collected baseball cards! 😮  He had told one of my co-workers that he was at a card show in Syracuse (the same one I was at) and that co-worker told him that I collected cards.

And then press room guy didn't stop talking about baseball cards.

Oh, dear, he had found my weakness.

I'm probably not making deadline.

I tried, really tried to assemble the baseball roundup on my computer screen, but behind me someone was talking all about his baseball card collection, how he collects, where he goes to get cards, buying cards online, selling cards online, old cards versus new cards -- just about everything that is all I ever want to talk about.

I am very good at staying focused on my work. I have worked straight through some horrible, terrible things, the Oklahoma City bombing, Sept. 11th. While co-workers dropped everything and ran to the TV, I stayed on track, the section had a deadline to meet, I was going to meet it.

But baseball card talk?

I was reaching system overload.

I kept turning around to talk to him. I kept giving him tidbits of information about various collecting tactics, explaining what I collected, scoping out the next show. He turned me on to a show coming up that I didn't know existed (it happens to land on a terrible weekend, not sure if I can go). And, all of a sudden it occurred to me:

FINALLY! I know a collector in my own backyard!!!

It had been so long. Not since Carl (remember Carl?) had I known someone at my job who collected cards. And I remember all about how that went. Carl also worked downstairs, near the employee entrance. My dinner breaks started to get longer and longer as I always stopped at Carl's desk to discuss baseball cards. I started to feel guilty about how long I was spending time talking cards, and then, in a sign of how far gone I was, suddenly didn't care how long I was spending talking cards.

Was this going to be Carl all over again?

Probably not. That is, not unless prepress guy makes repeated visits to my department. I'm not going to cross paths with him downstairs -- the prepress area is a bit out of my way and all that machinery whirring around makes me nervous.

Also -- and this shouldn't matter, but -- he does not collect the way I do at all.

For starters, he's a Yankees fan. A big Yankees fan. He's such a big Yankees fan that he takes trips to the Yankees' spring training site every year. He also goes to special functions in Florida where players are available to sign autographs. This most recent spring, he and his girlfriend went down and she stood in one line and he in other line to get autographs of Judge and Stanton and the rest. The lines were looooooooong.

I mean, come on, you know me. I don't collect the Yankees. I don't collect autographs. And I DON'T stand in line.

But I'll take what I can get when it comes to chatting cards.

The prepress guy is personable. A friendly guy. He's pretty big and burly, too (you should have seen him wail on that softball). We'd look kind of weird together at a show, little ol' me and Big Yankee Pinstripe there. But you know, Angus at Dawg Day Cards isn't exactly ducking under "you must be this tall" signs and I go to shows with him.

So we'll see.

It was quite the surprise and pretty damn cool. After all, many of us are on the internet writing about cards because we can't find anyone near us who likes cards or even knows anything about them. It's like finding your best friend from third grade again. Remember when both of you brought cards to school, day after day? So, yeah, this is cool.

But I'm not standing in any line for any Yankee.


  1. That's great! Just don't let the teacher confiscate your cards.

  2. Ha, take what you can get! Great find??!!!...a start of a bromance.

  3. I reread the Carl post that pointed out which 70's Lou Brock card was voted the best. It was a good read again. It also reminded me how much I liked the best card of the 70's poll for a player you used to do regularly. Any plans for another one in the future?

    1. Probably. I have to readjust half the blog to put up a poll, that's why I haven't done any recently.

  4. Awesome to hear that you have another collector in your workplace. I'm sure I'll end up meeting him at some future card show. I hope you two have some good conversations at times more convenient to you.

  5. I thought that it was great to have a coworker that collected cards. Then, my position “was eliminated” due to “cost cutting.” I guess we will see what the next place holds as far as collectors!

  6. I would actually pay money for someone to come talk to me about cards at my workplace (card whore?). My job doesn't lend itself to chatting people up very often so I crave distractions. Did you tell him your favorite set was 2012 Triple Play to gauge his reaction?

  7. Congratulations! One of my closest friends stands in lines for autographs and is a Yankees fan (two things I don't do either). But at the end of the day... it's not a bad thing.

  8. Great story, I can imagine how hard it would be to stay on task while someone is talking cards with you. But I can only imagine..because I haven't interacted with a fellow collector like that in 15 years.

  9. I jumped over to the Carl post. Missed it back in '15. Let me guess, haven't found that number yet? :)