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Inside the bubble

It really is interesting to see the extreme reactions to starting up professional sports amid the covid outbreak.

As usual, I'm somewhere in the middle, constantly shaking my head at one side or the other.

The most recent news to freak out over (or at least last I checked) is a number of Marlins testing positive for the coronavirus. As if we didn't know this was going to happen. What are we going to do now? What will the schedule look like? Will we ever play again? Should we play again? Should we have started playing again? Who are the Marlins anyway?

Perhaps you've heard, I'm not a fan of speculation, especially in a situation that no one has encountered before. There are far too many "experts" blathering into the air, who know only what their emotions tell them. I'll politely watch from the sidelines and adjust accordingly.

The truth is, baseball's restart plan is indeed ambitious, considering there is travel involved. It's also true that pro sports can play successfully in this current atmosphere. The pro women's soccer league just completed a month-long tournament with only a glitch at the beginning, showing that pro sports can be performed.

The key was, they played inside a bubble. Everyone was contained.

I realize a pro women's soccer league battling for the public's attention and a major pro sport are not the same thing. But you take your inspiration wherever you can get it these days and any little positive moment helps.

Those positive moments appear to be happening inside a bubble so let's go there!

We live inside our own bubble as collectors. Most of our hobby time is done inside our home, sometimes inside a single room, by ourselves, in our own bubble of boxes and binders, player pictures and wall-hangings and storage bins.

Our own bubble is connected to other bubbles across the country and beyond through the blogs, to create our own, protected bubble for which there isn't really a name. Blogosphere? Virtual traders? Card blog bubble boys (and girls)?

Whatever its name, if you ask me, it's The Best Bubble. And now you've realized I'm getting to a gigantic bunch of cards sent to me recently by the best bubble, from Bob, from his very own bubble.

I don't know where he landed such a haul, whether he he had it stored up in his own bubble or whether he ventured outside that bubble. But now it's in my bubble where I can show it off from a safe distance. No masks required.

I'll start with the most impressive part first. A whole page's worth of Dodger autographs. Several forgotten prospects here, but also former relievers, and the hero of rain delays up in the top left corner.

Bob threw in a couple autographs from my two other favorite teams. Never in my collecting career did I anticipate having an autographed card of Bill Hajt, but it's pretty cool as he was a career-long Sabre over 14 seasons.

Bob has sent out a few other packages and I noticed some 2006 Upper Deck Epic in those as well. This is a set that completely avoided my attention. I've been updating want lists from the beginnings of my return to the hobby -- namely 2005 and 2006 -- and it's amazing how many sets that came out then that I still have no idea existed.

There were several Eric Gagne card needs bubbling over in this package. I am not far from declaring myself an Eric Gagne collector. Nobody seems to be interested in collecting him. His cards are super cheap. He's got a ton of them, several nice-looking ones. I'd have the whole pursuit to myself.

I'll throw these favorites at you before I get to the ones I was less enthusiastic about.

The Don Sutton 2004 Upper Deck Timeline card was one of the last that I needed to complete the team set. Just three more to go! You'll probably see them up on the Nebulous 9 list very soon.

I love any Starting Lineup Dodger that I can get and a low-numbered Steve Garvey card? I didn't think I was allowed such bounty. Usually they get snapped up before I can make a move.

A Swell Dodger that I needed is swell.

This might be the entire team lot of 1981 Topps stickers. These are the first stickers I ever collected, buying packs of them from the Greek market and the drug store around the corner. I never did get them all so the Reggie Smith, Dusty Baker and Bill Russell are most welcome. I guess I can stick the rest!

Here is something I never thought to add to my Dodger card collection. Panini Cooperstown commemorated specific games with this insert set. The top card remembers Roy Campanella's Dodger debut. The bottom card remembers Game 2 of the 1916 World Series, won by Red Sox pitcher Babe Ruth.

The sad truth these days with the volume of Dodgers I have (22,000-and-counting) is that you have to throw a bunch of parallels at me in hopes that something sticks. The above card stuck.

This, too.

And these.

And, yeah, these, too. As ridiculous as I think they are.

This was the oldest baseball card in the package, Al Downing's sunset card. Sure, I'll take another one.

Bob is knowledgeable, too. The Dukes were the Dodgers' farm team for a long time, and, yes, I do collect Dukes cards.

That's a mess of Bills cards. There were plenty of them.

I think this completes my urge to own random Bills cards. I no longer have space for any more. I'll take pre-1990 Bills still, but the shiny and current stuff I'm done collecting. Many thanks to everyone who contributed! Where would I be without the Rob Johnson cards I now own!

These were unwelcome arrivals into the bubble. I've got to get these out of here before they spread Cowboy/Giants virus. Bills fans traditionally burn these cards for warmth during lake effect storms.

For the finale, I'll show a copy of Line Drive magazine from 1991 that Bob packaged with everything else.

Line Drive magazine was/(is?) the fan magazine issued by the Dodgers for years. This will provide some entertaining reading during my reading period in the bubble.

Yes, during the whole quarantine period, I wound up finding a time almost every day to do a little book or magazine reading, something that I have not had time for ages, like since before my daughter was born.

There's lots of value to the bubble. But spend your time there wisely. Don't venture out. Wash your hands. Collect your cards. Read a book. And maybe stay off social media as much as you can.


Elliptical Man said…
Bills fans hate the Cowboys and Giants? Is that a Super Bowl thing?

Voting for the Haven Moses.

acrackedbat said…
dare I say it - one BUBBLICIOUS package!!!
Nick said…
Bob's sent me a ton of spectacular packages over the past year or so, and I still have no idea where he finds so much good stuff to give away. Looks like he sent you a ton of awesome cardboard -- love that Super Teams Podres in particular.

I still don't think baseball should be playing played right now, but it's admittedly been a nice distraction from everything else going on. It's sad to think about, but this is probably the most press the Marlins have gotten in a while.
As much as I loved watching a triple header Saturday, I figure playing sports is not a good thing. I hoped that it would work out, but it is obvious that with 17 Marlins players/coaches having it.....not good 1/2 the club! I can't help but wonder how many of their families and others were also infected, and if any elderly person got it (or will get it) that could die because of a game of baseball was played. That all sounds horribly negative, but I am an optimist at heart. I just don't think they should be playing right now, it's still too easy to spread. One day, we'll be back in that stands. One day.
bbcardz said…
Love those Eric Gagne cards. I did get to see him pitch only once but it was a non-save situation--still, it was pretty cool. That 2017 Topps Dodgers team cards is also very very cool--if I'm not mistaken, it's a vintage stock parallel serial #'s to 99.
night owl said…
I've interviewed Gagne, before a game in Montreal, back in '02.

The team card (from 2016, by the way) is indeed a vintage stock parallel. I really wish they wouldn't make them so scarce.
I appreciate seeing the lesser known Glenn Davis card. And that Steve Sax 88 Topps cracks me up because of the expression on his face. Was also surprised there's a Nomo card you didn't have yet!
GCA said…
Would love to know what they said to Bob James during the Bills photo shoot. His expression is classic. It's like he knows the Cowboys are here too...
There were several sets there I did not know existed. Now I have to go look for the Padres in them.
Fuji said…
Lots of great stuff here both in content and cards. When it comes to the Marlins and the situation they're currently in, I'll follow your lead and politely watch from the sidelines and adjust my thoughts accordingly.

As for the cards... the 1988 Kenner SLU Pedro is my favorite of the bunch. That set is one of my favorite oddball issues from that decade.

And that 1991 Bowman card of Thurman Thomas is a great looking card with the ground covered in snow. The Packers and Seahawks weren't very strong at the running back position in the early 90's (they weren't very strong at many positions), so I enjoyed watching highlights of guys like Barry and Thurman.
Jafronius said…
I read that a bunch of Marlins players went out in Atlanta...if that's the case then it's an ignoring the rules thing rather than a not safe to play thing. I believe MLB is expecting some cases if the players follow the guidelines. If players want to ignore that then punish them.
friend11 said…
Happy to see you needed a few cards. I'm starting my next package.

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