(Hey! Did you know you could win a complete set of 1989 Topps Big? All you need to do is read my previous post and enter. You have less than 18 hours! So go!)
My wife changed her Facebook cover photo to a team shot of the Dodgers posing on the field in their championship shirts after winning the NLCS last night in an epic and exciting struggle.
Down below her picture on my timeline was an "On this date" reminder from Facebook of something I posted three years ago. It was a team shot of the Dodgers posing on the field in their championship shirts after winning the 2017 NLCS, also in an epic and exciting struggle.
Same title. Same date. Same team. Three years apart.
Obviously, we've been here before.
I am quite pleased that the Dodgers have advanced to the World Series again, a lot happier than I thought I would be. Do I think they'll finally win? I don't know. The Rays are pretty tough, and if I had to guess, I'd say Tampa Bay will win. The Dodgers, while devastating, are very streaky and their handling of the pitching staff is forever suspicious.
But predictions like that are useless. And all it brings me is anxiety and panic, because I know the Dodgers' history well (Some Braves fans like to think they're the most put-upon franchise, especially after last night, but they did win a World Series more recently than the Dodgers and the Dodgers do have more WS losses than anyone).
One of the good news-bad news aspects of seeing your team in a World Series involves the cards of those players. On one end, those cards become more special in your collection. On the other end, they become much more collectible, and more people want them, and dealers hike the prices on them.
I'm expecting that to happen to players like Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts, Walker Buehler and Will Smith. I'm especially expecting that to happen to cards of Corey Seager, the NLCS MVP.
Seager's cards are an interesting case. He's been a premium prospect from the very beginning, a can't-miss, five-tool player and member of Team USA. For that reason, his early cards were coveted, particularly his 2016 Topps rookie card.
Then Seager suffered several injuries and missed almost the entire 2018 season. The demand on his cards decreased quite a bit, which enabled me to obtain more of them for my collection.
I don't focus on cards of a particular player much. But I do have 204 Corey Seager cards in my collection and a handful of nifty ones. I tried to limit the following collection display to just 10 cards, but I'm probably not going to hold it to that. Here are some of them:
I'll start with the only autographed Seager card in my collection. I just gained this last winter through a trade on Twitter. It didn't seem like a big card then. It seems like a much bigger card now.
Seager's first Bowman cards are in 2013. They're confusing as hell, as it wouldn't be modern Bowman if it wasn't baffling. He has a couple of Bowman Chrome cards in which he's in this same pose, but one is the regular Bowman Chrome Prospects card and the other (this one) is a Top Prospects card. I have no idea what the difference is and why the same damn photo is on each card, and I'm pretty sure I don't want anyone to tell me because it'll make me even more annoyed.
And there's stuff like this from 2013, too, which is confusing as all get-out as well.
That is Corey Seager's rookie card. Nice photo, although he has the misfortune of his rookie card appearing on the brutal 2016 Topps design.
I thought I had several copies of this card, but I could turn up just two.
Of course, Topps will gladly supply duplicates ... er, parallels, for you. I forgot to scan the Chrome one.
Finest has some of the best inserts. I know some collectors have no use for Finest. Meanwhile, I wish it would be stocked on store shelves with Heritage and flagship (well, when cards were stocked on store shelves).
I believe this is my lowest-numbered Seager card. Clearly I'm not trying hard enough in this area, but I just don't care. It's fancy enough a card for me.
Minor League cards of players who make it big in the postseason are super fun. Seager has a bunch of cards from before he made the majors.
I really like the Panini USA cards.
Still a sucker for colored border parallels. They don't show up as often as they once did. But you can always rely on Heritage, Bowman and Panini products to supply them. It's a sure-fire way to keep me interested in parallels.
Sports Illustrated For Kids cards aren't much to view. They're flimsy, perforated and the designs rarely exciting. But try to get these cards for reasonable prices. There are '90s SIFK Dodgers that I'll never land.
I was just discussing this earlier: I will pick up online-only Dodger cards only if the design appeals to me. Corey Seager has a bunch of these online exclusives but a lot are half-hearted. You already know what I think of the no-effort card backs. I made an exception for this one because it uses one of my favorite subset designs, from the 1976 All-Time Greats. Not the best photo of Seager though.
This is one of those Beckett Magazine-issued cards. The Seager is the "back" of the card with Aaron Judge on the front (of course). Now, here comes the commercial: I will be writing a story for the main Beckett Baseball magazine in the coming months.
OK, I think that's 10-or-so cards. Here are a few more I couldn't resist scanning:
I will always love that Panini Chronicles Strata card.
These Glassworks box-topper things from Gypsy Queen are probably the best cards in GQ's boring history. One of my favorite oversized cards.
I enjoyed watching Corey Seager go on a tear this NLCS. As usual with TV, you start to get annoyed with the announcers once a player has drawn their notice. The nonstop emphasis on Seager "finally showing some emotion" couldn't have been more vapid or repetitive. Also, John Smoltz and Joe Davis spent all of Game 7 talking about Seager as the hottest hitter on the Dodgers while he proceeded to go 0-for-5 in that game.
It's little things like this that I invariably turn into annoyances when I'm watching my team in high-stakes games. I will try to enjoy this World Series for what it is. Unlike this past NLCS, I will be working for most of the World Series (Games 1 and 2 for sure). So with my attention diverted, I'll appreciate what I do get to see.
There's only one Rays card blogger that I know of. There used to be Fielder's Choice and The Collective Troll, and that sure would've been wild if those two were still around with this matchup.
I hope to get out of this series still respecting the Rays, like I did the Braves (as long as I've disliked the Braves -- since 1982 -- that's saying something). But mostly I hope to get out of this with the first World Series title for the Dodgers since I was five months out of college.
It's been a long time.