Living in Upstate New York all my life, I know which baseball fans I am going to come across on a regular basis:
Yankees fans, without a doubt. More of these than anything else. I don't get it. But it's obviously the chosen team around here.
Mets fans to a lesser degree. Over the years, the ranks of Red Sox fans have grown in this area and it's probably equal to the number of Mets fans I come across now. Dodgers fans are in the definite minority, but they exist and I've always known others besides myself.
Over the many years, I've come across fans of almost every team. I can think of Mariners fans I've known here in the Northeast. I've known Angels fans and A's fans. I've met Twins fans, Royals fans and Rays fans.
But one kind of fan I know I have never met in more than 50 years on this planet is a Padres fan.
I had never heard of such a thing growing up. When I was a kid, the Padres were the worst of the worst. Why would someone be a fan of them? They were awful. My brother, a Red Sox fan, bought a Padres plastic helmet as a joke. He ordered a Padres yearbook as a joke. As kids with imaginations, we would pretend our stuffed animals talked and we'd give them personalities. One stuffed bear in particular was given a nasty personality, he was an outcast, said the wrong things and liked the wrong things. He was also a Padres fan. Because that's what such a miserable creature would root for, a team that nobody else liked.
Fast forward 40-plus years into the future. The Padres are the darlings of the baseball media. They are the go-to team for those who worship young stars rather than root for teams. (After the Padres were eliminated, some guy who apparently writes for a major network tweeted something like "I don't give a (bleep) about who wins the World Series, Padres and White Sox were the two most fun teams in baseball this year." OK, dude, have another brewskie). And here's something that would blow away 11-year-old me: I actually know Padres fans.
Well, I "know" them in the virtual way. Also, they're way over on the west coast. So I still haven't actually met one.
They're pretty nice, too, not like that stuffed bear at all. One of them comments on all of my posts. And another one sends me cool stuff.
The one who sends me cool stuff shipped another package to the nest recently. He didn't put his name on it. But I figured it out from the zip code. Can't fool me, Rod.
All of this came my way even though the Dodgers just swept the Padres in the NLDS. OK, so the package arrived before that, but it's nice to have something to celebrate my Dodgers' victory and sent by a Padres fan!
Also, Rod is a Padres fan who apparently (*mind blown*) requests the Dodgers during group breaks? I'm not 100 percent sure on this, just going by some random evidence I've rounded up. But I know there would never be a world in which I'd ask for the Padres in a group break (also because there's like 3 Padres per set).
So anyway, He sent me a bunch of 2020 Dodgers goodies, including what seems to be all of the Dodgers in 2020 Fire's 1980s video game design. Those are pretty cool.
Here are the last Dodgers base set needs from 2020 Diamond Kings, both notable players in the Dodgers' win over the Padres. No wonder Rod wanted to get rid of these!
I positioned these two together because every modern collector knows frustration of having the parallel card but not the base card. In each case, base card now acquired!
More Moooookie!!!!!! Are we looking at the 2020 NL MVP? I suppose it's possible.
Slowly but surely acquiring the 2020 Gypsy Queen Dodgers card-by-card. I hope Dave Roberts lets Dustin May go more than one inning in his start in the NLCS.
This is May on one of the inserts for 2020 Archives this year. It's the 1955 Bowman TV design.
I am now going to turn this card over so you can see the back. Please try to contain yourself:
That is the entirety of the back. Gracious.
The abysmal card backs from Topps' online exclusives have now apparently infected the inserts in its retail products. If you want to know why I buy fewer modern cards, Topps, one reason that is currently soaring up the list is making me pay full price for half a card.
I landed the majority of the Dodgers' 2020 Stadium Club cards through a group break (still need Muncy and Betts), but Rod filled one of the cards that fell through in Justin Turner. The Dodgers certainly have their quota of redheads.
This is the chrome version of Clayton Kershaw's Stadium Club card. It doesn't scan well, but it's fancy, fancy. And, yes, Kershaw is wearing that horrible Players Weekend uniform from last year. Kinda takes the charm out of the card.
Weeeeee! A Mookie short-print!
Here's something that makes me want to meet a Padres fan in person and shake his hand!
Rod even sent a bunch of 1980 TCMA Syracuse Chiefs cards. Very cool.
In fact, the whole set was in the package, except for the Danny Ainge card, which is far-and-away the most expensive card in the set. Not a problem for me, what do I want a basketball player for?
Rod also sent the entire 1993 Team Stadium Club Dodgers set completely packaged. I own all of these cards already, but this might make a nice display item if I can find room in the card room!
So that's quite the treat from a Padres fan, a person that for many years I didn't think even existed.
I still don't understand rooting for the Padres. I don't understand suddenly rooting for Manny Machado. I don't understand adoring those ugly Padres colors. I don't understand a manager named "Jayce" (sounds like the lead female character of a 1980s kids cartoon superhero show) nor that manager using a pitcher per inning.
But their fans sure do send nice baseball cards.