Monday, November 11, 2013

The Great Baseball Card Draft Part 2

It was a long time coming.  The Baseball Card Draft was finally upon us!  G had won the first pick not for lack of record but for pure dumb luck in the classic game of "pick a number between 1 and 10."  This was like the 2003 NBA Draft.  Everyone knew that Jackie Robinson 1953 - Like LeBron James after him would be the first round draft pick.  The question was who would 2-10?

We had the day planned, we just needed to pick a day that worked for everyone.  In other words, we just had to get Mom and DLG out of the house so they wouldn't complain about being bored and then we could commence the DRAFT...

Home.  2pm.  The first pick wasn't so much a pick as it was a coronation.  There was no ceremony involved.  G just simply put out his hand and told me.  "I'll take Jackie Robinson, Dad."  The smile on his face led me to believe that he would not fling that card around in his bedroom three weeks from now.  I handed it over to him.  I told him the story of how I bought that card for 5 bucks from a kid 5 years older than me when I was 9 years old just like him.  He thought he got enough to buy a six pack with his fake ID.  I thought I got one of the coolest cards ever made.  It was a win win.  G looked at me with a glazed look.

2nd Pick.  It was a tough one.  A lot of decent cards to choose from.  C finally looked around at all of the old cards and settled on the Yogi Berra 1953 Topps Card that I have had since I was 12 years old.  I bought that card at an auction some where in the middle of Connecticut.  My Father would take me to these auctions and he would give me some money (and I would use some of my own too) and I would try to buy baseball cards.  It was pretty exciting to me.  My Father must have pulling his hair out in retrospect.  There were some real winners in these auction crowds back then.

3rd Pick.  1968 Tom Seaver Topps.  Even though he had a little trophy on his card saying All Star Rookie, this was not his rookie card.  It was in mint condition and looked pretty cool.  C was excited about that one, because I told him that was favorite card, even though not the most valuable.  I remember my Dad surprised me by taking me to a random baseball card shop in Kennebunk, Maine when I was just 10 years old when we were on vacation.  I looked around for hours and when I spotted that Tom Seaver card, he gave me 20 bucks to buy it even though I had already blown by my budget.  I bought that card and a couple of other random cards.  But that one was still my favorite.

4th Pick.  Gil Hodges 1952 Bowman.  This was another of the auction specials.  I still remember this was the auction with my Dad when the kid in front of me threw up an entire can of Slice soda (remember that nasty crap?).  I still have trouble drinking lemon lime sodas like Sprite and 7up.  Yuck.  C and G had no idea who this guy was, so they just believed me when I told him he was a great home run hitter.  That seemed to have done the trick.

5th Pick.  Johnny Bench, 1969 Topps.  As with the Seaver Card, it had the big rookie trophy on the card, but it was not actually his Rookie Card.  This was a baseball card store purchase.  I made this one on my own when I was 16 years old.  I'm sure the guy didn't take me for a ride since I was a tough looking 16 year old kid.  I actually drove to the shop myself this time.  The deal was not that great, but still a great looking card. 

6th Pick.  Hank Aaron, 1967 Topps.  Another great looking card.  This was another auction purchase.  This was the auction where I tried to complete my 1964 Topps set (sans Mickey Mantle), but another guy kept outbidding me.  Every time he won a bid, he would just have this weird satisfied smile, like he was passing gas and was proud of it.  Now maybe it was just my paranoid 14 year old self, but I felt like Barry Weiss out there from Storage Wars as I kept getting the short end of the stick. 

7th Pick.  Ernie Banks.  1956 Topps.  I honestly have no idea how I got this card.  No story to tell on this one.  I don't even know this guy well enough to talk the boys into thinking that they got a real cool baseball card.

8th Pick.  Cal Ripken 1982 Topps.  Our first real rookie card.  I remember when Ripken was the reason that people still watched baseball (before McGwire and Sosa that is) and this card was one of my valuable.  Now it is a middling card and most people remember his brother's baseball card with the vulgarity more than this rookie card.  This was also the first card that was drafted that I got just from opening up packs of baseball cards.

9th Pick.  Warren Spahn, 1956 Topps.  Another card, the receipt of which I have no idea.  Nice pick still

10th.  Ryne Sandberg, 1983 Topps.  This was the first of two that were drafted.  Another "get" from baseball card packs.  I remember when this card, Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs all had rookie cards in 1983 and my friends and I would gamble with these cards as the center pieces of most wagers.  Instead of money!  We used to play pool at a friends house - 9 Ball - and we would each put up a card.  The winner got to keep both cards.  A lot of games ended on the break when the 9 Ball fell in.  It seemed like I always lost on the break, but could never lose once we started playing.  I'm sure that's not how it went down, but it seemed that way to a 12 year old.  It seemed innocuous at the time, but these cards were valuable even back then, so I was a pre-teen betting $50 on a pool game.  I'm glad I turned out all right.  That was actually kind of stupid.

We continued on for another three hours until we picked through the first 60 cards.  My back and head were killing me.  The boys started to fight over whether C or G actually picked a 1975 Nolan Ryan card first.  (They hadn't heard of the man before today)  Yes, we spent four hours divvying up my baseball cards that I spent most of my child hood collecting.  It brought back a lot of memories for me.  And I couldn't think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

One 2013 Boston Parade I Can Get Behind

The Red Sox Won the 2013 World Series!  The boys and I were watching every minute of the game (the girls went to sleep well before us) and we all celebrated like it was 1918.  This was the year of it being our city and every little thing was going to be all right.  It was the year of beards and no beers.  It was the year of Papi and Lackey.  And it was the year of another sports parade in the City of Boston.

It was just a year and half ago when the boys talked me into going to the Boston Bruins Parade after they won the Stanley Cup.  Now that was excruciating.  A bunch of fair weather fans celebrating like they were waiting 100 years for the Cup.  They couldn't sell out the Garden until the playoffs, but then 2 million people come to watch the parade?  Hogwash.

But it was a pretty good time.

So when the World Series, which was never in doubt, ended in a Red Sox victory, I was hopeful that the parade would be on Saturday or Sunday so we could go.  G would ask me too. "Are we going, Dad?" was the refrain on Thursday and Friday.

"Go where?" I ask knowing that that is just going to cause trouble.

"To the parade!!"

"What parade?" I quizzically ask in return.

"Dad, you're not that funny."  C chimes in as he walks into the kitchen.  I guess 11 year olds don't get Dad's sense of humor.

So on Saturday morning, we started making our plans.  We ignored Mayor Menino's admonition to take the train in and drove.  We scooted right in drove into Kenmore Square and parked right on Beacon Street.  It was actually tougher getting the kids out of the car with no injury than it was to drive in.  And the problem was S's scooter which she insisted on bringing for some reason.

We walked down Brookline Avenue and took a left onto Yawkey Way.  Thousands of people were in front of us and behind us.  Even though it was just 9:45 am, the mood was celebratory.  The bars were open, people were chanting.  Kids were dancing.  G was asking for baseball cards at the Souvenir Store.  Everything was right with the world.

After a brief stop to take some pictures with the 2013 World Series Banner, we continued down Yawkey Way onto Boylston Street and then walked as close as we could to the corner of Boylston and Ipswich where the parade began.  Unfortunately, we were about 20 deep in our spot and had to really stretch and squint to see anything.  But honestly, who cares?  We are celebrating the freaking Red Sox winning the World Series. 

The duck boats started coming around the corner at around 10:15.  A couple of duck boats would be followed by a confetti machine rocketing red white and blue confetti into the air.  The celebratory mood turned into anticipation as the kids were waiting for Big Papi and Dustin Pedroia.  The team doctor, owners and the rookie scrubs were nice, but not as nice as seeing the players responsible for the win.

Finally, the Ortiz's duck boat came around.  Well at least it looked liked Ortiz' boat, but we were so far away that it could have been anyone really.  I took pictures and lifted G up to get a better view.  My back was also asking to be strained so it made sense to lift 95 dead pounds.  The crowd was going nuts and confetti was everywhere.

And just like that it was over.  We were back in the car at 11am.  A lot different than the 4 hours we spent waiting for the Bruins to come to the corner of Boylston and Tremont.  And as we were walking back to the car, I was bombarded with requests for Red Sox shirts, cards, baseballs, everything.  They wouldn't be asking for this stuff in November unless the Red Sox played deep into October.  So although I still said NO to them, I still appreciated the sentiment.

Indeed.  Don't worry, 'bout a thing.  Cause every little thing is going to be alright.