Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Perfect Day of Baseball; or...Where the Hell Did That Kid Get That Card?

Greetings from Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers! Today's all-fan giveaway, a Ryan Braun bobblehead, prompted more than 44,000 Milwaukeeans to get out and enjoy a perfect day of baseball.

Today's game report will hop back and forth between the action on the field and an event of no lesser importance that took place in the stands, a card collecting aberration that needs to become commonplace in a world where all is right and good.
A few innings into the game, I noticed that a youngster sitting two rows in front of me was carefully clutching a small cardboard rectangle in one hand and a bottle of delicious, refreshing juice in the other. From my vantage point, I thought I caught the distinct image of blue ink on flimsy white stock. Was there a burgeoning two-year-old collector in my midst? We shall find out later.

Let's check back in on the game. At this point in the sixth inning, a number of Diamondbacks are gathered around home plate to check on pitcher Tom Gordon, who injured his hamstring tagging out Rickie Weeks. Weeks was rushing home on a Gordon wild pitch, but he wasn't quick enough to avoid the 41-year-old pitcher's tag. I hope Gordon turns out to be OK. He recently got off the disabled list with elbow trouble, and now he's probably going back on. He should cheer up, because somewhere out there, there's a girl that loves him, but she's lost in the woods.

Back to the kid. From this new angle, it looks like we've got a case of early-model Donruss, likely a 1982 or 1983 vintage. No spillage, either, thanks to the sippy cup. And might that be an Atlanta Brave? I'll keep you posted.

In the seventh inning, Arizona started making their comeback. Following a solo home run to left by Mark Reynolds, a fan succumbed to the crowd's peer pressure and tossed the ball back onto the field. Left fielder Chris Duffy began to trot forward to retrieve it, but one of the grounds crew got to it first. Here's a picture of Duffy. You are only getting a picture of him because he shares my wife's maiden name. We're still working on finding a Chris Duffy jersey for her.

Ah, the card kid again. The angle is still wrong to tell exactly what card he is holding. After leaving their seats for a shirt time and then returning, I heard someone from the family ask the dad (the guy with the spoon) about the boy's card. I could have sworn that his response was, "I don't know where he got it from." I'm having trouble with this answer, because 1982 Donruss isn't exactly something you just find in the street, and such a discovery is even less likelier when taking into account the super-sterile spaces good parents limit their children to. Maybe it just appeared out of thin air.

Just after earning a 4-3 lead going into the ninth (thanks to our very own Chris Duffy), I got a taste of things to come. Yes, it was my first chance to witness Trevor Hoffman attempting to close out a game. Even prior to the start of Hoffman's signature entrance song, "Hell's Bells," the crowd was going bucknutty. To be honest, I had no idea Miller Park management was allowed to turn up the house music that loud. I hope this is a trend that continues throughout the season. Hoffman struck out the first two batters convincingly, and ended the game with a groundout that got no more than a yard in front of home plate.

Alright, it's time to let the cat out of the bag. As it turned out, the card the kid was holding for the better part of five innings was 1982 Donruss #375 Bruce Benedict. The card couldn't really be any more random, but that's what makes it so cool. I'm guessing this kid was born some time in 2006 or 2007. At the time of his birth, this card was already 25 years old. From a strictly temporal perspective, that would be like me attending my first Brewer game while holding a 1953 Topps card. Perhaps he will someday look back at this card as the cornerstone of his collection. I'd like to think that he will somehow be able to access this post and be able to witness the genesis of his baseball card hobby.

It's time to leave, kid. Brewers win, 4-3, and all is right with the world. Happy collecting.

4 comments:

dayf said...

Bruuuuuuuuuuce!!!

night owl said...

I knew as soon as I saw the second picture of the kid that it was a Bruce Benedict card. I have all the cards I own from the early 1980s memorized.

PunkRockPaint said...

I am glad y'all are enjoying Trevor. He is a joy to watch pitch.

I remember the last regular season game of the '98 season. We drove out to Phoenix to watch the Padres play the fledgling Diamondbacks. Greg Vaugn had already hit his 50th homerun, Tony Gwynn had a couple of hits and stole a base, Trevor was on the mound gunning for his 53rd save.

We had some sweet seats, front row in the second deck looking right down the 3rd base line. The crowd, except for the few hundred Padres fans was pretty quiet as Trevor faced the third batter of the inning. Two outs, two strikes on the pinch hitter...

I yelled at the top of my lungs, "75 MILE-AN-HOUR CHANGE UP RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE! AND YOU CAN'T HIT IT!"

In the near silent stadium, my voice was easily heard on the field. A few of the Padres players on the edge of the dugout turned back and looked up with huge grins.

I think Trevor heard me, 'cause the next pitch - a 75 mph change right down the middle - induced a feeble, out-in-front, groundout to the left side. Game, Set, Match.

I miss Trevor. I hope he kicks some serious butt this year for the Brewers. (My Fantasy team needs the saves...)

PunkRockPaint said...

Oh, yeah... The highlight of the year was when Trevor won the Cy Young Award...

Oh, yeah... He got ripped off. He had more 1st place votes than Glavine, though...