11th and Washington

11th and Washington: January 2009

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Making plans for Citi's unveiling

My buddy Dave bought us two 15-packs for Citi Field this morning, meaning we've got two seats to the home opener on April 13. We first started buying ticket packs several years ago, when they were six-packs for games at Shea Stadium. The last few years in the old ballpark, they were increased to seven games. Now, with 12,000 fewer seats, higher ticket prices and higher payroll, 15 games is the minimum. No surprise there.

But we willingly bit to ensure two passes to the first game at the gleaming new venue. We even splurged a little to sit within the infield, albeit in the upper deck. I take it as a sign of how in demand these tickets are that we are three rows from the top of the ballpark despite Dave's diligent refreshing of his browser at precisely 10 a.m., when the plans first went on sale this morning.

So here's hoping the Padres bring some San Diego weather with them for that first game on a Monday night in April. Something in the mid-60s would be nice. Barring that, I'm looking forward to a couple of brilliantly sunny afternoons for the two weekday games included in our plan, and a few stifling summer nights in Flushing. The next task is to secure a couple more Opening Night tickets, and to figure out what games might have availability in the right field overhang. Hopefully those won't all be sold in full-season -- or 40-game -- packages.

So for $355, I've got a seat at Citi Field for 15 games in 2009. And for $869, I will forever have two field-level seats at Shea Stadium. They're just not quite as close to the action as I remember.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Finding the treasures in a pack of cards

Here we are in another year -- and another chance for me to make promises about being a better updater of this blog, of trying harder to use this space as an outlet for my thoughts and ideas on the game. And writing, like other pursuits, is one which is best kept fresh and in top form with regular practice and challenges. Yet, I've let it slide much too often.

Finally, I've realized that because my job involves baseball around the clock (and writing about it in short form, like headlines and paragraphs), one of the last things I want to do in my free computer and blog time is to write more about it. So no promises this time, other than I'll try. I've found a way to keep my photo blog fresh and interesting (to me, which is all I really care about), so perhaps something will strike me for this one, too.

Today, though, I picked up a box of Bowman Prospects. It must be noted that a "box" today is nothing like it was in the late 80s when I was collecting. Then, a box contained 36 wax packs and cost about $16. Packs held 15 cards, giving you 540 cards in one box. The Bowman "box" I bought today at Target held seven packs of seven cards, for a mere 49 -- and cost $20.

The purchase was for one main purpose -- I hoped to obtain a card of Jeff Samardzija. After opening about three packs containing various prospects whose names, if not faces, were familiar, I got a Samardzija in the mother lode of packs (for me, at least). Behind Samardzija's square-jawed glare was Mets prospect Fernando Martinez, and behind him sat former New Jersey prep standout Rick Porcello.

But then the next pack held the top card in the box. There was a chance that, in the seven packs I'd bought, I'd find a "relic" card (one with a piece of jersey worn by the player depicted) or an authentic autographed card.

I got the second one, my first authentic autographed card of any kind obtained this way (in a pack of cards rather than at a ballpark). And as a bonus, it meant just a little bit more that it was of the Mets' Daniel Murphy.

I don't actively collect cards anymore, but I do enjoy buying a few packs (or a "box" or two) each year. I'm sure I will again when the 2009s come out in February. And it's finds like those today that make it worthwhile and bring back a little bit of the joy and excitement I felt in opening those wax packs and peeling the cardboard gum off the cardboard of a Mark McGwire or Will Clark on a 1989 Topps card.

Labels: , , , ,