Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Youthful enthusiasm - a tale of 2012 Topps
Last night, I saw a young collector really excited about 2012 Topps. It felt good to see someone who wasn’t jaded about the various gimmicks or that 2012 wasn’t the game-changer Topps falsely predicted. He was just so excited for new cards. And it was refreshing. Let me explain.
I usually buy my blasters at the local Modell’s Sporting Goods on 86th and 3rd Ave. I’ve stopped by every day since last Friday in hopes of finding 2012 Series One. It’s incredibly annoying that this is where I have to go to find cards. They are weeks behind the big box stores. There is a Target in East Harlem that I go to once every blue moon, but after a long day at work, the last thing I want to do is schlep up there to look for baseball cards.
Anyhow, last night a little after 6:30, I was on my way home from work and popped into Modell’s. I really thought it would be my day and that they would have them. When one walks into this particular store, there is a security guard greeting customers, and you can either walk upstairs to sneakers and apparel, or downstairs to sporting equipment (and cards).
I walk in and start to head downstairs. I heard a kid behind me go to the security card, “where are the baseball cards?” And he said “downstairs.” Woooooosh! The kid flies by me in blinding speed. Literally. I get to the cards and I see him there, on his knees, looking through the crappy selection. His dad arrives right behind me, dressed in a suit and with a work bag. He doesn’t look like a d-bag in a suit though (ok, ok….I was in a suit too probably looking way douchier). I noticed right away there was no 2012 Topps. There was a worker close by, and the kid – probably 10 years old – says “do you have the 2012's yet?” And the clerk said “no, we probably won’t have them until mid-February.” And the kid goes “but they came out today!!!” and the clerk says, “sorry, that’s when our shipment comes. Mid-February.” The kid was dejected. I could tell. Now, I don’t know how he found out they released early at some stores. Maybe Twitter or Facebook or a blog or a friend at school. But he was genuinely sad. The dad didn’t say anything. I could tell he wasn’t interested, but he definitely supported his son’s collecting and didn’t act like it was a burden or hassle taking his son to the store even though he hadn’t been home from work yet. That made me feel good.
So I interjected. I said, “Sorry bud. I know that Series One is out in a lot of places. It’s one of the frustrating things about this city.” And that’s true. Literally you can get any kind of food, drugs, alcohol, sex (so I’ve heard), books, coffee, ice cream, candy, cigarettes, massages, etc. at all hours of the day or night within about a 5 block radius of my apartment. But I can’t find stinking baseball cards. I then said, “You know, there is a card shop just a couple blocks from here. It's after 6:30 so I’m not sure if they are still open, but it’s worth a shot. They may not release Series One until tomorrow, but you never know.” Now, if you’ll remember, I had an awful experience at the LCS that I referred them to…Alex’s MVP Cards. Read about it here. But the kid was so disappointed and full of hope, I just wanted him to get cards…even if that shop is basically the equivalent of Hogwarts after Professor Snape because Headmaster. I'd prefer not to refer business to them, but I made an exception.
The dad thanked me and said they’d give it a try. I hope he found cards, and something tells me that he is just interested in getting cards with his favorite players on them. He isn’t looking for autos or relics or squirrels or golden giveaway codes. He just wants some new cards, and I hope he got them. As for me, I’ll be stopping at Mo’s again on my way home from work. Eventually I’ll strike gold…Topps gold, that is.