If they haven't already, major league teams will soon be packing their trucks and heading to their spring training destinations. But first- before spring training - we will see the arrival of 2017 Topps baseball, which kicks off the baseball card season. Now only 1-2-3 days away.
The town where I live has a small liberal arts college that is known not only for its academic excellence, but also for its rich athletic tradition at the NAIA level. Among its Board of Trustees is the president of the company I work for.
Mr. Boss man came up to me a couple of months ago and asked if I thought we would have room in one of our warehouses for the baseball team to set up a hitting cage and pitching mounds for their offseason program, and if so, to create a space for them to use. A couple of weeks later, I was introduced to the assistant coach and showed him around the facility- giving him a key and the code for arming the building. I didn't know it at the time, but turns out the guy was a former Mariner prospect (reaching as high as AAA) who later went on to become their bullpen catcher (even serving as catcher for the HR Hitting Derby and AL All-Star team one year). He eventually went in to coaching and, here he is, coaching in my hometown.
I've been known to say more than once *if* I were to have a mini collection, I'd collect... Barrel shots...Signing shots... I know there are others that I'm forgetting. Another of the "mini collections" that would be fun to do would be Cage Shots- photos of guys in the batting cage. Off the top of my head, I can't think of many- but this Jeromy Burnitz card would definitely make the cut. Not only is it a great shot of a guy taking a massive hack, but look at that Cubbies patch. And those socks, with the pants tucked in. There's so much to like about this particular card.
Getting back to our NAIA team... they've just begun their 2017 schedule (seems so early!) and I'm not sure how much more they will use our facility, but I'm debating on whether or not to pick up a 2005 Bowman card (his only inclusion in a major card release) of their assistant and ask him to sign it. That, or see if I can ask him a few questions to feature in a blog post. I just hope I wouldn't swing and miss on that one.