Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Brian Roberts, 2009 Topps #273

All I wanted was a few packs of 2009 baseball cards. I never expected my simple curiosity over the newest bunch of cardboard rectangles to turn into a frustrating odyssey, but as early February gave way to the middle of the month, my repeated trips to the nearest Wal-Mart and Target kept coming up empty. As if to add insult to injury, there were barely any baseball cards of any sort at Wal-Mart. The disorganized, haphazard end cap was chock full of football and basketball cards (who cares, right?), including a few blasters of 2007-08 Topps basketball! I wasn't about to hold my nose and settle for a few packs of Timeline or Stadium Club. Target was even more disappointing. There was a greater selection of 2008 baseball cards (Documentary, Heritage High Series, Topps Updates and Highlights, etc.), but they were inartfully stuffed into a cramped aisle at the end of the checkouts designed to make a collector feel like a second-class citizen. There was even a shopping cart full of unsorted merchandise obstructing my path. Maybe I wasn't meant to collect this year's offerings.

I decided to give up the hunt for a few days when I flew to San Diego to visit my friends Jill and Tristan. But on Saturday of that weekend, Jill mentioned her desire to go to Target to pick up ingredients for Rice Krispies Treats. Well, I know an opportunity when I see one. Ultimately, we ended up at Wal-Mart instead, and I made a beeline to you-know-where. Lo and behold, there was a feeder box of 2009 Topps packs with A*Rod's purple-lipped mug all over it. I plucked out four packs and went merrily on my way, realizing with a little bemusement that I had to travel cross-country to find 2009 cards. Even as I pored over my first 48 cards of the new year, delighting in the much-improved design and photography (compared to 2008 Topps), I wasn't sated. Four packs, and no Orioles. I'd have to try again when I got home.

In the ensuing week, I first returned to my nearest Wal-Mart...still the same picked-over hodgepodge as before. I made a mental note to stop wasting the effort on that particular megastore. But surely Target would have fresh stock by February 21, right?

Wrongo. The same muddle of 2008 products, the same cramped aisle. I was so annoyed that I bought a blaster of WWE Heritage IV. That's right, I blew $10 on wrestling cards. I was at my wits' end.

So this past Tuesday, I had a dentist's appointment in Columbia and made the most out of the long drive by having dinner with my former roommate Mikey. Since there was a Target near the restaurant, I took another shot. What I found was simply breathtaking, and made me long for the days when I still lived in the suburbs nearby. The aisle was actually wide enough for more than one person to stand in, and the cards were neatly organized and plentiful. As for 2009 Topps? Oh, it was there, in all its forms. Jumbo packs, blasters, even the new 55-card "cereal boxes". So I decided that variety was the spice of life and grabbed two jumbos and a cereal box.

When we got back to Mikey's apartment I ripped open my haul, starting with the cereal box. There were some great cards, including an exclusive Mickey Mantle chrome card, but still no Orioles! I was starting to suspect a conspiracy, especially since I'd already pulled approximately 27 Yankee cards. So I turned to the first 36-card jumbo pack with a little anxiety. After ripping the top half, I was 121 cards into 2009 Topps with not a single card to represent my favorite team! Finally, in the bottom half of that pack, I was face-to-face with Brian Roberts, my favorite current Oriole. Whew! It's certainly got to be a better omen than the first Baltimore player I pulled from 2008 Topps: Ramon Hernandez.

FYI, backup catcher Guillermo Quiroz was waiting for me in the second jumbo pack. I'm certainly happy to have those two cards, but 2-for-175 is a troubling ratio.


night owl said...

Until the last paragraph I was wondering how it was possible that you hadn't pulled Guillermo Quiroz. He's in just about every fourth pack.

dinged corners said...

This well-told saga is familiar, except we haven't had the happy ending yet. We can see why you like Brian Roberts, there's something wonderful about him with just a touch of goofy.

dinged corners said...

This well-told saga is familiar, except we haven't had the happy ending yet. We can see why you like Brian Roberts, there's something wonderful about him, with just a touch of goofy.

dinged corners said...

Sorry about the double comment. It was the fault of the word verification delay and my complete inability to operate this flat laptop keyboard I'm borrowing. Infernal technology.

Kevin said...

night owl - That's a shame, considering that he's probably in third place for the backup catcher competition this year.

Patricia - I really didn't know how good I had it when I was first collecting in the mid-90s. We had a hobby shop with a friendly husband and wife owner 10 minutes from our house, and you could still buy packs at drug stores in the like. This Target and Wal-mart business is for the birds!

Commish said...

I bought my one annual pack of Topps today at the local WalMart. No O's for me either but I did get some sort of Nick Markakis Toppstown.com thing. Dunno what that's all about but I am not going to register for more spam.
My nephew was impressed with the Evan Longoria card, though. He thought it was cool. I like the '09 cards, too. Way better than last years.