It’s 6 A.M as I leave my modest, two-bedroom home in South Florida. My two-year old son is sleeping, as is my wife of three years. I have collected baseball cards for most of my 28 years on Earth and today my all-time favorite brand, Upper Deck SPx goes live. I have $300 dollars left in my bank account with a long 10 days before I am due to receive my next paycheck.
I pull out of my driveway and head to work, 34 miles away from home. With gas topping out at $4.09 cents for regular, I cringe when I notice I am almost on “E”. I don’t want to do it, but I have to. You can now subtract $45 from my balance.
I make an above-average salary working in the Advertising industry. I put in 40 hours a week Monday through Friday and I honestly enjoy what I do. Besides, it’s great having the weekend off to play catch with my son and lurk the flea markets looking for my next big “steal” on baseball cards.
I sit patiently at my desk waiting for lunch. I know the second the small hand hits the 12 I will be driving 30 miles North to the nearest card shop, Florida Sports Cards in Coral Springs, for my box of 2008 SPx. Before lunch time I get a call from the wife. “Babe, we are out of milk and diapers, do you think you can pick some up?”
So, with $68 dollars removed from my bank account I am left with a measly $187 and just 10 minutes left on my lunch break. No cards this time around, not even food! By the time I leave work at 5 P.M every single 1 of 1 from the set will have been pulled, placed on eBay and bought off by “Wossamattu”. I am not that greedy, though. I just want one nice Dan Uggla, maybe a Hanley Ramirez autograph and I am happy.
When I finally arrive at my friendly card shop, I am heart-broken at the sight of an empty space that once held boxes of 2008 SPx. They were selling them at a great price, so great in fact that they sold out in just a few hours. If only I had called them, I’d have a box waiting for me.
By the time I start driving South to the “big boys” of collectibles it’s nearly 8 P.M. My wife is beginning to worry and my son? He’s been looking all over the house asking for “Papi”. I am determined to get my box of 2008 SPx no matter what.
I pull into (name removed) 10 minutes away from closing time. They have everything from the High End wax, to the ultra High-End wax and nothing else. I see three boxes of un-opened SPx with my name all over it. Surely, $187 will be enough for a box, penny sleeves, and top loaders for my new cards, right? Wrong. This collectibles shop has the boxes at $210. Apparently something about this year’s SPx being really “hot”. He tells me he will lose money if he sells any cheaper than that.
With five minutes left to closing time I walk away in defeat. No Dan Uggla. No Hanley Ramirez, not even a Mike Jacobs. As I walk out the shop located inside of Aventura Mall in Miami, I enter the K.B Toys Store. I walk out satisfied 5 minutes later after spending $22 on a children’s baseball set (ball, glove, bat, stand). I guess in the end, there are some things in life way more valuable than a 1 of 1 Babe Ruth.
His name is London Christopher Alejandro and one day Upper Deck is going to have to find a way to fit his entire name on their baseball cards. Hopefully by then I will still have the same love for the hobby as I do today.