For the first time in two years, the excitement of spring training and another baseball season inspired me to send off some TTM autograph requests to various players & coaches from numerous teams as they all gathered to kick off the 2014 season.
About 33 went out, by my recollection, which isn't too shabby. I had plans for many more but I am trying to be smarter about my hobby pursuits. I had to cut costs this year, so I neglected to purchase my usual packs of "Signature Cards". I considered sending some cards from my collection but I have a dream that one day I will turn some of my autographs into beautifully mounted & framed auto/picture combination pieces. Cards don't work so well for that but plain index cards do - and plain index cards are cheap! So, planning was going well. I was under budget at about $1.05 per request and I was on time.
Here's the catch - I went for the gusto. Typically, you have to make a strategic decision as a "TTM-er". Do you want to target younger and lesser-known players with the hopes that they will have smaller fan mail requests to dig through/select from or do you want to target "stars"?
I opted for a mix this spring, with a slight and uncharacteristic bias towards some big names. Was I throwing money down the drain? Statistically? Definitely. But I'm cursed as an eternal optimist and in a weird way, I love writing those letters to those favorite players. You see, when I'm putting down my thoughts and praise and best wishes (with a small request at the end!), I imagine every single one coming back. It's tantalizing and requires a heavy dose of imagination/wishful thinking - but it sure helps to push my weary hand along as I use valuable time towards what might be some very unproductive results.
So the letters went out and time just kept on tickin'.......I timed my mailings to coincide with pitcher & catcher arrivals, my attempt to try and be at the proverbial "head of the TTM line". This date varied for every team, so I planned accordingly with a staggered approach.
All teams had reported and then full squads began workouts....
The spring games started.
And then SOMETHING. Yesterday.
A small envelope with my own handwriting scribbled across the front showed up in my mailbox with a postage stamp from Arizona.....an instant smile rolled across my face and I carefully sliced open the envelope, being sure not to bring harm to anything that might be inside. There was my index card!
I flipped it over in my hands since I had purposely used two-sided blank cards to avoid any line issues.....
Crap. But wait! There was more in the envelope.....a......card?!
Hell yes. A card. THIS card, to be exact:
The $30M Man himself, Clayton Kershaw. Some consider him to be the best pitcher in baseball right now. I know I do - and he really doesn't have a lot of love in my collection. A few base cards here and there, but no relics or rookies and certainly no autographs.
Consider that hole plugged.
This card is from that Hobby Ice Age that occurred between my Collecting Periods I and II. It's a Goudey throw-back, I suppose? The Kid makes an appearance at the bottom. Strange, but I don't care. Kershaw's "22" inscription is a bit difficult to make out on top of the glove.....but again, couldn't care less.
Will any more of my requests from this year find their way back home? Hey, if they do - bonus. I couldn't be more content.
Clayton Kershaw was kind enough to send me this card and sign it before he dropped it in the envelope. Thank you, Mr. Kershaw! So far, this has been your BEST delivery of the year for me!
Thanks for reading and have a great weekend -