Friday, July 29, 2016

The Oh So Rare Trip to a Card Shop

Over a recent weekend I had an opportunity to visit a card shop while out of town. With none located within a few hundred miles of my house, I had to take advantage. It's been probably 10 years since I've visited a card shop in person. With a max of about 20 minutes to spare, I quickly dove into several boxes of random baseball singles and looked for Braves. I enlisted the help of my wife who graciously pulled a stack of Braves aside for me from a different section of the box.

At the end of the 20 minutes I came away with a stack of about thirty Braves from the mid-90s to today. I'd forgotten how fun it is to sort through a box of previously unseen cards.

All these cards are new to me, and I almost didn't pick up the first Smoltz from 'Future Stars' because, well, it's Smoltz in a set called 'Future Stars'. But it reminded me of some Upper Deck sets from the 90s so I added it to my stack. The Fond Farewells card makes me sad that Smoltz didn't finish his career as a Brave, but it's a sharp insert. The Maddux I can appreciate because it's shiny on the back as well as the front, and it's a Maddux.

A trio of Braves from 2009. Can never have enough cards of Bobby Cox. The Braves traded Kelly Johnson to the Mets for the second year in a row and was leading off against the Braves just recently. Glad he may get another playoff run, just not happy about it being with the Mets. I like these Red uniforms.

A few cards of one of my favorite Braves, Tim Hudson, all from sets that I like. Would have preferred an action shot on the O-Pee-Chee, though. The Green is nice on the 2013 Archives.

Couldn't pick up a stack of Braves without a handful of Chipper cards. Nice expression on the 2007 Upper Deck. The design is terrible, but I like the photo.

Next up a pair of guys that I remember watching in person at AAA Richmond. What a solid career for Martin Prado. Gregor Blanco has put together a nice string of solid seasons for the Giants. The Braves traded him to the Royals in 2010 for part of a season of Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth.

One of my favorite all-time Braves, with an insert from 2008. There are a couple other Braves in this set, Chipper Jones and a current Brave, Nick Markakis.

A couple Jason Heyward cards. Any Heritage card is a good Heritage card. This O-Pee-Chee might be one of my favorite Chipper cards.

Three Frenchies. It's been nice to see Francoeur back in a Braves uniform this year. He's been much better against left-handed pitching, hitting a respectable .288 as of earlier in the week. Seems the Braves might be looking to deal Francoeur if the right deal comes along. 

And three current Braves up-and-comers. Folty in general has been solid. He'll have a string of good quality starts and then a poor start. Hoping to see more of Mallex Smith later this year. Based on latest reports it's looking like September. Wisler has been struggling recently and was just sent down to AAA, but looks to still be a key piece for the future. With the lack of starting options for the Braves and having recently traded away starter Lucas Harrell, these young pitchers, Aaron Blair and Matt Wisler for instance, have been thrust into starting in bad situations. The offense isn't giving any support which puts so much pressure on these young guys to try to carry the load. This is my first Wisler card, though. I'll expect to add many more over the years.

Can't go wrong with a Freeman rookie card. Even Freeman is having a down year by his standards. It's been a tough year for everyone in Atlanta offensively. 

Great card of Markakis beating a throw, sliding into a base. It's been fun watching Markakis in Atlanta this year, and while his power hasn't really returned, he did recently have a streak where he didn't have a swinging strike for 32 plate appearances. Markakis just doesn't strike out that often.

Well that is certainly a record for me as far as number of cards scanned for one post. Those of you who have a card shop within easy driving distance, I envy you. 

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