November 2011

An Ode to Chuck Knoblauch

Allow me to give you a bit of a back story on Chuck Knoblauch. From my childhood perspective. The year was 1992. And I can remember the summers being hot and dry. The sun was out nearly every day and the afternoons consisted of playing scrimmage games of baseball. Since there weren’t a whole lot of neighbor kids to fill a nine man baseball team we had to compromise. And at the end of the day we usually always went home mad at each other. Only because we had to play two on one games. Which sucked because there was always one kid alone on a team. And he never won.

That wasn’t all that those hot summer days consisted of. Every time my parents went out to dinner and my sister and I tagged along I would always race up to my room and scrounge for loose change in my piggy bank to be able to buy a pack of baseball cards. In one summer I managed to collect over 1,000 cards. And I still have all of them today. The most sought after cards, of course, were Jose Canseco, Ken Griffey Jr, Bo Jackson, Lenny Dykstra and Chuck Knoblauch. Just to name a few. And in the nineties, baseball cards were getting fancier and fancier as the years progressed. Especially when they came out with the Leaf collection and Upper Deck started to really throw some gems in the mix.

Sometimes when I would open a pack of cards I would get one or two Jose Cansecos or two or three Bo Jacksons. I would flip out! It was like hitting gold! Hey, I was a young kid and I looked up to these guys. Baseball players were, and still are, my heroes. These guys gut it out every day, every game, and it’s an amazing sport. I wouldn’t want to trade away those doubles either. I held onto them like they were priceless. I can remember setting up a card table and trying to sell some of the cards I didn’t want anymore to make room for all the superstars I loved to collect. I think I may have tried to sell a John Kruk card in there one day because I thought the Phillies were a dirty, nasty team. All my cards of Kruk and Dykstra, they were always chewing tobacco and their uniforms were always filthy. I never liked the Phillies as a kid. But now I love them. They’re like the modern-day New York Yankees from Phillidelphia.

The one team I absolutely loved growing up though were the Minnesota Twins. Tom Kelly was the skipper of that team and Kent Hrbeck, Greg Gagne, Kirby Puckett, Chuck Knoblauch and Jeff Reardon were all of my favorite Twinkies. The sad thing was I never was able to get a Chuck Knoblauch baseball card. Ever. It didn’t matter how many packs of cards I bought, I never ended up with a Knoblauch. It was the most frustrating time as a youngster that I could remember. All my friends had one. Or two. Or three. And I couldn’t get one.

I remember this new brand of cards came out. I wasn’t sure of where to get them but the neighbor kid had a whole stack. And sure enough, there were two different kinds of Chuck Knoblauch cards in his stack. Every day I tried to persuade him to give me one. But nothing worked. I wasn’t really thinking about trading any of my doubles for a Knoblauch card. The idea was to just collect as many superstars as possible.

One miserable summer day my prayers had been answered though. The neighbor kid that had been holding Chuck Knoblauch cards hostage came to my parents’ door and held out both of them. He was offering both of them to me but at a price. He wanted $3.00 a card. I remember scampering upstairs to my piggy bank and counting out as many quarters as I could. And I also had a lone $1 dollar bill crumpled up as well. I unfolded the dollar bill and stared at it intently. I knew what I had to do. I hated giving that dollar bill to the neighbor kid. But I had to have those Chuck Knoblauch baseball cards. At this point I had no other options. So I handed over the money.

 

  

 

The very next day I bought a pack of baseball cards and look what I got…

 

As I’ve stated before, Chuck Knoblauch was one of my heroes growing up as a kid. And even 20 years later he’s still a player I’ve always idolized. So what’s the significance of all of this now? Chuck Knoblauch follows me on Twitter! Yes, that’s right! You can go to my Twitter account and check! @MLBwayneMLB is my Twitter handle and you’ll find him on the list of people currently following me. Chuck is an awesome guy and he regularly answers tweets sent to him! So feel free to hit him up on Twitter! And what else is cool about Chuck? He has awesome shirts that you can buy! Check it out:

 

I have a lot to be thankful for in my life. And I have a lot of appreciation for these baseball players to share their lives with their fans on Twitter, Facebook and whatever else is used. I am thankful for these media tools because just about every baseball fan I know is always interested in what these guys do off the field. Its fun to talk with them. Its fun to get to know them and its fun to get to share ideas, talk about other things with them and connect with them on a personal level.  I can’t speak for all baseball players or fans but I’m sure some baseball players have fun with it too.

So Chuck. If you’re reading this, I wanted to personally thank you for what you’ve done on and off the field. You’re a hero in my eyes, a superstar and quite the baseball player. People love you and we all appreciate you doing what you’ve done on Twitter. I especially love the shirt I got and every time I wear it I get stopped a few times a day asking if you really follow me. It’s awesome and I can’t describe how awesome it is that you follow me on Twitter. My only regret? Not having Twitter around when I was 12!

 

A Moment of Silence for Greg Halman

Although I did not know Greg Halman personally, I’m sure a lot of fans, baseball players, friends and family did. It’s a tragic ending to such a great start for Greg. I watched him play most of his 44 games at Safeco Field and I can tell you first hand that he would have made a great addition to the Seattle Mariners baseball organization.

I don’t know why this happened but I’m sure eventually the facts will come to light. Until then, let’s take a moment of silence for Greg Halman…

And if you’re interested in reading the full story of MLB.com, you can read it here.

Plans for 2012 MLB Baseball Season

I know it’s soooooo early but I wanted to get this information out in case anyone was planning on trying to catch up with me at some baseball games next year. So mark your calendars, people! I’m hoping to make it to a few new stadiums next season but I can’t promise anything! What I’m really excited about for the 2012 season is that the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics are going to hold their season openers in Japan! Yeah, that’s right! They’re going to play a couple of games at the Tokyo dome! What does that mean for me? I’m going to JAPAN!

I’ve never been to Japan so I have no idea what to expect. But I’m sure it will be an epic trip! This all happens on March 28th I believe. So mark those calendars! And yes, Snagging Baseballs for Puppies will be in full swing for these games!

My next stop is Minute Maid Park. I’d usually save this trip for some time in the distant future because I’m not really an Astros fan. But I am a fan of Ryan Rowland-Smith and Bud Norris. I love to see Norris pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals. He destroys that team and since I’m not a Cardinals fan I gain much joy from watching that. Minute Maid has something spectacular going on next season though, and I want to be apart of it. They’re celebrating their 50th Anniversary in 2012 and they’re using special 50th Anniversary commemorative baseballs. And this is the logo that’s going on all of the baseballs:

So with that being said, I am in dire need of one of these baseballs. I may have to travel to San Francisco a few times to watch the Giants play the Astros just to increase my chances of snagging one of these gems. And I’ll do it if it comes down to it. But I hope to snag one at Minute Maid.

 

Speaking of commemorative baseballs being used next season, the Los Angeles Dodgers are celebrating their 50th season as the Los Angeles Dodgers next season too! If you’ve  figured out how obsessed I am about snagging these collectible baseballs then I shouldn’t have to tell you that Dodger stadium is in the works for a visit as well. Although, I’ve heard many nasty rumors about how unfriendly this ballpark is to fans, how ridiculous the rules are about ticketing and seating, and I’ve also hear the parking lot opens up to the park the same time the gates open. So I’m really not too excited to visit. This stadium will surely be visited towards the end of the season.

The stadium looks friendly enough. So I’ll give it a try. Other stadiums that I may try to make it out to next season will be AT&T Park, Oakland Coliseum, PETCO Park, and possibly Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. I’d also like to make it out to Miami Park next season, the new home for the Miami Marlins, but it may not happen. They too are using commemorative baseballs to celebrate the new baseball stadium and the new direction the Marlins are going to try to go next season.

So there you have it folks! Things are in the works for this Japan trip which I am totally stoked about! If you plan on being in the neighborhood at any one of these stadiums next year make sure you stop by and say hello. Or drop me an email sometime and let me know what dates you’re planning on going and I’ll try to meet up with you!

You can get the latest of what I’m doing and where I’m going on all my social media websites! I look forward to hearing from you and thanks for reading!

 

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