I am a firm believer that every card deserves a home. In fact, I believe every card has a home waiting for it, and it is our responsibility to ensure that some of those cards go where they belong. For some Eli Manning cards, and all UVA cards, that home is the toilet. Other cards have a more important mission.
Many months ago, when I was in the early stages of my Gint-A-Cuffs spring training regimen, I had the thought of actually bribing the GAC commissioner. Mark always joked around about receiving bribes, but no one actually sent anything his way. I knew Mark was an Orel Hershiser super-collector, so I figured a solid bribe would be an Orel he didn't have. My brain instantly flew back to 2009 Press Pass Fusion, which featured Orel in his Bowling Green Falcons jersey and big goofy glasses. I looked on eBay to see if I could find some cheap Fusion Orels. I found some, but I never pulled the trigger. Soon, real life took over, and I forgot about the whole thing.
Fast forward a couple of months. I was at the local Wal-Mart, and they had put out these huge bins that were clearance card packs and paraphernalia As I dug through them, I came across several hobby packs of 2009 Press Pass Fusion. Was this a sign? I thought so. I gathered all 7 packs up in hopes of finding an Orel to send to Mark.
Joba, eh, ok...hey hey hey, what's this? It's an Orel! Mission accomplished! I had a bribe in hand ready to send. The smell of Gint-A-Cuffs victory was that much closer.
Of course, there were many other cards in the packs, including Richard Sherman's favorite wide receiver.
There were some non-sports cards, too. Harvick races cards, Petty used to race cars, and Stewart kills people.
Finally, back to sports cards. Lesnar is a beast, even when they speel his nam wrong.
Basketball cards. How is Stephen Curry not 12 years old in that picture?
If I had to pick my 3 favorite poker players, these guys would be them. Chris "Jesus" Ferguson is a close fourth.
I got two bronze parallels #/150. I opened these packs just a couple days after Gwynn passed. Sad.
I got one insert. It features Willis Reed and Doug Williams of Grambling State. Not bad.
Here is the suck. I pulled TWO auto redemptions. I would be so thrilled if I pulled an actual Lesnar auto. Notice they spelled his name correctly this time...odd. Since I got a Dukie, it was only fitting I pulled a 'Heel.
At this point, while the redemptions are disappointing, you'd say I did pretty darn well with these packs. But, here is where things jumped into the twilight zone.
I pulled a 1/1.
I've pulled a printing plate once in my life, but this was my first true 1/1 card. From Wal-Mart. FROM WAL-MART! If that wasn't weird and amazing enough, look who it is:
The odds are astronomical. There's no 1:3,500 packs or 1:9234 packs here. This is 1:Product odds. Pulling a 1/1 of anyone in the set is amazing. But pulling the 1/1 of THE player I was trying to find is unfathomable. When I pulled it, I screamed. Literally. Not like "Yes!" but more like a combination of girl-seeing-spider and O-face.
I gave this card to Mark. I could have sold it, or kept it, or traded it. I didn't want to. I didn't want anything in return for it. I marked it bribe, but it's not really a bribe.
The way I see it, this card was never mine. I was simply chosen to find it. The cardboard gods chose me to deliver the good word to Mark. And that word was Orel.