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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Coming Road Trip: Batavia and Star Wars

Last Christmas, I asked for an received from my wife tickets to a minor league baseball game. To make it easy, I searched around and made a list of teams that offered packages geared toward Christmas, you know ticket coupons and maybe a cool extra or two.

The one she chose (maybe it was just the first on the list) was Batavia, the short-season NY-Penn League affiliate of the Cardinals. And it turned out to be a pretty cool gift. The package itself included four passes to a game and an extra, a Muckdogs Baseball t-shirt.

When I was looking through the Batavia schedule, with the promotions, I targeted this Saturday. How could we pass up Star Wars night?

But the real coolness of this gift could not be realized at the time, and through a different gift. Another gift I asked for and received from my wife last Christmas was another box of 1990 CMC cards. I had her get me one for my birthday in November. And I had so much fun opening it, I had her get me another one. It was a couple days later, as I burned off my last two vacation days from work, that I started this blog.

That brings me to the real coolness of the gift: Not one, but two 1990 CMC set members are on the Batavia coaching staff, the manager *and* the hitting coach are both there.

So, the Muckdogs manager, Dann Bilardello, was a catcher on the AAA Buffalo Bisons in 1990. And, a recent addition to the team, Roger LaFrancois is the hitting coach. He was a coach with AAA Vancouver in 1990. Both were right there in the set.

LaFrancois was also one of the first cards I reviewed from the set, my 10th overall. I'm redoing his for a Friday post. The reason is that then, in the early blog days, I had yet to learn the true coolness that is the Google News Archives.

But Bilardello hasn't been reviewed, because his card is still one of the ones I'm missing from the set. But that didn't stop me from going out and getting it, so I could review Bilardello before we went. I've bought individual cards before online before, but with shipping, that's expensive. I decided to finally have a look at one of the team sets offered on eBay. I purchased a still-sealed team set of Bilardello's Buffalo Bisons.

I had an idea that these might not be exactly like the cards from the packs. And I was correct. While the fronts are the same, the backs were different. The cards from packs have yellow backs with a picture that is a cropped version of the photo from the front. The cards from the team set have green backs and the team logo where the photo went on the pack cards. The yet-to-be-reviewed Tommy Shields as an example:

So, my purchase answered my question. And I got a Bilardello card from *a* 1990 CMC set. But I just didn't get Bilardello's card from *the* 1990 CMC set.

Regardless, I'm going for it. In preparation for our trip Saturday to Batavia, I'll still review Bilardello this evening, using the wrong card. And Bilardello's actual card will remain on my want list.

Now, for Star Wars night, where's that lightsaber.

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