22 February 2014

Workin' at the Card Shop 3: Rangers Ballpark and Duane's SportsCards

So I went on a tour of the Rangers' ballpark last week, which I mentioned in a blog post. Nothing too crazy happened, but it was still pretty neat to see. I was a little reluctant to even put this post up because my photographs didn't turn out all that great.

Here are the 2010 and 2011 American League Championship trophies they had in the upstairs lobby with all of the offices and conference rooms. I am told they are somewhat proud of these.

Because our tour guide does graphic design for the team, we got to see that office. This is their break room, which is the roof of the building just behind the signs over center field. We were encouraged not to get near the edge for safety reasons, so I didn't get the best picture. The Cowboys' stadium is there in the distance. This is probably the one part of our tour that doesn't mirror the usual tour given to paying customers. Everything else was pretty typical as far as I can tell, going down into the tunnel underneath the stadium into the dugout and then out onto the field and then back out after walking around and seeing all of the clubs and shops and whatnot.

Our tour guide also gave us a game program from the stack on her shelf. Mine had Ian Kinsler on the cover, so I asked her if she had one with Derek Holland on it. Fortunately she did, but her husband made sure to mention that it was one that she had worked on and been unhappy with because the cover photo turned out a bit too yellow and never quite looked right. It looks okay to me.

We even saw this statue of Nolan Ryan. Apparently he is a pretty famous dude around these parts. Our tour guide said that sometimes she would complain to her husband about having a crappy day at work, and then in the same story tell him about something that Nolan Ryan said to her in the elevator or the hallway, and he would be frustrated because how can you have a bad day at work when you're sharing small talk in an elevator with Nolan Ryan? And I guess she was the first person Jurickson Profar told when he got his call up to the big club because she happened to be walking by as he was trying to call his mom on the phone.

We were supposed to get 1-1/2 days off between phases of training yesterday and today, but because of paperwork issues our half-day yesterday was wasted sitting in a classroom doing absolutely nothing, and we spent half of today waiting on the same documents. We still don't have them. Supposedly we will get them tomorrow as we move into the next phase of training, but I'm not holding my breath on it.

We did get out today in time for me to bum a ride from my roommate to the nearest card shop, Duane's SportsCards and Collectibles Mall. They had quite a bit of stuff there, but out of deference to my roommate, who is not a collector, I tried to move through pretty quickly. The prices were also a bit higher than I wanted to pay for most of the stuff, especially vintage and near-vintage in very rough condition. The going rate seemed to be about half of the high Beckett price, which is a benchmark that usually has no bearing on reality. Still, I found a few cards that I liked enough to go home with.

I stuck with a Texas theme, picking up four Nolan Ryan cards and two Hakeem Olajuwons. The card on the upper left is a 1989 Mother's Cookies card. I've always had a bit of a soft spot for the Mother's Cookies cards, and this one called out to me. Next up are a '92-'93 Stadium Club Beam Team and a '94-'95 Fleer Ultra Scoring Kings card of Hakeem Olajuwon. I may already have a copy of the Scoring Kings card. Its hard to say without going through my collection. But it's all shiny foil and colors, so it's pretty much a given that I am going to take it home with me.

I was hoping to pick up something from 1975 Topps, but the prices they had on that stuff was a little ridiculous. They had a really rough copy of Ryan's '74 Highlights subset card that I looked at, but the price on it was about 5x ridiculous and I put it down right quick. There were also a couple of Derek Holland autographs that I thought about picking up, but I decided that I ought to wait and see what the going rate was before dropping card shop autograph money on them.

What I did end up coming home with was a 1981 Topps Nolan Ryan, a 1981 O-Pee-Chee Nolan Ryan (Printed in Canada!), and a 1981 Fleer Nolan Ryan. They're pretty decent cards and I didn't overpay for them by too much. I also picked up a Jumbo Pack of 2014 Topps, from which I pulled absolutely nothing worth blogging about. I probably should have used that money to buy one of those Holland autographs. Oh well. I may go back near the end of this training cycle to do some deeper digging in the player and team boxes.

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