Even as a Player, Still a Fan — Brandon Crawford
With the All-Star Game tonight, I was thinking about how I watched it as a kid. I was a huge Giants fan, but also a baseball fan in general. I liked seeing the players line up before the game because back then, before Twitter and MLB network, I didn’t necessarily know who had made the team.
I was one of those kids who collected all the players’ cards. I’m sure they’re all still at my parents’ house. My dad has plenty of cards and memorabilia that he hasn’t thrown away, so I’m sure he hasn’t thrown away mine. He collected cards from football, baseball, some basketball. He has a boxing glove signed by Muhammad Ali, a Joe Montana football, a lot of cool stuff he got signed at card shows.
That was a big thing for us, the card shows. I’d go with my dad even when I was really young. My dad tells the story of Gaylord Perry holding me as a toddler while my dad took a picture.
It’s kind of funny now going to those cards shows and being one of the people who are signing. The shows are a lot different now. My dad said he’d sit there and talk to a guy for a while because nobody else would be around. Now there’s so much security. They put us in the chairs and tell people no pictures except while we’re signing. They want to get as many people through as possible.
I hope people know it’s not the players refusing to take photos or take time to chat. It’s the people holding the event wanting it to move quickly. So it’s changed a bit since I was going to the shows with my dad. But it’s so cool just to be there and sign stuff for people who want my autograph. It’s cool to think my card might be in a kid’s binder or box.
For me, it’s still kind of amazing seeing Will Clark here in the clubhouse so often, and hitting with Barry Bonds in spring training, and seeing Willie Mays almost every day. I was able to get Mays to sign my dad’s copy of Sports Illustrated from 1970 with Mays on the cover for getting his 3,000th hit. And my dad got to sit with Willie McCovey for a few innings in spring training this year. He doesn’t get real excited about things, but he seemed pretty excited about that.
Thinking about the cards, I remember reading Sports Illustrated for Kids in elementary school. Every issue had nine cardboard cards that you tore out of the magazine. I collected those like I collected every other card. They’d have athletes from other sports — swimmers, basketball players, gymnasts. Years and years later, I was talking with Jalynne and she mentioned the name of a gymnast she knew through her sister (who was an Olympic gymnast). The name sounded familiar to me. Then I remembered.
“I think I have her card!’’
I’m sure I’ll watch the All-Star game tonight because I know we’ll be home. Other than visiting my grandparents in Lincoln (near Sacramento), we’re just hanging out and relaxing during the break. I didn’t watch the home run derby last night. What’s the point if Bum’s not in it? Jalynne leaves tomorrow for LA so she’ll be with her parents during our road trip. The team leaves for Miami Thursday morning.
See you at the park when we return. Thanks for reading.