Tuesday, June 10, 2008
When good cards go bad
I'm an on-again off-again card collector. Have been throughout most of my life. Over the summer of 2004 I was particularly heavy into collecting, most likely spurred by the fact that I was interning (fancy word for "working for next to nothing") for a minor league baseball team. Naturally, being surrounded by prospects, I was spending most of my money (don't be mislead; "most" means $40 a month) on '04 Bowman, "home of the rookie card." Also home to lots and lots of guys who'll never so much as step foot inside a major league clubhouse.
Anyhow, you can imagine my excitement upon pulling the card pictured: "2003 Rookies of the Year" dual game used Dontrelle Willis/Angel Berroa, #ROY-BW!! I don't remember the odds of pulling this card, but they were impressive... at least for the pseudo-enthusiast that I was. I should note that at the time, I was also big into "game used" cards - you know, the ones with tiny swatches of games worn pants and other random pieces of clothing. Kind of gross, now that I sit and think about it.
Anyhow... I now owned a piece of an actual, game used bat from Berroa, as well as a piece of jersey that Willis wore in front of tens - if not hundreds - of people on a hot Florida summer day. I was rich!
I should've sold it for the $40 or so dollars I think it booked for at the time I pulled it.
Since then, Angel Berroa went from rookie of the year to arguably the worst every day player in the game to not even really being in the game. After a huge rookie season (.287 AVG, 17 HR, 73 RBI and 21 stolen bases), his career numbers plummeted. He would commit 77 errors (most in the majors) from 2003-2005. In '05 and '06 he walked in just 2.9% of his at bats, good for second worst in the big leagues. He spent most of 2007 in triple-A Omaha. Did I mention he was caught lying about his age, subtracting two years? And the Royals most recently washed their hands of Berroa by trading him to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
So maybe Berroa won't hold up the value on his half of the card, but I've still got the nice, crisp white swatch of jersey from Willis to bank on, right?
Oh so very wrong.
On Tuesday, the Tigers demoted their newly acquired (just before the '08 season) hurler to their Class A Lakeland affiliate, destroying whatever small amount of value my card might still have had. Suddenly, that 3 year, $29 million deal they signed him to isn't looking so good. In fact, you might even be able to say that Detroit "Zito-ed" that deal. Willis's implosion Monday night was the last straw. On the year, Willis had walked 21 batters in just 11.1 innings, obviously struggling mightily with his control. You know Willis will be back, especially given the money he's making, but at least the Giants felt Zito was worthy of filling a spot in their bullpen. But Class A?? That's bad.
Almost as bad as the chances that this dual game used relic card is ever worth a fraction of what it once was.
In other Bad Baseball news from Tuesday night...
The Nationals - Pirates match up featured 7 home runs, which must be some sort of record for these two perennially hapless teams. Matt Capps blew his save chance for the Bucs, allowing 2 runs on 2 hits in the 9th, including a home run to Lastings Milledge (named Lastings because he was the last child born in his family. I kid you not.) . . . More bullpen woes for the Braves against the Cubs. Buddy Carlyle and Manny Acosta combined to pitch 4.2 innings and allow 6 hits and 6 runs, though only 2 were earned. Tom Glavine was still the losing pitcher in the contest . . . The Royals bullpen gagged one up against the Rangers; Brett Tomko, Ron Mahay, and Yasuhiko Yabuta combined for 2.1 innings, 5 runs and 5 hits. It was Yabuta's first ya-blown (terrible, I know, but I couldn't resist) save of the year ... The Padres put maximum effort in to losing to the Dodgers, using 6 pitchers in relief. Justin Hampson was the loser (2 runs, 1 hit, 0 outs recorded), and Heath Bell (1 run, 2 hits, a third of an inning pitched) blew a save chance. Because even after the Padres managed to claw there way back into the game, there was no way Bell was passing up his opportunity to appear on Bad Baseball.