Ramblings: Groundhog Day

by Rich Klein

As I was thinking about how wonderful it is to be out and see those holiday concerts my wife and I attend each December, I started thinking about the late great Harry Chapin and one of his trademark songs “Circle”.  I was fortunate enough to see a small acoustic concert by Chapin at my high school the week his biggest hit, “Cat’s in the Cradle” became the best-selling song in America and ultimately a classic. I later found out while glancing through a biography of Chapin that our head of the 9th and 10th grade was a long-time friend of his and arranged for him to do a free concert during our school assembly period. I’m sure Chapin performed Circle that day and that song would continue to be an anthem for him until his very early and untimely passing.

After I moved to Texas to work at Beckett we eventually were able to convince Dr. Beckett of the importance of leaving the ivory tower and going on show/store trips. I always liked being able to walk into a store while on the road because the retail atmosphere was far different from the show atmosphere. Over the ten years I did show/store trips I would say I probably walked into at least 250 different stores and almost as many shows. Granted some of the show trips precluded anything more than actually going to a show (such as the National) while others ended up not being as good as advertised and thus led themselves to going to stores.

A side aspect, especially during the earlier days of our show/store trips was that we had more time on the road to see and do other things.  As a baseball fan, I loved being able to go to games, especially in stadiums I had never been to before. Perhaps my biggest year for going to games on the road was 1992.  I think I saw six or seven different games while traveling.  It seemed that no matter what city I was in, the Milwaukee Brewers were on the two teams playing. By the end of that season, I could have provided a very decent scouting report on the Brewers.

The next time I felt I was on the same path as a person was in 1997. LeAnn Rimes, who grew up in the Dallas/Fort Worth area had just hit big and was still doing some local Dallas things as well as beginning to perform nationally, Naturally at one of the Rangers game I went to that year, Ms. Rimes was singing the National Anthem. She would sing it at the All-Star game that year which I attended as well as one other game I went to. By the end of the season, I felt as if I was on the LeAnn Rimes National Anthem tour.

One more time I felt I was on the same wavelength as a person was in 2005 and the pitcher involved was Jon Garland. I attended four games that year (a little thing called a wedding kind of prevented attending more games) but in three of those four games Jon Garland started including game 3 of the World Series in Houston (which my brother-in-law and myself attended thanks to a long-time friend who made sure we had tickets) and my “bachelor party” game. Most people want to go to an adult establishment for their party but I just wanted to go to a ball game and have dinner. The funniest part of that was the person who put up the biggest objection my choice for my bachelor party refused   to go to a place like that for his bachelor party a couple of years later.  I still tease him whenever I see him about that little quirk.

Card collectors know that feeling.

Sometimes it seems no matter how many packs you open,  you always get the same player. For a while during the 2012 Topps baseball card season, I felt as if Alex Avila was going to be my “hit” destiny. I believe the highlight (or lowlight) on that was in Allen and Ginter where both of my relic cards were those of Mr. Avila. Fortunately I believe that streak has now come to an end. However, I have read on countless message board posts that some players tend to become their big hit.

Now, if the player you pull from each box is Mike Trout or Bryce Harper you are probably a happy collector but when your big hit is constantly Paul Konerko you probably are hoping he continues his late career renaissance. We’re always interested in hearing if you feel as if you pull the same player hit out of every box.

Well, I am a big believer in all my life being a circle and returning to my roots such as setting up each month at that small but growing show in McKinney, Texas which I have written about as well as continuing to have fun writing about the hobby and my experiences past and present.  As this line from the last Harry Chapin top 40 hit “Sequel” says: “And how the circle keeps rolling around”. As we approach 2013 I’m curious and also excited to see if there is another “Circle Tour” in the cards for me.

Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]