Some are fans, maybe on vacation and hoping to come away with proof they spent part of the time watching baseball. Others are collectors, hoping the more relaxed atmosphere of spring training means a better chance to get what they want. There are the dealers disguised as collectors and fans, armed with fresh, minty baseballs, jerseys, helmets and photos they’re hoping to flip for 100% profit.
The coolest group gathered around the parking lots and fields of spring complexes in Florida and Arizona, though, are the youngsters who collect autographs just for the thrill of the chase and the fun of filling their binders with signed baseball cards.
While snowbirds make up a good portion of the autograph seekers in Florida where the Cardinals and Marlins train, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch found two kids who spend every day getting up early to go to the ballpark before school, then racing over afterward to grab a few more.
Meanwhile, inside the clubhouse, the Cardinals players were opening boxes of cards supplied by Topps.