For the most part these would be ex-PC guys like Dellin Betances and Francisco Cervelli. As well as the three Dodgers prospects I've written odes about. BTW, don't look now but since I've written those posts Jose De Leon has been traded for a key major leaguer for the Dodgers (although my friend Stealing Home will tell you that that major leaguer stinks) and is now an important part of Tampa Bay's future. Walker Buehler has become the Dodgers' top prospect and the cards I bought for cheap are worth ten times as much now. Also, Yadier Alvarez has really managed to rise up on the prospect rankings. #ReverseJinx
I don't exactly collect those guys to the extent of Torrens or Kuroda, but I do pick up a few singles of them here and there if the price is right. And if I pull them out of packs, they're definitely staying with me.
But recently someone else has been making a case to enter this "unofficial mini-collection" realm.
Matt Antonelli, a first round pick by the San Diego Padres in 2006. The Massachusetts native enjoyed a few cups of coffee as a big leaguer during his career as a minor league journeyman. Some notable tidbits of his career include how his first MLB hit was off of Greg Maddux and how he was in the Yankees organization at one point (as if you couldn't tell by the card above).
By the time I started watching baseball obsessively, Antonelli's career was coming to a close but what's really made me a fan of his recently are his YouTube videos.
In addition to running his own baseball training program called Antonelli Baseball, Antonelli runs a YouTube channel where he talks about his experiences as a major/minor leaguer, and also offers guides and instruction videos to all of the various aspects of baseball from hitting, fielding, throwing, running, catching, pitching, etc...
The tutorial/breakdown videos are entertaining in their own way but the videos about his experiences appeal to me the most. I'm pretty sure the video that would interest this part of the collectosphere the most is his video on baseball cards (embedded above). Or more specifically signing baseball cards, and autographs in general. It's fun to get a player's perspective on a pretty big part of this hobby.
My key takeaway from his video is that, for all we know, the ineligible signatures we all often mock players for having may be intentional. As in, they want their signature to look that way. They want it to be distinct and all their own. And it makes even more sense that as time goes on and the players sign more autographs, their signature changes. They're getting more and more comfortable with their autograph.
Other takeaways of mine from that video are:
1). Getting paid to write your name does sound silly (easy gig though lol).
2). This confirms my suspicion that players have less than favorable opinions of people I'd call "binder hawks" (autograph hounds who have binders filled with multiple pages who ask for dozens of autographs at a time from one person). I'm an autograph collector and I hate them.
3). The only question I had that wasn't addressed was whether he ever got tired of signing the same cards. I mean Antonelli got a lot of cards thanks to Topps, Bowman and Just Minors, but I have heard that sometimes players get sick of signing the same cards over and over again (like if they only have one Bowman card). I'm genuinely curious if that has an effect.
The rest of Antonelli's stories about his time as a minor leaguer are fun as well. Like the video above where he talks about getting paid to hit dingers thanks to "passing the hat." Something I didn't even know about before I saw this video. Proof that I still have a lot to learn about what goes down in the minor leagues.
I also thought the video where he talks about housing arrangements in the minor leagues was pretty enlightening too.
Pretty much all of his stories are fun to listen to. Getting a player's perspective on this kind of stuff is interesting to me, especially when it revolves around what happens in the minor leagues. Hopefully Antonelli's channel continues to grow and his program also has a lot of success. Apparently he's starting to get recognized for these YouTube videos so I'm guessing he's almost getting to that level lol.
So yeah, give his channel a look and watch a video or two if any of them piques your fancy.
Meanwhile, I'll start looking into how many cards he has. After all, he is an
unofficial mini-collection now.
As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).