As I mentioned in previous the 'Fever' posts, I was big collector of baseball cards. I used to spend hours and hours just looking through them and reading through the stats line-by-line. I love seeing a player's entire career and comparing one season to next. In a way, it's like a novel written in numbers. The numbers outline a story that can be quite compelling. And there's always the anticipation of what that next line might look like.
Perhaps the best thing about collecting baseball cards was that it allowed me to root for players in addition to just the ones on my team. Of course, I would root for players whose cards I'd put a lot of value in. After all, greed is a certainly a part of the game in many ways. But beyond that, there were players who I genuinely liked and liked to follow their seasons almost as much as following my team.
A lot of these players read like a list of could've/should've beens. Players with dynamic ability and bursts of productivity. Players like Eric Davis, Ron Gant, Ricky Jordan, Brett Sabarhagen, and Jerome Walton. Disappointments at the time, but looking back, these are some of the players I remember most fondly. Then there's ones who really made it like Ken Griffey Jr. and Frank Thomas and it's to have watched entire Hall of Fame careers. But in many ways, that's the point of following sports. It's about putting hope into something or someone and watching how it all unravels. Just like meeting characters in a book and wondering where they'll end up.