pause the presses

As summer insists it is time to begin heading south for the winter, I find myself suddenly without (live) baseball. And it stinks!

I made it to an even 70 Albuquerque Isotopes games this season. In spite of the fact that many of the contests weren’t easy to watch, all were highly entertaining- and the vast majority contained numerous elements of drama equal to those you would expect to experience at a major league game. I think the point I’m attempting to make here is that it would have been even more difficult to look away.

The Isotopes absolutely caught fire at the end of the season, winning 18 of the final 24 games in August in order to climb back into second place in the Pacific Coast League’s American Southern Conference. I don’t know exactly how many games they won by coming from behind, but it was enough that fans seemed shocked at the ends of the games when they fell short- especially during the final homestand.

I did get my photo taken while chasing autographs prior to a game near the end of the season, and published in the sports section of the Albuquerque Journal. The photo was used as part of an article written about the “business of collecting autographs” – something that sent the majority of the local graphers off in a tizzy, and demanding that they were misrepresented by the reporter.

Journal photographer Morgan Petroski shot this photo of Jarrett Hoffpauir autographing his card from the 2008 Memphis Redbirds team set for me on August 18th. I intend to include a scan of that card when I get around to posting my review of that team set- hopefully at some point before the snow flies.

Unfortunately, you cannot read the article on the Journal’s website without paying. I’m not going to scan the article and post downloadable .pdf files, but I did find HALF of the article online here… in the unlikeliest of sources. Make of it what you will. I guess I’m still making up my mind about what was written, and what wasn’t. While it definitely isn’t the “angle” I would approach such a story from, I also don’t believe the article really depicts autograph collectors in a terrible light.

The thing that really interests me about the article was the fact that since being mentioned in the article by name, Aardvark Trading Company’s website was hit exactly seven times by people who obviously read it. No, that isn’t very many, and I suspect that more than half of these new cyberguests were actually some of the other graphers. So I’m left pondering the question of whether or not people who still read newspapers also use the internet. Another nagging possibility is that the vast majority of newspaper readers found the storyline dull and uninteresting.

In other press-related news… I recently had one of my photographs published online by a website known as Baracuda Fantasy Sports. It is nothing fancy, just a shot of Cincinnati Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan that I shot during the Arizona Fall League in 2005.

This is also the time of year that I would be thinking about making a road trip over to Phoenix for some Arizona Fall League action, but I don’t think I will have enough free time to make it worth my while. On the other hand, I might just decide to take a week off work if young quarter horses Lucky Aces Cash, A Royal Memory, One Spot Dot Com and Baloo combine for the superfecta during the 6th race at the Albuquerque Downs this Friday afternoon. (Any order, of course, as I will be boxing that particular wager.) Yes, handicapping ponies appeals to me as an interesting way of passing the winter- at least while not sorting cards.

I realize that I am about a dozen team set reviews behind schedule, as my mail carrier seems determined to bury me with solicited and unsolicited work. Readers should also be anticipating a season wrap-up to my Topps 52s autographs project- but that’s all I’m going to say about that matter for now.

I thought I should get some news posted before the New Mexico State Fair cranks up this weekend and provides yet another worthy distraction from my blogging efforts over the next couple of weeks. I’m sure glad I have a PARTNER in this undertaking who is happy to step in and help fill the void by adding some fresh content while I am busy.

– Kris

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