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From Where I Sit: Baseball cards are not just for kids

By: Tom Rupp, Special to the Telegraph
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One of the first steps out of a problem is realizing that you have one. I thought the chains were broken, but here lately, just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in and it begins all over again.

It’s baseball card season once more. The allure of an unopened pack of baseball cards is a difficult if not impossible drug to kick. After all, the next pack might be the one that has your special card.

In youth, sports were quite the thing for me - baseball, of course, but also football (Baltimore Colts) and basketball (Baltimore Bullets, a name not PC enough for modern times). Following them in the newspapers and television, attending the occasional game, playing all three officially (leagues) and non-officially (streets).

In 1973 and 1974 I ordered he entire set of Topps baseball cards with paper-route money (Carlton Fisk and Mike Schmidt rookies). But then Bible school and fast-approaching adulthood tore me away from them, until my sons came on the scene.

I wanted them to enjoy what I enjoyed. Yeah, that’s it, that’s the reason. So for a few years (1988- 1994) we bought cards. I have a big box of nothing but Cal Ripken cards, and several books of Oriole cards. However, little boys grow up and cast off many of the things we parents wished they would absorb.

About 10 years ago the next phase arrived. A couple of local stores that we often visit sell them, so there you go. The entire sports scene has become too pricey, too violent and too vapid for weak souls like mine to continue to endure them at the same pace as in years past.

But somewhere, someone keeps on producing baseball cards and, like an irresistible siren song from an idyllic past, the allure is too strong.

Two unopened packs sit next to the computer, sort of like a reward for finishing this column. Oh forget it, I’m opening one. There, I did it, and it felt good.

It’s harmless fun, and I give away most of them anyway. I give the Phillies to Telegraph sports writer Matt Long, a Philly fan – don’t ask me why, I don’t know either.

There were no Phillies in that first pack, but an Oriole (Chris Tillman). Now if you will excuse me, it’s time to finish this nonsense and open that other pack.

Tom Rupp can be reached at truppfolsom@yahoo.com