Unexpected Pick-Me-Up
by John Jastremski
Jun 02, 2020 | 1829 views | 0 0 comments | 227 227 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It's no secret that over the past few months we haven't had much to smile about.

The year 2020 has not been kind to any of us, and with the recent events in Minnesota and the ramifications across the country, it just seems the year continues to get worse and worse.

I've tried to find things throughout the pandemic that give me a decent amount of joy.

Hopeful sports news, the NFL Draft, my runs, online poker and, yeah, my bad golf game. On Friday, my quest for diversions took another interesting turn.

For some reason, I randomly mentioned my baseball card collection that I knew was stashed away somewhere in my parent's attic in their home on Staten Island.

My mind focused on a chance to see something that brought me such great joy, and I warned my parents that my immature child and teenage self would be brought back home if the cards had vanished into the garbage.

Thankfully, that was not the case.

I returned home Saturday after a mediocre round of golf, and was overjoyed that my collection was stored safely away.

Years upon years of collecting in multiple binders and boxes. Some of the finds were incredible. Topps, Upper Deck and Fleer Tradition. You name the brand, I had the card.

I had the Barry Bonds cards. I had tons of Ken Griffey, Jr. and Alex Rodriguez cards from their days with the Seattle Mariners, but my heartstrings were pulled when I stumbled upon the pages of Yankees players from the glory years of the late 90's.

Something as simple as a baseball card brought back such joy.

I wasn't done, because as some kids collected Pokemon cards in the early 2000's, my group of friends and I were introduced to a game called MLB Showdown.

Imagine your favorite MLB players and a 20-sided dice that allowed you to play a nine-inning game. For a 13-year-old baseball junkie, the game was heavenly.

We played weekly Friday tournaments at J&B Card store, and to this day we remember specific cards and matchups between us.

As it turns out, I still had all of my MLB Showdown cards and the 20-sided dice, and of course I had to teach my girlfriend later that day how to play.

Still got it, I might add. Nice to be able to win at something!

The best Major League Baseball players of my childhood in a game played by friends for two straight summers took me to a much simpler time in my life.

Then again, was it that much simpler? After all, these cards with with me in the days that followed the September 11th terrorist attacks.

MLB Showdown and the return of real MLB baseball helped my eighth-grade friends heal through a tragedy and keep a positive outlook on life.

We sure could use a little of that positivity right about now. I hope all of you can find your own MLB Showdown to get you through these trying times.
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