DALLAS, TX – (thesportsbean.com) Thirty minutes before the first pitch. Players are warming up and signing autographs. Standing outside the visitor’s dugout at the Ballpark in Arlington, Paul Jarvis, a 42-year-old computer programmer from Garland, Texas, wades among a sea of adolescents, seeking that oh-so prized signature.
Wearing a LeBron James jersey and looking as cool as a balding, middle-aged white man in a LeBron James jersey can, Jarvis pushes his way to the front of the pack. But its too late, New York Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter, signs his last autograph and trots away.
“Man!” exclaims Jarvis “That would’ve completed my collection of current right-handed middle infielders drafted between 1985 and 2000! Getting Jeter’s signature on this rookie card would have paid for that Lord of the Rings DVD set and that system with the load balanced cache and fully buffered DIMMS that I guess will sit on the shelf at CompUSA forever!”.
“Yeah, I used to collect comic books, but when I turned 30 I thought to myself ‘its time for me to grow-up and put the childish endeavors behind me’, said Jarvis. “That’s when I decided to stop collecting comic books, and start collecting baseball cards”.
One aspect of card collecting Jarvis finds most intriguing is the investment value. “These things are going to bring quite a price one day, so when I finally get a keeper , I lock it away in ‘the Vault’.” Jarvis says.
‘The Vault’ that Jarvis refers to is his all-but-impenetrable 1975 Fantastic Four lunch box that he keeps stowed away beneath his bed. In it he has his most prized possession; an Upper Deck Juan Gonzalez rookie card, which he traded for a few years back.
“Yeah, I traded this kid down the street that I sometimes play HALO with a couple of old Iron Man comics and a Xena poster for it, I sooo got the better end of that deal” boasted Jarvis “Man, that is one stupid 9-year-old”.
Though some adults may see a stigma attached to baseball card collecting, Jarvis thinks the opposite. “If there is one thing I am most proud of, it would have to be the amount of material I’ve managed to acquire over my lifetime. I’ve spent a lot of time and effort being involved in this hobby… When I finally meet Susan (Jarvis’ online girlfriend of 6 years) she will be totally impressed