Of Jerseys and Luck

Since 2000, I have done my best to get at least one new Cardinals jersey for every season (this is why I have no problem with myself or a lot of other people I know using the term “we” while discussing the Cardinals. When you invest the type of money that my friends and I do into a franchise, you have every right to use the royal we.)

The jersey collection is something which I enjoy tremendously, as it gives me a wide range of clothing choices when attending a game. However, over the past calendar year a bad trend has begun to develop.

A really bad trend. Terrible, even.

Every single player whose jersey I own has struggled. And I have no reason not to blame myself.

In 2000 I got a Jim Edmonds jersey. He was new to the team and his style of play was intoxicating to watch. Jim not winning the MVP that season was a tragic disappointment in the eyes of a 20 year old Al Fritz. JimE in 2006? A slight drop off in production (which I don’t really mind) but now a public battle with the Cardinals ownership (whom I do mind) over his future status with the home team has divided a lot of Cardinal Nation’s regards of Jimmy Baseball. (Also, it's one of those stupid jerseys from the craptacular era when the Cards didn't have numbers on the front of their shirts. I hate those jerseys anyway, as they look like pajama tops.)

I spent most of 2001 at the beach and topless. Much like Phil Collins and jackets, jerseys were not required.

In 2002 I bought a game worn 1988 St Petersburg Cardinals Geronimo Pena jersey (still my personal favorite.) Where is Geronimo in 2006? Rotting away in a jail cell in Ecuador.*

In 2003 I got a Pujols jersey. Luckily I left it at an ex-girlfriends place and Albert has not had to pay for my bad Karma.

For whatever reason, in 2004 I decided Jason Marquis was my guy. Maybe it was because he was the youngest pitcher on the staff and had a nasty sinker and a cocksure attitude. Maybe it was nothing more than his east coast swagger, but I saw something in Jason. So I went out and got his jersey. The authentic one, even. At the time, it was easily the best $250 I had ever spent. In 2006? The investment does not seem nearly as wise. I still see something in him, but that thing rhymes with “shit.” No… wait. It is shit. He is chock full of shit. (Prove me wrong, Jason. Prove me wrong!)

I doubled up in 2005 and purchased both a Mike Shannon jersey and a Matt Morris one. Now Mike Shannon’s wife has cancer and Matt Morris is the youngest guy on the Giants by a good 26 years and has to share a locker room with Shea Hillenbrand.

2006 has been a big year for jerseys and Al Fritz. I found a sweet little circa-’87 mesh BP jersey at Value Village during the spring and had it done up right w/ a “Laga 35” on the back. And what happened to Mr. Mike Laga this year? He died. **

I also picked up a Chris Carpenter top. Carp, while showing flashes of his brilliance this year still hasn’t pitched like the Cy Young winner that he is. And I blame myself.

Last weekend, as a birthday present, The Lady Friend got me the Scott Rolen jersey which I had been pining for. Three days later, Scotty Ballgame’s back goes out on him. Ah, Christ.

This is where I reach my latest conundrum. I have a fresh, budding, quasi-platonic love affair with one Chris Duncan. A player both on and off the field (or so I’ve heard), Young Dunc is a monster. And I want his jersey.

But what will the cost be of such a thing? Monetarily, probably $20 or so… but what if my bad Karma carries over to yet another Redbird? If I get the jersey and Young Dunc chokes to death on his own tobacco burrito while rounding third base the next game, do I have anyone to blame but myself?

Can I risk taking that chance?

Yes. Yes I can.

(Also, at least I’m not my buddy Mozzy who got an authentic Hector Luna jersey one month before he was traded (Luna, not Mozzy) for Ronnie Belliard. And to add insult to, well, further insult, Belliard took Luna’s old #7, too. Sorry Mozzy.)

[have a good weekend, kiddos. vote quimby.]

*This is not true. He is actually managing a baseball team in Cartagena, Venezuela. ***
**No he didn’t.
*** This too is not true. I have no idea what he’s doing.


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