Why am I collecting Shin-Soo Choo? I mean, who wouldn't want to collect Choo, he just seems like such a happy-go-lucky guy on the field. I can understand that there might be Rangers fans who think the team gave Choo too big of a contract last year, or Mariners fans who regret that trade that gave Choo+ to the Indians for Ben Broussard, but there's little to dislike about the man himself on the baseball field. Decent power, decent speed, passable defense - he's no Andrew McCutchen, but he's certainly a guy I think 30 MLB teams wouldn't mind trotting out as a corner OF at the right price.
So why do I specifically collect Choo now? Well obviously it ties into his one year in Cincinnati, but it also involves his Cleveland time and the focus of my blog a little bit too. Choo first came on my radar due to his name and the "Choo Choo" memes it inspired as a Cleveland Indian. I also had a friend doing some sports blogging work for the Cleveland area at that time, and he'd talk to me about Choo now and again which put him further on my radar. Once he signed with the Reds I was pretty excited, and then once we went to games and the audience chanted "Chooooooooooooo" every time he came to bat, my wife was on board as well. Easily a fan favorite, lived up to expectations, and even though he's in Texas now I feel like it's always a positive conversation any time Choo comes up. So I figured he was well worth collecting if for that reason alone.
On a related note, the more I've collected I realize that I prefer collecting guys with meaning not only to me, but also other people in my real life. Someone like Fred McGriff I liked, but no one else in my real life really had that same passion or talked to me about him, so that collection came and went. Seneca Wallace, meanwhile, was the subject of Facebook conversations with me even before I collected his cards...and that collection stays. So going forward, I feel like that will be a common thread with a lot of the guys or sets I collect, that they sort of cross boundaries and always have some kind of reference to a video game or fantasy baseball or real life. Which makes sense I guess, but it's just something I've noticed more and more recently.
But anywho, you come for the cardboard, so here's Choo #1 in my collection. It's a 2014 Topps Target Red parallel and it cost me 25 cents shipped - huzzah for free shipping!
Here's Choo #2: