One of my favorite things in life is something unexpected. I wrote something for another blog a couple of years ago about going to an airport one day and being unexpectedly greeted by a live blues performance. It made the blues sound that much better, knowing that an airport baggage claim area is just about the last place you would ever expect to find it.
I feel the same way about the above baseball card. Reed Johnson has been an outfielder for the Cubs for several seasons now, including a period last year where the emptiness of the bleachers led to an abundance of birds in the outfield at Wrigley Field. The problem cleared up as the season went along, in part because the weather warmed up and bigger crowds started coming to the park, and in part because the team deployed loud noisemakers after the games to scare the birds off.
But whoever went out to Wrigley Field to take pictures of ballplayers last season captured this issue in the shot shown above. And whoever at the Topps Company got to decide which Reed Johnson image was going to grace his card this year chose what could be the most natural image I’ve ever seen on a baseball card. There are three birds, against the green ivy on the outfield wall, along with a ballplayer in blue, who seems to be oblivious to the company that he had as he tracked a flyball. It’s just a great shot, and my congratulations go out to the people who made it happen: the photographer, the photo editor, and the outfielder.
The Skip Shumaker rally squirrel card may have received all of the attention for this year’s baseball card set–never mind that Shumaker is hardly even in the shot–but I like this one better. But then again, I’m a Cubs fan. What would you expect me to say?