Monday, July 08, 2019

(Even) Better Know a Blogger: A Life Shaped by Baseball

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July long weekend, I know I had a good time!  We have a few more (Even) Better Know a Blogger interviews remaining so let's get to it.  As of early Monday, I have only two more interviews to publish after this one, so if you've been meaning to be part of this series you better act in a hurry.  Once I'm out of interviews, the theme week will officially be over!


Welcome to (Even) Better Know a Blogger week!  Each day this week, my goal is to publish an interview with a fellow blogger.  To be included, bloggers had to email me for a questionnaire, fill it out, and then email it back to me.  Simple!  I think many of us enjoyed getting to know fellow bloggers back when I ran a similar feature a number of years ago...and I'm happy to report that some of the same people that participated back then joined up this time around as well!  Let's get to it!


1.       Your name (or alias if preferred): Mike Scarlett
2.       Your blog website: A Life Shaped by Baseball. For over a decade, I recapped sports at a blog that I shared with a friend and also had a few short-lived blogs that I was not inclined to maintain. However, I have been quite reflective of late and inspired to again write. While this foray is not specifically centered on cards, there will be a consistent tie-in given how readily they are able to take me back to points in my life.
3.       Your social media handle(s): @MScarlett29 on Twitter.
4.       What are your favorite sport teams?
Growing up, the Mets, Chiefs, 1990s Bulls, and some Yankees squads were my favorite teams. Now,
my favorite teams are those that I coach, as the many problematic issues that permeate professional
sports make it hard for me to root for teams rather than individuals. Zack Greinke, Megan Rapinoe,
Andrea Petkovic, and Jacob deGrom are among my current favorite athletes, though. Mackey Sasser is my all-time favorite player, with Rusty Greer, Jackie Robinson, Edgardo Alfonzo, Scottie Pippen, Becky Hammon, and Hideki Matsui being among my (many) favorite former athletes.

5.       What kind of collector do you consider yourself to be (team collector, player collector, set
collector, etc.).  Why do you collect that way?
I suppose that the most accurate answer would be that I am primarily focused on collecting cards of
my favorite players and special interests at this point. I like to pick up some new cards each season,
but tend to find most of the current brands to be redundant in design and often overpriced. Repacks
may be similarly economically inefficient, but the variety and nostalgia factor still make them
enjoyable, even if I do not *need* any more cards of Tom Glavine or Darryl Strawberry or 1989
Donruss Chad Kreuter cards. ;) I never really collected sets, but have considered going back to
complete a few of my favorites from 1991.

6.       What is your favorite item in your collection?
The most accurate answer is likely any of the many 1989 Topps Mackey Sasser cards, as that card (or
its original missing place in my seven-year-old self’s collection – that story will come) actually set the tone for much of the baseball-loving experience that I have enjoyed. My first Sasser autograph was on a 1988 Donruss card and blew my mind that I could actually have an autograph of my favorite player.

7.       If you could add any one card to your collection (that you don’t currently own), what card would it be and why?
Selfishly, it would be pretty amazing to have a Jackie Robinson rookie card, but that is something that
I would prefer to have be on display somewhere like the Hall of Fame where thousands of people
could appreciate it. Not being much of a soccer fan, I did not know that there were cards of Megan
Rapinoe until a few days ago, so any of those would be a unique addition.

8.       Thinking back to when you first started collecting, how have your habits changed (if at all)?  Any ideas why?
I definitely take much better care of my cards now than I did when I was younger, as most of the cards that I accumulated from 1989 until ~1993 were eventually disposed of during to being worn from being moved around between various storage containers and pages. They were well-loved, though, so I am heartened by that thought. I also think that baseball cards used to be my gateway to more readily engaging with the game, but they are not necessarily as vital now that resources like Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs, as well as online sports websites, offer visual and statistical information in an instant.

9.       If an alien being came down from the stars and forced you to describe yourself using no more than three cards as talking points, how would you do it?

Imperfect, but trying my best.

10.   If you could give any of the major sport card companies one piece of advice about something you’d like changed (or perhaps simply continued) what would it be?
Wanting there to be more variety in companies that have licensing is really more of a wish than
advice, although it would be cool to see logos on cards made by the brands that are otherwise
showing creativity. Short of that, I will confess to not at all finding the ridiculous amount of parallels
and “hidden” short prints to be appealing. I found 1997 Ultra’s method of having a different photo on
gold medallion cards to be clever, but merely changing text color or shading is, to me, very dull.

11.   Where do you live?  What is your favorite local food?
I live in Danbury, CT and have lived in Fairfield County for most of my life. We really are not an area known much for its food and I am a vegetarian, so my sensibilities do not necessarily apply broadly. I greatly enjoy the food from Sprouts Vietnam in Bethel, CT and have a friend who runs an organic farm that yields outstanding produce, so there are some good finds if one takes the time to look.

12.   If someone were to visit you, what place (within an hour of travel from your residence) would you suggest someone be sure to check out?
Tarrywile Park in Danbury, CT is a relaxing and enjoyable place to take a walk or spend the day.

13.   What is your profession?  How did you end up there?  If you are in school, what do you plan to major in and/or what job do you hope to get after graduating?
At present, I am a high school baseball coach and a substitute teacher for all grades. I have been
coaching baseball at a variety of levels (I also coach Little League and have a summer 19-U team) for
21 seasons, beginning when I was in high school myself, so coaching has long been a passion. My
academic journey has been a circuitous one and I finally finished my degree in psychology in
December. I am still considering going to grad school for special education with a focus in autism,
although I am not yet certain as to what my ultimate aim will be. I know that I want to help people,
but have some issues with a lot of our institutions, including the focuses of our educational system, so
things are still up in the air a bit.

14.   Do you have any hobbies besides card collecting?
Coaching and writing have already been covered above. I used to be much more engaged in fantasy
sports (only play less-intensive baseball and basketball leagues now) and playing poker than I am
now. Baseball statistics still fascinate me and I have notebooks full of things that I have looked into
over the years. I have resumed playing baseball for the first time in a long time and am hoping to
broaden my level of activism beyond online engagement.

15.   Tell me something interesting about yourself that hasn’t been covered in the first 14 questions!
My summer team is named the River Bandits after a minor league team whose logo I liked, as I
primarily just wanted a hat with a cool-looking raccoon on it. ;) Thanks for permitting me to
participate in this series – I look forward to getting to know the collecting community!


A big thanks to Mike for reaching out and being part of my (Even) Better Know a Blogger series.  Mike is a new blogger on the scene, so I would encourage all of you to check out his blog (linked near the top of this post).  From the couple of posts of Mike's that I've read thus far, it's clear he has a knack for relaying personal anecdotes framed around the discussion of baseball (in some sort of context).  Personally, I'm excited to keep visiting Mike's blog to see what else he has to say!

As for the interview, Mike's answers read like his blog:  interesting and with a rather unique perspective.  After all, I don't think anyone else listed Mackey Sasser, Megan Rapinoe, and Rusty Greer as three of their favorite players.  I also have to give a shout out to Mike for mentioning that he has always liked statistics and baseball.  As a mathematician myself, I'm always happy when anyone speaks even remotely favorably about my favorite subject.  Truthfully, I'm not much of a statistician but if I had my druthers I might actually choose to be a statistician for a MLB team (especially if I could work from home somehow).  Who knows, maybe some day that will happen.  Until then, I invite you to keep up with all of the interviews in my (Even) Better Know a Blogger series!


Fuji said...

Always excited to add a new blog to my reading list.

P-town Tom said...

Cool, another high school baseball blogging about cards. Welcome, Mike!

Matt said...


Mike said...

Thank you again, Chris, for permitting me to be part of this series and for the kind welcome from everyone in the comments.

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