THE PLACE TO LEARN ABOUT BASEBALL -- AND HOW TO SNAG ONE AT A MAJOR LEAGUE GAME




Lineup cards



  "You mean they just GIVE these away?!"

I'd been to hundreds of games before I happened to see some random fan behind the dugout ask for the lineup cards after the final out. He got them. Just like that. From that point on, I always asked and finally got my first pair on June 26, 1999 in Detroit.
     
  Ground rules

This is the reverse side of the cards above, and as you can see, Tiger Stadium's ground rules were printed for the managers.
     
  Incomplete pair

Usually I get both teams' lineup cards at once, but in this case it didn't bother me because . . .
     
  Fancy-schmancy

. . . Diamondbacks manager Buck Showalter also gave me this. (I've scanned all these lineup cards full-size, and this one is BIG.) It's the fancier type that's taped to the dugout wall during the game. Managers usually keep the smaller ones on a clipboard or just stick them in their back pockets.
     
  Rough night for Wiki

Exactly one year later, the Angels showed me some love at Qualcomm Stadium. The circled numbers indicate who made the final outs. Mo Vaughn, for example, was retired to end the top the third while catcher Wiki Gonzalez was scrambling all night to put his equipment back on.
     
  Q-comm again

What can we learn from this lineup card? In addition to the fact that Travis (Katzenmeier) was the home plate ump, two members of the 300-save club appeared in the game. Their names, along with other relievers who pitched, are highlighted in green at the bottom.
     
  History!

What're the odds of seeing Randy Winn hit for the cycle and getting the lineup cards on the same day?
     
  Who's been pitching?

(Another reverse view with more to follow . . . ) The Giants charted the usage of both teams' relievers and taped the info to the back of their lineup card. By doing so, they knew which of their pitchers to rest/use and had an easier time predicting which Reds they were likely to face. Jason Standridge? No way.
     
  The curse of NYC

Why is it so hard to get lineup cards in New York City?
     
  No Standridge

See?! I TOLD you he wasn't gonna pitch!
     
  Back-to-back-to-back

Third consecutive game with lineup cards. I can't explain it. These came from Cubs manager Dusty Baker at Minute Maid Park. Note his signature on the bottom.
     
  Another chart

Dusty keeps track differently. Check out the performance of Houston's starting rotation. Even Ezequiel Astacio went six innings.
     
  Barry Bonds

Cool.
     
  No ground rules

Odd.
     
  Dusty does it again

I don't care what people think. Dusty Baker is the man. Not only had he tossed me a ball before the game, but during it he took the time to indicate which inning-ending outs came via strikeouts and with the bases loaded.
     
  Citizens Bank Park

Chain link fence in right center? Sounds dangerous. Management really oughta put some padding on it . . .
     
  Historic night

Not only was this the first time I ever got a lineup card in New York City...and not only was it Matt DeSalvo's major league debut . . . but this was the day I snagged my 3,000th ball.
     
  I [heart] Manny Acta.

Manny Acta (at this point managing the Nationals) has tossed me more baseballs than anyone, ever -- sixteen balls, to be precise. He also gave me the only lineup cards I got in over 350 games at Shea Stadium.
     
  Another BIG one

It had been eight years since I'd gotten one of these full-sized, taped-to-the-dugout-wall lineup cards. When one of the Blue Jays coaches handed this one to me, it still had two strips of white athletic tape stuck to the top and bottom.
     
  Bullpen slackers

This card came from the Blue Jays' bullpen at Champion Stadium. The guys out there clearly didn't care who made the third out, and they only bothered highlighting the lefties and switch-hitters on the other team.
     
  September 24th = Bonus Item Day

On September 24, 2007, I got lineup cards at Shea Stadium. Exactly one year later, I got this pair of cards from the Braves at Citizens Bank Park AND a bat from Greg Norton. Hot damn.
     
  Chicago @ Texas

This card came from the White Sox's bullpen at Rangers Ballpark. When I saw that it was still taped to the wall after all the players and coaches were gone, I lingered inside the stadium and eventually convinced a groundskeeper to get it for me.
     
  Citi Field

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez tried to toss me both of his lineup cards after the game. Unfortunately, I only got one of them, and here it is -- the first lineup card for me at Citi Field.
     
  "Not good"

Orioles manager Dave Trembley gave this to me at Target Field, and as you can see, he had scribbled an unflattering statistic about Twins switch-hitter Nick Punto. (The "RHH" presumably stands for "right-handed hitter.")
     
  Lefties are red . . .

. . . switch-hitters are blue. Edwin Rodriguez, I love you.
     
  Strop making spelling mistakes!

This was the Blue Jays' bullpen lineup card on April 25, 2011, and as you can see, they butchered Rangers reliever Pedro Strop's last name.
     
  A-Okay

The next day, the spelling mistake was corrected, and someone on Blue Jays drew this on the back of the lineup card.
     
  Lefties and switch-hitter

The Blue Jays highlighted all the lefties in yellow and marked the lone switch-hitter in blue.
     
  Four-peat!

Thank you, thank you, yes, I got these lineup cards from the Blue Jays' bullpen four days in a row.
     
  The BIG one

After snagging 18 baseballs on 5/13/11 at Nationals Park, I got Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez to peel this 11" x 17" lineup card off the dugout wall and hand it to me.
     
  Lineup sheet?!

Technically this isn't a lineup "card" because it's just a flimsy piece of paper. Nevertheless, I got it from the Angels' dugout after a game at Safeco Field, so it's worthy of being included in this collection.
     
  Three colors

This came from the visitors' bullpen on 6/28/11 at Yankee Stadium. As you can see, the Brewers used three different colors for the Yankee lineup: red for the lefties, green for the switch-hitters, and blue for the righties.
     
  Bob Feller logo

Classy.
     
  Dusty's . . . crucifix?

Johnnie B. Baker Jr. (aka "Dusty") wrote several things on this lineup card that I don't understand.
     
  Don Mattingly's signature

Even though I've never liked the Yankees, I pretty much worshipped Don Mattingly back in the day, so it was cool to finally get his signature (as the Dodgers manager) on these lineup cards.
     
  Batting cleanup: Steve Pearce

Seriously, Yankees?
     
  2012 All-Star Game logo

No, this lineup card isn't from the All-Star Game. It merely has the logo, but I still think it's cool. (Depending on how his career pans out, it might end up being even cooler that these cards are from Jake Odorizzi's major league debut.)
     
  Another BIG one . . . with calligraphy

Brewers coach Jerry Narron is known for his stellar penmanship. Note that he wrote Norichika Aoki's name in Japanese and Jesus's name in Hebrew. Also, he intentionally omitted the vowels in the reserve players' last names and inadventantly misspelled "Headley" in the Padres' starting lineup.
     
  Ohhhh, Canada!

The Blue Jays are good about leaving their lineup cards behind in the bullpen. It would've been better, though, if there were a date on this one. (I got it on 5/17/13 at Yankee Stadium.)
     
  Hudson

This was the game when Tim Hudson fractured his right ankle in a gruesome collision at 1st base with Eric Young Jr.
     
  Grammar 101

Dear Phillies, please tell the Braves that "managers" needs an apostrophe. Thanks.
     
  Japanese

Here's another BIG ONE, given to me by Jerry Narron after the final out of the Brewers' season.
     
  Suck it, Braun.

Tough night for Ryan Braun, who made the final out of the 3rd, 5th, 10th, and 13th innings. If only he could have done something to improve his performance.