A couple of weeks ago, eagle-eyed Redditor “vanilla__thunder” noticed something odd on Chicago’s ABC 7 newscast. No, it wasn’t a wacky lower third or some good side-eye from an anchor that didn’t realize they were on camera. It was a bunch of Pokémon cards.
A bunch of Pokémon cards pinned up inside the World Series’ champion Chicago Cubs’ locker room. A bunch of really good Pokemon cards, actually, including a holographic Zapdos.
So what’s up with that?
According to The Athletic, those cards belong to Cubs shortstop Addison Russell. Turns out that Russell got way into collecting over the winter. He said that now he’s buying packs regularly and trading with his extended family. But he’s gone a step further, decorating his collection with his teammates’ signatures.
But how do you decide who signs the Magikarp and who gets the Blastoise?
“It’s just kind of the description of the card,” Russell told The Athletic. “Each card is different and each player is different and brings something unique to the plate. I analyze, see what I see and pick out some rare cards. The only cards I get signed are the rare ones because I think we’re all rare players. So I get them to sign whichever one I feel is a good fit.”
Russell had Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant put his John Hancock on a first edition Charizard. First baseman Anthony Rizzo signed a Pikachu, and right-hander John Lackey got a Mega Houndoom EX.
“I know a couple other guys wanted to start collecting,” Russell went on to say. “But right now it’s just kind of my thing.”
You can keep tabs on Russell’s collection via the Cubs’ Snapchat, apparently. I guess that means I’ll have to get a login for myself now. I’ll take care of that after I buy a scorecard and settle in with my Old Style.
The Cubs aren’t the first professional sports team to catch the gaming bug, by the way. A few years ago, a bad case of Catan flu broke out on the Green Bay Packers’ offensive line. How it spread from there to Kristen Bell is anyone’s guess.