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Minneapolis St. Paul News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | Minneapolis, Minnesota | kare11.com

Twins fans are finding other ways to connect with the team this year

They can't go to the home opener in person this year, so Twins fans are doing the next best thing.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn — Finding a Twins fan during the home opener is pretty easy, if you hang around Target Field long enough, you’re guaranteed to find someone, not this year.

"It just doesn't feel like baseball,” Twins fan Derrek Schafer says.

Instead, fans like Schafer are hanging out at the local sports card shop, buying anything with a Twins logo on it.

Eric Johnston co-owns Three Stars Sports Cards in Bloomington.

He says the shop has been busy nonstop since Major League Baseball decided to keep the season going this year.

"This spring has been amazing for the sports card hobby," Johnston says.

The hometown heroes, like Josh Donaldson, Nelson Cruz and Max Kepler, are certainly the most popular, but Johnston says the sports card industry overall has seen an unexpected boom during the pandemic.

“It was just so unexpected, and it’s just been so crazy,” Johnston says.

His theory is that people have more time on their hands these days and they’re using that extra time to reconnect with their hobbies.

“We’re hearing from a lot of collectors who are suddenly going back into the deepest corners of their basements and they’re pulling out boxes of cards and they’re looking at them again,” Johnston says.

“There’s magic in those boxes and they’re sort of picking up where they left off.”

Strangely enough the most popular sports card right now doesn't even feature a pro athlete.

The Topps company is now taking pre-orders for a baseball card that features Dr. Anthony Fauci throwing out the opening pitch of the season.

The card broke company records by selling over 51,000 copies in 24-hours.

If you’d like to get your hands on one it will cost over $250 on Ebay.

"It’s very interesting,” Three Stars Sports Cards shop co-owner Dan McKinnon says.

“We probably should have bought a few of them for the shop. He has definitely grown in popularity."

McKinnon says the Fauci card is a symbol of how the crazy of the sports card industry is right now.

“There’s just a lot of renewed interest in the hobby and it’s great to see.”

While pictures of athletes printed on cardboard are no match for seeing the Twins home opener in person, Twins fan Adam Gellman says it will do for now.

"At least we all get to be able to be in front of the TV and get to watch it that way,” Gellman says.

“It's not the same without the crowd there, but you know, it's kind of the way it is for all professional sports right now.