Sunday, August 30, 2009

What I Love About the Hobby

It often seems, that we in the blogsphere spend a disproportionate amount of time opining and delivering commentary that highlights or addresses the negative aspects of The Hobby and I thought it would be a healthy exercise to express and remember what I, and I'm sure others, love about The Hobby.

With very little in the way of true hobby journalism and investigative reporting coming from the likes of the industry's media companies, bloggers like myself and others provide a true voice in The Hobby to deliver a well rounded and complete perspective of The Hobby landscape. That being said, with everything that comes from Beckett Sucks and Sports Card Monthly being peachy keen and hunky dory, we are often left with commenting on the negative. Such is life, somebody has to do it.

However, this is a hobby, and one I myself have passion for because despite all of the industry's faults, I love it.

I love the social networking opportunities created by the blogosphere. A place and opportunity to connect with like minded people free from traditional Book Vale Geek mentality that seems to dominate the few remaining card shops. Through other social networking sources available to collectors like Facebook, Twitter, message boards and forum a true since of community can still be found in The Hobby. Those card shops that incorporate community and social media into their business model are examples of how great this hobby truly can be.

I love the generosity that I have found in the blogsphere, which clearly has become a HUGE part of The Hobby in the 21st Century. Real collectors willing to help fellow collectors, never once glancing at an antiquated price guide or wanting anything in return.

I love being able to use the Internet anywhere, anytime to find exactly what I want, when I want it and at a price I am willing to pay. Sure, when it comes to singles, patience is often a virtue, but chances are sooner or later you will find what you are looking for without ever leaving your house.

I love little pieces of cardboard that capture moments of time. Made by or involving my favorite athletes and sports, serving as a tiny time capsule, preserving forever historic achievements, memorable moments, comical and whimsical occurrences, record breaking events, post season history and more. All on a tiny piece of card board.

I love heroes of my youth on trading cards. While I can no longer see them play in person, I love relieving those memories of Ripken and Ryan, Jordan and Payton, Sandberg and Thomas, Roenick and Belfour. Retired players included in today's product connect the past to the present providing a true timeline of the games greatest athletes. For as long as their has been baseball, their have been baseball cards. Through it's earliest, now unrecognizable years, to the utlra modern, hi-tech era they play today, the game remains relatively the same.

I love modern trading cards, with Chrome, Dufex, Refractor, Rainbowfoil printing technologies.

I love the simplicity of vintage cards and the great players from those eras that are synonymous with the game. Mantle, Aaron, Mays, Snider, Williams, Ruth, DiMaggio, Musial, Feller, Gibson.

I love cut autographs of deceased players, I love on card, hard signed autographs.

I love multi-color patches from the superstars of sport. I will never own a Tiger Woods used club or a game worn Walter Payton Jersey or game worn jerseys or game used bats of Ripken, Ryan, Ruth, Mays, DiMaggio, Wagner, Cobb and others, BUT thanks to trading cards, I can own and display a piece of these relics that connect the player to the game and me to the player.

I love my collection. Not the stuff in boxes in a closet but what I display. My 500 HOUR single signed balls, my signed balls of Cubs and Sox greats Carlton Fisk, Luis Aparicio, Ron Santo, Ryne Sandberg, Fergie Jenkis and Billy Williams. My signed pucks from Blackhawk Hall of Famers Pierre Pilote, Denis Savard and Bobby Hull. I love my rookie card and game used collection of Ripken and Ryan.

I loved retired player products like Topps Archive and Fan Favorites. UD Hall of Fame and Heroes when it came in a tin, Sweet Spot Classic and the real SP Legendary Cuts from 2001 to 2007.

I love a healthy dose (but not current saturation) of retro themed products. Like Cracker Jack and T206.

I love baseball cards set using art and not photographs like Diamond Kings, Gallery and Masterpieces.

I love that trading card companies had the vision, insight, and creativity to develop all of the aforementioned products.

I love rookie cards, not knowing just who will be the next big star.

I love the creativity that collecting allows to create individualized miniature Hall of Fames for our favorite players.

I love owning a game used card from every member of the original HOF induction class of 1939 except Walter Johnson because I know sooner or later that card will be made and a VERY cool mini collection will be complete.

I love paging through high end auction catalogues and drooling over some of the most amazing pieces of museum quality quality memorabilia.

I love a selection of products to choose from every year and not being bummed and bored when I finish a Topps set like I was when I was a kid, stuck waiting for next year.

I love being able to sell cards I don't want via a real secondary marketplace like eBay so I can further finance my collecting pursuits.

I love The National and the fact I have been fortunate enough to attend four and I love knowing I'll be at a fifth in 2011 when it returns to my hometown.

I love that I live in a market that has 3 Major regional shows EVERY year.

I love that I collect teams whose players are regularly available at various promotional signings.

I love writing for this blog and Card Corner Club, which gave me my original voice in The Hobby back in 2003 and the opportunities it has provided me to meet and interview, in print and radio, industry professionals and star athletes.

I love knowing that Marie and Sooz of Card Bandits and all my other friends in the blogsphere are stealthily stashing away UD 20th Anniversary cards, helping me to complete the largest set completion task I have ever undertaken at 2,500 cards!!

I love hating Beckett. Like every hero needs a villain, my antithesis is Beckett. Much like Batman to Joker, Superman to Lex Luther, Spiderman to the Green Goblin, where would those super heroes or VOTC be without an enemy?

I love knowing that our hobby will endure despite the economy, industry failings or shenanigans.

There really is a ton to love about our hobby, sometimes it's good to remind yourself.


James said...

Great post.
Good exercise to think about what we like - instead of what we don't. It's easy to get caught up in the rage sometimes.

dogfacedgremlin said...

Great stuff. I was just curious though. Aside from your boxes packed away in closets, how do you display your collection? I've been looking for various ways to get mine out in the open.

Rob- AKA "VOTC" said...

I use shelving and those little card easels.

Pablo said...

I would love it if a company could come make it easier to hang plastic holders for cards, photos, posters, or any other flat items to hang on my wall. Should I punch holes or stick thumb tacks in the holder or what? Seriously, not every collector has a forture frame everything!

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