I was taking some time away for a vacation of sorts that ended up being this ongoing cluster that has me stranded in one spot with no timetable to make purchases and get stuff in-hand - all I've been doing is trying to doing some 'heavy' research to look for cards to add to my collection while trying to deal with the idea card blogosphere things have passed me by.
One of the things I've come up with is my own list of things I liked and then didn't like - I'm not sure which list was easier to make, though privately, maybe I tend to get over critical or cynical as far as what I may see around the hobby as a spectator than a participant.
I reserve the right to flip-flop on some of these - but the idea is to shy away from these aspects of collecting.
1.) Supercollecting players - the quality and sheer number of cards in the hands of serious player collectors overwhelms me.
When I wouldn’t have the money to be able to grow and showcase a player collection - I feel more like a casual and not so knowledgeable.
While I might think I live and die trying to collect the same player as a super collector does - it’s just a different beast, where I’m playing by different rules, thinking about the cards I don’t have compared to someone who can buy themselves a serious player collection to start off with.
2.) Team collecting - I don’t want to be a slave to worrying about having to ‘collect them all’ when it is virtually impossible.
I like seeing assorted cards of my team all the same with different players from different years represented - but I find the quests for one or a few more random cards to complete a team set that may readily be purchased online silly unless it is somehow a single card actually worth something.
3.) Autograph middlemen - I’ve been a ‘through the mail’ autograph guy in one form or the other for the past 25 years and getting occasional successes in the mail box is still something I looked forward to.
Besides those who graciously sign for free, the idea of paying a nominal fee [$10-$20] to go straight into a player’s pocket or for their charity is just part of the game - depending on subject, I’ve sent the required amounts to ensure I get a response with my card (s) signed.
However, it’s not as fun going through a seemingly ticky tack promoter who presumably advices players to stop responding to TTM requests - now you are nickel and dimed through this made-up rigmarole that wasn’t as simple as simply reaching out to the player before.
Now it’s a hassle to get 1 or 2 random cards signed and most times it’s like, ‘next’ rather than paying some fee - to some random dude who wants his cut in addition to the player.
Maybe the players in question weren’t really signers before, don’t always appreciate the flood of mail they might receive now or are made paranoid because what is signed is turned around to be sold - the players have the right to dictate what they want to do with their mail, just don’t have someone involved who more a shyster than a friend of the collector.
4.) Set collecting - maybe if I’d been weaned on old-school [pre 1985] or vintage [1973 and before] years, then I’d be building sets, looking for missing cards, trying to display a set in binders, etc.
I’ve lived through the eBay era where things have been to easy to find for the past 20 years - while there might be lingering nostalgia, the complete sets I’d end up trying to pick up would make me feel more like a hoarder than anything else.
Maybe I’d like to have bookcases of binders featuring a year-to-year run of flagship sets - but I probably wouldn’t go back earlier than 1987, when I might have had a vague idea of what baseball cards were and started to get serious about them a few years later.
I can probably try to collect a current year set moving forward - but there is always Topps factory sets mass produced in different variations.
5.) Retail flippers - guys who hunt for unopened product to resell online for double or triple amount; this may not be new, limited to sports cards or toilet paper, but I hate the idea of people staking out big box stores or pharmacy stores to secure entire displays of unopened boxes of cards, leaving me without a reasonable chance to have something in-hand.
In the day and age where willful ignorance is seemingly embraced - you might be the one laughed as being unreasonable if you openly complain about jokers taking everything off the shelves, leaving nothing for others.
I try not worry about what I can’t control but that isn't always the case - it sucks to read about the dog-eat-dog mentality in the quest for others to monetize their hobby experience in the expense others.
6.) Prospecting - I honestly want to be in on a guy before he makes it big and have his best first year autograph card out of Bowman, Bowman Chrome or Bowman Draft.
The way it is however, there seems to be a keyed in network that hoards up all the first year prospect cards - even before a player enters his first full season of pro ball.
There is big money involved and I maybe priced out even if I want only the prospects from my team - it’s still an apples to oranges comparison but now I get the occasional rant about the unproven being overvalued in modern collecting / speculating.
7.) Commemorative patch cards - too thick to fit a binder, don’t always have the plastic holder for them handy and they stick out as a common enough ‘prize’ I don’t particularly need out a Topps blaster box or maybe in other box configurations.
8.) Retro players in sets - there is a little disconnect trying to collect old-timers [either as part of an active player set or strictly a retired player set] in products produced long after they retired [or really, long after they’ve passed].
I tend to think it’s only original cards for me or bust - but I’m not that old-timey, relatively well off boomer who can pick up vintage cards of the legends and icons on a whim.
The oddballs and other old-time themed sets from the late 1970s through the junk wax era generally does nothing for me - unless I’m desperate to fill a loose card project hole, which might be the case more often than not.
9.) Kissing up to notable people who collect - because the sports card hobby needs to feel relevant, the odd individuals who collect from one-time pro athletes to social media influencers are treated like royalty; maybe it’s cool for a moment, but I try not be a fanboy or someone trying to look for an ‘in’ to schmooze with said personality through social media.
The smart guys know how to tug at heartstrings, market and manipulate through their online presence - they might collect just the same and I might be inspired, but I tell myself I do not know these guys.
I wouldn’t care about their non-collecting causes or their thoughts and even if they come off as relatively down to earth - I’d rather keep my distance rather than hang on every Tweet, Instagram post or YouTube video put up.
10.) Rookie year subsets and inserts - maybe it’s just a way to make more cards of notable rookies but these must be designed to make it so collectors are one more card separated from pulling the actual rookie card of a particular player from a set.