”just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in”
I’ve been back in the game for a few months now, and it’s time for me to write down a few basic commandments , mantra-style, so I won’t forget the face of my father (yes, that’s a Stephen King reference. Don’t ask).
First : never forget that this is a hobby. Not an investment. It could be, but I don’t nearly have the money to invest in vintage (I’m convinced that’s the only aspect of the hobby with monetary value down the line. Besides anything related to Michael Jordan, that is). So only spend what you can and don’t figure you’ll recoup later on. You never do.
Second : you’re a rookie. A 37 year old rookie. You know close to nothing about anything, so don’t try to flip a card or look for great deals. Just buy the cards you enjoy.
Third : Buy packs. And boxes. That’s what you love the most about the hobby, so keep busting packs. But not in the hopes of getting an incredible hit and just dumping the commons in the garbage bin. You’re not planning on selling your collection anyway, dimwit, so just take the cards for what they are : very enjoyable pieces of cardboard history documenting year after year of baseball games and trends.
Fourth : TRADE. That’s an easy one, it’s the whole point of writing that blog. Don’t be greedy, send out your best non team and PC cards because that’s the whole mentality of that awesome community. I used to be disappointed when I didn’t get anything for my PC/Team, but now I’m all excited when I get a hit that I can pass on. I’m sowing the cards of love. Very touching. I'm making friends already, can't wait to see where this will go.
Fifth : accept that you don’t know as much as Nick or Night owl or all those other very knowledgeable bloggers who know everything about their favorite team’s farm system and the name of the guy inside the mascot’s costume. It’s ok. It doesn’t mean you don’t have anything interesting to write about. Ok, maybe it does. But that doesn’t keep the vast majority of people from writing, so go for it ! Just find your own readership and try to fit into the community if there’s a place for you. If not, it’s ok, we all know you’ve been playing by (with) yourself for a long time.
Sixth : yeah, you’re a sucker for nice relic cards and autographs. But let’s not get excited and don’t spend more than $15 on a modern card. That’s plenty enough. White wales can wait, and there are so many game used cards out there that are cheap enough to keep you busy. You ARE allowed to trade for some, though (you’re welcome). You may spend up to $50 on some real nice vintage. And when I say real nice, it means a beat up Willie Mays card, or a T206 that you can finally add to your collection.
Seventh : You were born in 1977. Try to put together the Topps 77 set, dummy.
Eight : you’ll never have every blue jays card ever, not even every blue jays base card. So don’t worry about it. That checklist is fun to check, but the pages will never be fully checked (how many checks should a checklist check for the checklist to be checked ?). Just add one card at a time.
Ninth : keep learning. Read blogs. Your blogroll is a fun read, so make time for it. You knew every set and insert back in the 90s, but 16 years have passed, and it’s a big mountain to climb just to look at every set produced since. The bloggers are your sherpas. Share a soup with them and get going.
Tenth : share your finds. Scan cards. Don’t worry about readership. If you build it, they will come…