Wednesday, May 30, 2012
It's supposed to be fun, right?
Collecting baseball cards has been a part of me for as long as I can remember.
Here and there, I've given tips for card shows, and I've given props to dime boxes whenever possible, which is almost all the time on this blog. It's just a couple aspects of the hobby I've enjoyed sharing ever since I became a blogger.
I like to think I've learned a lot since I first became interested in baseball cards.
But perhaps the biggest thing I've learned since I started collecting as a kid is that this is and always will be a hobby for me, plain and simple.
And hobbies are supposed to be fun.
Almost all fellow hobbyists I've encountered, both in-person and online (but mostly online), are great people. They love cards just as much as the rest of us, and they all have their collections to admire.
They don't take the hobby too seriously, which is really the key to getting the most enjoyment out of it.
The one downside to trading forums is that you'll occasionally run into the person who wants to argue for whatever reason, perhaps taking a page from Earl Weaver's book.
I try to ignore it the best I can, but I still can't help but roll my eyes sometimes. After all, these are pieces of cardboard we're talking about, when you get down to it.
That's another reason I've come to love the blogosphere so much. In my time here, I've never had or read a single argument on either my blog or any other blog.
We're an even-keeled bunch.
In that regard, baseball cards are a perfect fit for me.
While I love watching teams going at each other day in and day out (I literally jumped out of my seat after Darwin Barney's walk-off homer this afternoon), I found out early on that I wasn't a fan of engaging in competitive sports.
A couple specific encounters led me to this realization.
One year in Little League, I was "drafted" by the Yankees. (Much to my dad's pleasure.)
We had a good team. I still remember our record that year. 20-1. While it should've been nice winning all the time, it was my least favorite year of Little League.
Our coach took the games way too seriously. I was an average hitter (I always liked fielding more than hitting), but I don't remember ever batting higher than seventh or eighth in the order. I never got the chance to do much.
Not surprisingly, the coach's son was on the team as well. And yes, he was the kid that would yell at everyone else whenever something went wrong.
While we were great during the regular season, we were "upset" in the first playoff game. Once the shock of losing wore off, I was kind of happy that the season was over, to tell the truth.
The next year of Little League was great. I had a bunch of friends on the team and I got to hit everywhere in the order. I got to play both the infield and the outfield, even pulling off an unassisted triple play during one of my infield starts. (Shades of Troy Tulowitzki.)
As fate would have it, I ended up making the final out in the semifinal game that year, striking out looking. I still maintain that the ball was low, ump!
Because I loved playing so much that year, I was devastated. From what I'd seen, the next level up in Little League was a bit too competitive for me, so that turned out to be my final at-bat.
Some things in life need to be taken seriously. Playing baseball against 12 year-olds isn't one of them.
I had a couple people trying to get me to tryout for the basketball team during my freshman year of high school.
I refused every time.
If there's one thing I hated about high school, it was the pep rallies. I never ditched a class, but I came really close to trying to get out of going to those.
I'm just not a competitive guy.
Which is why baseball cards are a perfect fit.
You can collect anyone or anything you want, and everyone does it in a different way. We pretty much all respect each other. We even try to help out as much as possible with trades and such.
I collect cards with cool pictures on them, like the A's celebrating another World Series victory. Someone else might collect Bryce Harper autographs. But that's fine. Just having the urge to collect is enough.
We're in this together, after all.