Sunday, July 8, 2012
There's no end to the praises I have for the blogosphere.
While I've already recounted what I've learned from it and how it has changed me, I did leave out one major benefit. Something for which I'm extremely thankful.
It's made me less of an idiot. (At least as far as the hobby goes.)
On a seemingly unrelated note, my mom came back from a local flea market with one of the best gifts I've ever received.
A set of six "75th Anniversary" postcards of the Three Stooges. Because my mom ended up buying something else from that vendor's table, the guy let her have them absolutely free.
I've always been a huge Three Stooges fan. A few years ago, I "invested" some of my birthday money into a eight-DVD box set that has every single Curly episode from the series. I still rank that as one of my better buys.
That should tell you how big of a Three Stooges fan I am and how much I enjoyed these postcards.
Between my mom and her flea market/garage sale treks and my dad's vinyl collection, I seriously think bargain hunting is encoded in my DNA.
But to borrow a familiar Three Stooges saying, I was a bit of a "knucklehead" in the way I viewed the hobby before I joined the blogosphere.
As I've already chronicled, my previous trading life was pretty much built around "book values". Not the most heinous crime, but something I've definitely grown out of.
But what really inspired this post was a term I dropped into one of my earlier posts. I like to go back and read some of my older posts sometimes, but what I came across in one of them shocked me. I used a term I've grown to hate ever since. (Read my awful writing if you must.)
In so many words, I said anyone who didn't own a certain card wasn't a "serious collector". And not in a sarcastic way. (Cringe.)
What does that even mean?
Actually, I think I know what it means.
It's someone who doesn't have any fun with this hobby.
Someone who dropped obnoxious amounts of money on Chris Shelton cards way back when, hoping to make a quick buck.
At one point, the interest in Chris Shelton was everything I currently hate about the hobby.
Curiously, it's turned into everything I love about it in recent years.
I've always found those "Famous for 15 Minutes" guys fascinating. Chris Shelton is pretty much the epitome of that nowadays. Naturally, I decided to start a collection of his after the short-lived hype over him died down.
Currently, my Chris Shelton collection sits at 21 different cards, which probably cost me about two bucks total. (Including the three dime Sheltons I found at last Saturday's show.)
I still get excited whenever I have the good fortune to find a new Chris Shelton card for my collection.
That's what I think is fun.
Much like Shelton, I'm sure Anibal Sanchez cards skyrocketed in value for a short period of time.
In his case, it was a no-hitter that caused all the hype. Although Sanchez has turned into a bit of a better player than Chris Shelton, he's still largely forgotten in this hobby.
Yet I still bought this card when I first saw it in one of those glorious dime boxes. Because I aspired to be a "serious collector"?
I just liked the picture.
Perhaps my favorite thing about it is current Yankees skipper Joe Girardi in the foreground, applauding what one of his players had just accomplished while taking in the entire scene at the same time.
It's examples like these that make me proud to collect baseball cards.
As I remarked to my dad after Saturday's show, I always seem to come home with a new Johnny Podres card after every new card show expedition. (A '65 Topps Podres, for what it's worth.)
And almost none of them seem to be in good shape.
Take this one, a '66 Topps Johnny Podres which I plucked from the quarter bin at the local flea market a couple years ago.
It's creased in more than a couple places. Not to mention the corners aren't too great. Certainly a "well-loved" card.
And as a result, I can't help but love it as well.
One of my favorite things about the blogosphere is that most can appreciate the history of a "loved" card, such as this one.
Nothing "serious" about it.
For the record, let me just say this. I apologize for using the term "serious collector" in a, well...serious way. I've gotten a lot wiser since then.
All of us in the blogosphere know how to have fun with this hobby, at least from what I've read in my time here.
"Fun" was what baseball cards originally meant to people, and it's one of the main reasons I've loved my time in the blogosphere so much. My fellow bloggers take the hobby back to its "roots", in a way.
We collect what we like to collect, and we're having fun doing it.
That's all that matters.