Friday, January 11, 2013

The discoveries

I've heard people say a lot of dumb things in my lifetime.

Haven't we all?

While I can normally just shrug off most of the stupidity I happen to come across, one specific saying never ceases to aggravate me.

And, believe me, I hear it quite a bit.

It goes a little something like this...

"Why would anyone want to read a book more than once? I mean, you know what happens at the end, anyways. What fun is that?"

But it's not just books, mind you. I've heard variations of that quote in relation to movies, TV shows, and even music as well.

Saying this to me (or even within my earshot) is an easy way to get on my you-know-what list.

I consider myself to be quite a chipper kind of guy.

But this always seems to get under my skin.

I didn't re-watch the eighteen-episode Freaks and Geeks series last week to "see what happens at the end".

Don't get me wrong, it has a good ending. But that's not what keeps me what keeps me coming back to it over and over again.

Although I've probably watched the series at least ten or twelve times, I continue to find new little "nuggets" that make me enjoy the show even more.

For example, I noticed that a Marx Brothers poster is visible in Neal's room in one of the later episodes of the series.

For those of you that have seen the show and remember his Halloween costume, that should make a good deal of sense.

On top of that, I'd never realized just how many references are made to The Jerk throughout the series. I never noticed that in any of the previous dozen go-arounds.

See, that is exactly why I re-watch TV shows.

Or re-read books.

Or collect baseball cards, for that matter.

Although I've made a few minor tweaks, I've basically been collecting the same things for the last four or five years.

And I can honestly say that not a day goes by where I think of the hobby as "boring", simply because I've been doing it the same way for a few years.


Because, much like TV shows or books, I continue to find new little "nuggets" that make me appreciate cardboard more with each passing day.

In the grand scheme of things, these "nuggets" aren't anything that mind-blowing.

But if they're important to you, then that's all that matters.

I'm glad to say that the blogosphere has contributed into a few of my recent cardboard "discoveries".

The most notable one as of late relates to good ol' Panini.

Apparently, they recently released a new series. Panini Golden Age, as I'm told.

Not a peep from my local Target. Not a peep from my trading forum. And not a peep from anywhere else around the Internet.

But, thanks to a couple different members of the blogosphere, I've seen what the set has to offer.

And I'm on board with it.

For one thing, the checklist includes all eight of the infamous "Black Sox". Whether it's Joe Jackson or Fred McMullin, readers of this blog might recall my extreme interest in the 1919 White Sox.

More than that, though, Panini included a card of each of the Three Stooges in their Golden Age release.

How cool is that?

As a huge fan of the comedy legends, I've long wanted to see a card company introduce a Three Stooges-related item into the cardboard market.

Thanks to Panini, my wish has finally come true.

Now, I just have to track them down. From what I've seen, it won't be a cheap endeavor.

Still, it's better than not knowing about them at all.

Isn't it?

Sometimes, the "nuggets" can come from the most unexpected of places.

A couple weeks ago, I was browsing Listia for the umpteenth time, hoping to discover a "gem" with the 200 or so credits I had remaining.

And that's exactly what I found.

Although I bought pack after pack of Topps in 2011, this magnificent Jose Reyes issue had managed to slip through the cracks.

Not only that, but I hadn't even seen a picture of this particular card in all my hours of surfing the Internet until Listia came around.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic to win this one for a mere 100 credits last month.

It has just about everything I could ever want in a baseball card.

It's horizontal. It's a new addition to one of my player collections. It's a night card. And it's one of the better action shots I've seen in recent years.

Although fairly rare, I absolutely love cards where you can see the play developing in the backdrop. You can clearly see Chase Utley getting ready to receive a relay throw from the outfielder, with Juan Castro backing him up.

All while the dirt-covered Reyes is clearly "thinking three" in the foreground.

I hadn't really gone back and "re-watched" the 2011 Topps set since its release. I thought I'd already known everything there was to know about it.

That just goes to show you, though.

Never think you've got it figured out.

Who knows?

Perhaps there are still a couple 2011 Topps "gems" floating around, waiting to be discovered.

From what my past travels in this hobby have shown me, I'm sure there are.

In the end, though, I believe the whole "re-watching" concept is most important with one particular facet of this hobby.

Your collection.

Sometimes, I think we have a tendency to store new cards away and not think about them again for a while.

I was like that during my early days as a collector.

Granted, with the large collections that many of us own, it can be difficult to really go back and look through all our cardboard.

Lately, though, I've forced myself to sit down and take a good look through a binder or two every once in a while. 

Cardboard aside, I've found that it can be quite therapeutic for those overly stressful days.

But the benefits stretch far further than that.

For one thing, the "therapy" has helped me unearth a few "nuggets" for future blog posts.

This one included.

The Howie Kendrick card you see above helped inspire last month's "bat barrel" post.

From there, I decided to check and see if there were any other cards of the sort from Upper Deck's 2009 Goodwin Champions release.

That led to a fun discovery.

Unbeknownst to me, that Kendrick was apparently a coveted short-print.

From there, I decided to see if I happened to be sitting on any other Goodwin Champions SPs.

Which in turn led to a whole bunch of new discoveries.

Gleefully, I found that I'd had...

Not one...

Not two...

Not three...

Not four...

Not five...

But six other Goodwin Champions short-prints hiding in my collection this entire time.

And, to top it off, all were former dime box finds of mine, including the Kendrick.

Without the practice of "re-reading" my collection, I'd still be in the dark about the whole entire thing.

Still, the "nuggets" don't even come close to ending there.

As I've mentioned in the past, the blogosphere inspired me to take a deeper look at my collection.

In recent journeys through my binders, I've discovered a ton of great little "nuggets" that I'd never noticed before.

I came across this awesome 3-D Roberto Alomar card during a brief dig through my Blue Jays binder this afternoon.

I've had this one in there for years. It's a card I'd previously viewed on dozens of different occasions.

This time, though, I noticed a few things. Things that made me appreciate this card a whole lot more.

For one, I'd never noticed that Mr. Kenny Lofton has a "cameo" on this Sportflics issue, most likely in an attempt to break up a double play.

Seeing as how Lofton is one of my favorite players in the history of the game, it proved to be a pleasant surprise.

On top of that, I'm not quite sure how the appearance of a random, disembodied limb in the bottom-right hand corner of this card had managed to slip by me all these years.

Are things like that important to every collector?

Probably not.

But it matters to me.

It makes me appreciate my collection a whole lot more.

Which kind of leads me into my final point...

Taking a good look through your cardboard every once in a while serves one major benefit.

One that far outweighs all the others.

If I didn't make a special effort to browse through my Ichiro collection every once in a while, I doubt I'd love it as nearly much as I do today.

Having more than 400 cards of Ichiro in my binders is one of my proudest accomplishments as a collector.

But I don't think I'd realize just how awesome it is without a good look-through every so often.

That concept can be applied to all of my cards, for that matter.

Sure, the feeling of physically "discovering" a terrific card from a show or flea market can only happen once.

But getting the most enjoyment out of a particular piece of cardboard involves years and years of "discovering" the card all over again.

Little by little, it helps you appreciate your collection a whole lot more.

More than that, it helps you appreciate the hobby even more, too.

I honestly don't know where I'd be right now without having my baseball cards to cherish on a daily basis. 

Frankly, I don't care.

I'll always appreciate this hobby.

No matter what happens.

1 comment:

Mark Kaz said...

Always gotta stop and smell the roses, as they say. That is something I need to do more often, also. We tend to get so caught up in the act of collecting that it becomes easy to forget to actually enjoy the fruits of your labor. But, like you point out, that allows you to make a lot of great discoveries all over again!

Great post, as usual...