Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back to full power

I've been in a rut these last few days.

For whatever reason, baseball cards just haven't been that high on my radar lately. I usually hit a "collecting wall" like this a couple times a year. No trades coming in, no trades in the works, and just not much of an interest in cardboard.

It's bound to occur from time to time, and I'm sure this sort of thing happened to most of us.

However, I'm happy to say that I've recharged the batteries, and I'm fully back into the card collecting ring.

Usually, there's not one specific event that gets me back to "full power". I just wake up and I suddenly want to just flip through my baseball cards again. I can't explain it.

This time, things were a bit different.

There was a specific occurrence that led me back into the card collecting realm, and it directly pertains to a member of the blogosphere.

A couple days ago, I volunteered to send a little "welcome to the blogosphere" package to fellow blogger Michael of "The Card Raven". He's been nothing short of gracious during his time reading this blog (and others), frequently leaving great comments that always make me feel good about what I wrote that day.

In fact, he even credits my writings as what led him to start a blog in the first place. While I will admit that something of that sort is a bit of an ego boost, it really signifies just how far I feel I've come in the blogosphere. I've already surpassed my expectations of myself when I starting this blog about a hundred times over by now, as I've already recounted.

Anyways, with all the great readership and comments that Michael has provided me with lately, I figure the least I could do was send him some cards in return.

He told me he likes pretty much anything of Hall of Famers, which is perfect since I've accumulated a good amount of extras during my time as a similar-minded collector. Michael also collects Mets, which I knew I had a good amount of ones to send his way.

So into my "extras" boxes I went, just hoping to find a few neat Mets or Hall of Famers to send to Michael. Although I was still in my "rut" at the time, I had a blast doing that. (I found some great cards that I think you'll like, Michael, but I won't reveal any here in order to not ruin the surprise!)

But a funny thing happened while I was digging through all my extras.

As odd as it might sound, my formerly "outcast" cards brought me out of my collecting funk.

I have a ton card-filled boxes in my room, filled to the brim with all the extra cards I've accumulated over the years. Those take up a lot of space themselves. (Plus, there's the all the space that my 50+ "keeper" binders take up, but that's another story.)

Two of my boxes contain all my base cards from 1998 to the present. They're neatly organized, and you can view them pretty easily on my website, year-by-year.

Everything else is a train wreck, for lack of a better term.

I just throw all my pre-1998 extras in a couple boxes on my dresser. Other than the fact that they're all baseball cards, none of them are organized or filed in any way.

From what I've seen on his blog, Michael likes older cards, so I decided to make those a majority of the mailer I was going to send him. I knew there were a few '70s Mets and Hall of Famers in there.

To my surprise, each box I dug through broke down the "collecting wall", bit by bit.

I hadn't looked through a couple of them since my pre-blogger days, when my baseball cards were either defined as "in the binder" or "not in the binder".

Although my basic collecting premise is still the same, I've come to see that it's a lot more than if a guy gets access to my "binders" or not.

Take that absurdly awesome John Smiley card at the top of the post.

Since Smiley isn't a member of the "binder club", my pre-blogger self tossed it aside without a thought.

I unearthed it again in one of the final boxes I dug through yesterday, and I ended up staring at it for a minute or two.

The fact that John Smiley isn't in my binders was beside the point.

I've seen a few of those "above the mound" shots, but they all pale in comparison to this one, at least from the ones I know of.

This is the type of card that personifies why I love being a "low-end collector".

It showed me just how far my love for this hobby has come in the nine months since the start of this blog.

I think that thought is what ultimately pulled me out of my collecting rut.

Even after I picked out the group of cards to package up and send Michael's way, I wanted more. I wanted to "hunt" through some more of my extra cards to see what I could find.

I'm glad I did.

My closet is literally lined with cards.

Boxes, tins, and tubs, all of which probably date back to my earlier days of collecting when I'd buy dozens of packs for no specific reason. Mostly your run-of-the-mill 1989 Topps or 1990 Donruss cardboard.

It's almost like something you'd see on Storage Wars. In a way, I felt a little like Dave or Barry going through all those boxes.

I've gone through most of them a few times each by now, but I'll sometimes find a new card that I somehow missed the last time. Usually, it's just a spare 1988 Topps card or something that I mistakenly thought I already had.

Nothing earth-shattering.

This time was different, however.

I found a little tin way in the back reaches of my closet. Judging from how it smelled when I pulled the lid off of it, I think I used to store crayons in there when I was younger.

From the looks of it, I'd never browsed through this particular stack of cards before, a stack of about fifty or sixty that were neatly rubberbanded together.

My jaw dropped when I saw this '85 Leaf Bill Buckner. He's one of the prominent players featured in my binders, yet I'd never even seen this card of his before.

The tin revealed an even greater surprise a couple minutes later.

I don't know why or how cards like these were relegated to a tin in the back of my closet at one point.

Seriously, a Hostess card should never have to live its life like that, much less one of a well-known name like Don Baylor.

I'm overwhelmingly glad I "saved" this card from...well, myself, but I can't help but be a little angry at the same time.

How could I let something like this happen?

Looking on the bright side, now was the perfect time to find it, since I recently decided to start collecting cards of Mr. Baylor.

I picked up a different Hostess card of his at a recent show. This one is just icing on the cake.

Now, it's happily sitting where it should've been the whole time.

In my binders.

If you ever find yourself in a similar "collecting rut", I recommend taking a look through some doubles/extras boxes of yours. You might be surprised at what you find.

What started as a simple quest for a few Mets cards turned into a whole lot more.


Zayden said...

Wow, what a great story! And I'm pretty much overwhelmed that I could be apart of it!

I've had those "rut" moments from time to time as well and it indeed has carried over to other interests and hobbies. It almost happens in different cycles or phases.

Since joining the blogosphere(again thanks to you)I have not fallen into the rut, but I can certainly understand how interest can wane and sometimes it happens when you bury your head in the deepest.

It's cool though as you mentioned maybe just bury a little deeper into your collections and see what you got lying around can actually help to re-ignite your passion.

AdamE said...

When I saw that Buckner I thought, "Ohh,ohh, I need that card" then I got to the part where you collect him and I thought crud. Then I thought, "I bet I have some Buckner doubles somewhere...

gcrl said...

Hey nick. Aren't we working on a trade? :)

Chubby Amigo said...

I started my collection up late. I just ordered the topps sets that I had as a kid 87 and 90 being the big ones for me since they were the ones that I flipped through as a kid. I started collecting the new 2013 Topps set and so has my son. Since reading your blog i have been attacking the 5 for a dollar tote at my local card shop and even requested him to see if he could find me a Kevin Brown Topps card in his Retro uniform that you have posted about. I feel you have shown me a new appreciation for design and photos that go into the baseball cards. I think when I complete my 2013 set I will start the Gypsy Queen set. I don't know why those cards stand out to me I just think they look nice. In the process I will continue building old junk wax sets. Thank you for your blog keep up the good work!