Monday, April 6, 2020

Ten things you like that I don't like

There's been a little game going around the internet recently: list ten things everyone else seems to like that you don't like.

This caught my eye for many reasons, not the least of which being that, admittedly, my preferences and those of the masses just don't seem to match up a lot of the time (my list would stretch into the hundreds). But when I had the thought to morph this list into something baseball related, I quickly found that it wasn't as easy as I thought. While I may not love everything that is popular in the world of baseball and baseball cards, I tend to at least moderately like the most-loved players, the best-loved sets.

Initially, I wanted my list to stick to just baseball cards -- but I tried and tried and tried and honestly couldn't come up with ten things. Sure, I could think of a lot of things I like that no one else likes (look for that blog post in the near future, hopefully), but the inverse was way more difficult. In the end, I was able to boost it up to ten once I factored in baseball itself and its other ancillary links outside of the cards.

Some were easy, some were hard, and either way I'm expecting to catch a little flack from this post, but there's no turning back here, in no particular order, are ten things that make me look at you like Don Larsen, ten things you like that I just don't like.

#1 -- Field of Dreams

Perhaps the most obvious way my baseball tastes differ from the masses comes with movies.

I repeatedly see films like Bull Durham and The Natural near the top of Best Baseball Movie lists. Bull Durham is OK, and don't go spreading this around but I've never seen The Natural all the way through (and don't have much of an urge to). But no movie presents more of a discrepancy in this regard than Field of Dreams, almost overwhelmingly hailed as the greatest baseball movie ever made.

I thought it was a decent film when I was younger, and I think I had the DVD at one point, but I've watched it a couple more times as I've gotten older and I have to say that, well...I don't like it. I don't find it relatable or particularly exciting, and let's not even mention that they screwed up which side of the plate Joe Jackson hit from. I just don't think it's a very good movie.


#2 -- The Designated Hitter

I don't know that the DH is universally loved, but a lot of people seem to have lapsed into a sense of inevitability that it will be universally adopted at some point.

NO! I don't want to see this! I never want to see this! For me, National League ball is up here, and American League ball is way down there. It's not so much that I enjoy watching pitchers hit (though I do) -- it's more about the strategy it brings to the game. And that's one reason I love baseball way more than any other sport: the strategy of it, the ability to sometimes win a game by outwitting someone else. The DH takes away from that.

And while it's fun seeing a few favorites squeeze a couple more years out of their career as a DH -- occasionally resulting in odd sights like Eddie Murray in those strange '90s Angels jerseys -- I rue the day when the DH becomes universal.

#3 -- 1952 Topps

The top nominee for the baseball card portion of this list was easy: 1952 Topps.

Nothing I say here should detract from the history or importance that '52 Topps has in the hobby. It's the first major release of the biggest brand in baseball card history, and forever changed cards as we know them. That's hard to argue. All I'm saying is that, aesthetically, the cards aren't close to the greatest Topps has ever produced. They're nice, sure, but I mean in my book it's probably the fourth- or fifth-best set Topps produced in the 1950s alone.

Every time I see '52 Topps commonly praised as one of the greatest sets ever made (which is often), I can't help but wonder if people are blinded by the history of it, rather than looking at the cards themselves.

#4 -- 1967 Topps

One of the comforting things about reading blogs has been the piece of mind that, yes, most of my tastes seem to be shared with that of the collecting community -- which was nice to know since it often felt like I collected in a vacuum during my youth, not knowing if what I liked was what anyone else liked.

But one exception to that rule, I've found, is 1967 Topps, an almost universal favorite among vintage collectors. I don't dislike it, but at the same time it's never spoken to me in the way that a lot of other older Topps designs do. Like '52 Topps, it's not even close to my favorite design from that decade alone (it's probably fourth on my '60s list). Maybe time'll change my opinions, but for now I'm not sold on '67 Topps.

(RIP, Mr. Kaline.)

#5 -- The Wild Card Game

Here's an example of a concept I once loved but now ain't so sure about.

I suppose I should like the one-game Wild Card playoff, given that the Cubs unquestionably benefited from it in 2015, going all the way to the NLCS in a year where they otherwise wouldn't have made the postseason at all. And most people seem to love it. But the more I've watched these games in recent years, the more awful and uneasy I feel seeing the losing team go home after a single game. It doesn't seem right.

Now, I like the two-team Wild Card, but I'd be in favor of seeing it go to a three-game playoff instead of a sudden death event -- still gives the division winner a nice advantage (since the Wild Card team would have to burn three starters) and it'd turn the playoffs into a little less of a crapshoot than they already are.

#6 -- Pack stashes

Here's one where I'm a bit more jealous than disbelieving: I still don't know how people keep unopened packs of baseball cards in their homes.

I wish I could do this, because wow would it come in handy in such a strange time like this apocalypse we're living in. I see pictures all the time of people with entire boxes full of unopened stuff in their rooms, and it just seems so unnatural to me. I can't squirrel cards away. Packs were made to open, and open now. 

Case in point: I bought one of those 100-card Walgreens repacks recently which came with a scintillating pack of 1990 Donruss, and even that I needed to open right away (biggest pull: Jesse Orosco, woo).

#7 -- Bobbleheads, etc.

I can say with 100 percent certainty that I have no interest in collecting bobbleheads or other large displays of baseball memorabilia.

I simply don't have the space for it, for one thing, but more than they they just don't appeal to me. This one shelf in my room is the sum total of all my bobbleheads and other large non-card pieces. Some of the bobbleheads were sent to me, others found by family members in thrift stores, and the RC Cans were a cheap impulse purchase at the flea market many moons ago. Cool items, sure, but any more than this and I'd be verging on needing a separate portion of my already stuffed room. Plus, unlike cards, I don't have the urge to look at these very often, to hold them in my hands.

So for now I'm satisfied with this lone shelf, because have you seen how much space baseball cards can gobble up?

#8 -- Gypsy Queen

If there's one brand as a whole that I just don't seem to get, it's Gypsy Queen.

Year in and year out, I commonly see it praised as one of the best and most anticipated sets on the card calendar. I've never been huge on GQ, and even worse, all the designs blend together in my head over time. Unlike Topps or Stadium Club where I know the looks by heart, I'd have a tough time recognizing what year any given GQ card is from if you showed one to me (these 2015s are one of the few that stand out). In a hobby flush with riffs on old-time designs, I still have a hard time figuring out why Gypsy Queen remains so captivating to the masses.

I hear 2020 Gypsy Queen is out, and even if we weren't in this quarantine season, I'd have little interest in searching for it at Target.

#9 -- Artist-rendered cards

Here's another hobby trend I don't like at all: expensive artist-produced cards.

One recent fad is something called Topps Project where renowned artists are redesigning famous rookie cards (for princely sums). I don't like these at all. I see absolutely no point in screwing with iconic baseball cards. At least the Living Set phenomenon of the last few years is a riff on an old design, rather than a complete recreation of it. But even those don't really appeal to me -- this Ichiro is the only one I've bought, and even that took a good amount of hemming and hawing.

And you can go further and further back: Topps Gallery, UD Play Ball, etc. -- all in all I just kinda prefer the brushstrokes stay on the canvases, and not on the baseball cards.

#10 -- TTMs

In my twenty years of collecting, I have never once sent out a TTM request.

Sure, I've had a few TTM autographs graciously sent to me by other collectors, and, like this Al Downing, they're all really cool. And given what I've seen on the blogs and other card outlets, TTMs are hugely popular, maybe the most otherwise popular corner of the hobby I've included on this list. But I personally just don't see the excitement in sending a card away and (maybe) having it show up days, weeks, months, years later with a signature on it.

A lot of this probably comes from the fact that I'm not huge into autographs anyways -- but either way, I've never had the urge to do TTM, mostly because I don't see much of a reward at the end of the tunnel. Like everything else on this list, I want to like it, but in time I've accepted that it's just not for me.

So there you have it, ten things you like that I don't -- let the shouting matches begin.


The Angels In Order said...

That was an awesome read Nick. I especially agree about unopened packs...I just cant do it.

Chris said...

I agree with you on most of these - I don't understand how anyone can really like the 1967 Topps set, or bobbleheads (though I don't hate either) and how anyone can keep their packs unopened is beyond me. My brother in law would buy a box of hockey cards, open four packs, and be done. Like...what?

Also, I do not like Gypsy Queen or the Wild Card game. This will probably turn into a good BBA but I might turn it on its head and make a list of ten things I like that no one else does...

P-town Tom said...

I'm completely in your corner with the DH, '67 Topps, the Wild Card Game, and Gypsy Queen. The others I don't feel too strongly about and could be swayed. But, the two that matter the most to me, the DH & GQ, we seem to see eye-to-eye on. Very nice.

Mike said...

I agree with you,to varying degrees,about all of these except '67 Topps...

Also,just put some Gypsy Queens in the mail for you,haha!!

Elliptical Man said...

I'm with you on Field of Dreams, unopened packs, and Gypsy Queen.

Not sure I understand what you mean by artist cards. I thought the Donruss Diamond Kings by Dick Perez were really cool. Easily one of the best aspects of the junk era. But I don't know if this is the type of card you mean or not.

Johnnys Trading Spot said...

You were right. Now I'm gonna chew your ass out. LOL just kidding, in fact the exact opposite. I'm with you on 6 of the 10!

I want the DH to go AWAY for ever. 67 Topps not all that appealing to me either (the 60's not a good Topps design decade for me), Rip them packs right freakin now, Bobbles, figures, and signed balls I only have a few and that is on purpose, GQ should also go bye bye forever alongside the artsy cards.

Nick Vossbrink said...

Almost closed the window after #1 but I'm with you on ALL the rest except for TTMs. Do I have a pack stash. Yes. But that's only because I haven't had the time to rip into it yet.

TTMs have been fun though since I really enjoy sending out customs and writing the letters. Yes the returns are nice but it's not just about what you get back.

night owl said...

I'll get you to like '67. Only about 58 more posts about it on my blog ahead! It's got so much going for it that nothing else in the '60s can touch. Only '65 is in the same stratosphere and that's because it's leaning on its flag design so heavily.

I'd say some of the other things you don't like you have company in with the older fans and collectors. (DH, wild card).

I actually have the "things I like that nobody else does" post cued up for later this week. I like that angle a lot.

gcrl said...

I agree with you on some and disagree on others, which is indicative of the individuality that comes with collecting.

Shlabotnik Report said...

"Wait, did I write this?" (Looks at banner at top of page) "Nope, not me".

Field Of Dreams was entertaining, but I didn't have *that* relationship with my Dad, so my heartstrings weren't tugged.

I've realized that I find any depiction of humans with oversized heads to be somewhat disturbing rather than "whimsical" or whatever they're supposed to be. No bobbleheads or Funko Pops in my house!

I'll have to see if I can write a similar post, but without repeating any of yours. We'll see...

friend11 said...

You inspired me in the beginning with collecting cards that the majority didn't mention. Your mini collections let you appreciate cards for the details. I do have about 20 bobbleheads, but all of them are blowing bubbles.

GCA said...

This should definitely be a Bat Around, if not a double (things everyone likes but me, and things that only I like).
Can't argue with many of your reasons. I have a bunch of non-card stuff, but 90% of it was really cheap and I go a bit overboard on my player collections.
I don't do TTMs, but I think doing a few for players that matter to you is fine, but some that do them constantly, and send six cards at a time is too much. If you collect autos, then OK, but keep it down to a couple unless you're giving four away later.
The simplicity and balance of '67 is my biggest reason for it's appeal. '52 is nice but has been run into the ground.
And yes, GQ has jumped the shark. A&G should be the retro set. Do something original in GQ's place.

Bo said...

I agree with most of these - art cards I find particularly pointless, 99% are copies of photographs, a simple high school art project. I disagree about '67 (I love the green backs) and also about the DH. The "strategy" thing is somewhat of a myth. Joe Torre managed a long time in both leagues and said the AL was actually harder because of the DH. In the NL, 95% of the time it is an obvious call when to pinch hit and remove your pitcher. In the AL, managers don't have that crutch when it comes to making pitching decisions. (That said I do enjoy watching pitchers bat occasionally.)

Tim said...

Major League is clearly the best baseball movie ever. The DH is THE WORST. Though I will say I do have a bit of a pack stash it's mostly just packs I was uninterested in opening because they are junk wax. I generally can't keep my hands off a pack. I can't wait to rip 'em! I like Gypsy Queen, though I can see why you might not, though I think Allen & Ginter suffers as much from repetitive design as Gypsy Queen does.

Brett Alan said...

Very much with you on one and two. I found Field Of Dreams to be very meh, and while I'm OK with the DH in the AL, I never want it in my NL. No real strong disagreements, except maybe that if you're going to have a wild card, I think 1 game is the right way to go. And I think I like 1952 Topps more than you do, although it's certainly not as good as some of the other sets of the decade, especially 1956.

The big thing that comes to mind for me is goofy pictures on baseball cards. So many people in the Frankenset voting LOVE the cards of players diving into a pool, getting hit with a pie, or playing with farm animals. I want my baseball cards to show me a portrait of the player or that player playing baseball. Doubly so for cards where you can't see the player's face.

shoeboxlegends said...

Great list Nick! That was an enjoyable read for sure. If I can find the time I'll take a crack at it myself, interesting topic.

sg488 said...

Great list, I agree/disagree with you on #1 Never liked Field of Dreams,but I always enjoy The Natural.I agree with you on 2,3,5,6,8,9,10.As for #7 I always liked figurines/bobbleheads,extra flavor for my card room.As for #4,1967 is my favorite set of all time ,might be an age thing (I'm 59) maybe you will appreciate it more over the years.

Jay said...

Excellent post, Nick. I agree with you on everything except for Gypsy Queen, and I'll go you one further on #1 and say that fictional baseball movies IN GENERAL are awful, including all of the popular favorites. That is all - thanks!

Fuji said...

Great post. I'm completely drawing a blank at coming up with things everyone likes except me. Like there are things I don't like... but they aren't things that are going against the grain. I'm gonna sleep on this topic and see if anything pops into my head over the next few days.