The Ten Hobby Commandments…but probably not.

I’m one of those brave souls…or maybe just foolish physical manifestations of a current human being?  I went to a card show this past Saturday. 

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

It was a card show with other collector’s, other humans.  People that have different priorities than me.  People that may think facts and science are negotiable.  In the time of a major pandemic.  In an area where the numbers are not going down.  It was risky.  I grant you that.  Of course I wore my mask and sanitized the hell out of my hands before i left the car and once I got back into the car.  I did my best to not touch every single thing I see, but then again I’m not four years old…that part was easy.  Sports card collectors have not traditionally been the healthiest of crews.  We all know what I’m talking about without saying it…but I’ma say it anyways. 

We’re all some version of the stereotypical cardboard hoarder; the fried food eating, soda drinking, epic hit oversharing, hunched over a box of cards looking to score a big hit kinda person.  That person, we all know them and we own some of those characteristics.  I know I do…the fried food, love it.  Sodas, love ‘em.  Hunched over a box, my neck is sore after every show I go to.  Ironically though,  well, maybe not ironic…maybe it’s just a timing thing with this post.  For the month of January, the bride and I are doing a thirty day cleanse after a much needed year of eating and drinking our feelings.  Drowning our sorrows in whiskey and wine all year while chasing it with some burgers and fries hasn’t done our bodies well.  We’re one full week and I’m feeling significantly better…but enough about me. 

Let’s talk about some commandments in the hobby that I abide by and how some of them relate to card shows and collecting.  I know some folks around here have noted some type of community agreement for card shows and collecting in general, so these are from my perspective.  Oh yeah, I’ve based them on the Notorious BIG’s “Ten Crack Commandments”.  Very possibly inappropriate and most likely have very little to do with the actual hobby in itself, but I’ve always wanted to mix this song into a blog post.  So, I may be going all over the place here and relate absolutely nothing back to the hobby…but you should read because I think it’s fun and I’ve got 1960 Topps cards in between…Let’s go…sorry, as one of my favorite colleagues says…one more thing. The cards and the stories have absolutely nothing to do with each other. You’ve been warned. Ok. NOW. Let’s go.

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Number ONE! Biggie Says: Never let no one know.

My hobby isn’t really a secret, but I do like to stay somewhat anonymous.  I’ve tried to scrub my name from the blog and rarely…if ever posted a photo of myself.  The bride has suggested that this is not a good way to drum up business and attract readers or buyers.  Her thought is that people want to know who they’re dealing with.  My thought is that I don’t want that.  I like anonymity and I like blending in.  I’ve never been one to stand out in a crowd and don’t really feel the need to stand out in the hobby.  Who knows though, maybe she’s correct.  I often find myself googling other blog authors or collectors to see who they are (does that make me a stalker…?)  I’m not on the facebooks, so it’s a challenge to find faces and match them up with their blogs.  So, I fully embrace the notion of letting no one know.  A fun future blogger game would be to match the face with the blog.  That would be a fantastic year end game to play…?

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Number TWO! Biggie Says: Never let ‘em know your next move.

This one relies heavily on secrecy and finding a “honey hole” of sorts…no, scratch that.  That’s a horrible term.  Maybe it’s really just a favorite spot.  I have those.  But I share them.  I know some folks have a Target or Walmart that they hit up during a certain time of day during a specific day to grab those retail commodity boxes…guess those folks play to the never let ‘em know your next move.  I’m not big on that, I think that sucks.  Share and share alike I say.  So maybe this one applies to some, but not me.

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Number THREE! Biggie Says: Never trust nooobody.

So, this one may be ABOUT me and I’m still feeling a little guilt about it.  When I was at the show Saturday I stopped by Bill’s table (Gavin knows this guy).  Bill is an older gentlemen that lives in Salem, about an hour south of Portland.  He buys card lots from people and has about 4 tables of 10cent, 50cent and Dollar cards.  The dollar cards though, if you buy seven of them it only costs you $5!  It’s been that way forever…or at least like 10years forever, that’s how long I’ve been hitting up these shows…I mean, I’ve been going to these shows for over a decade and it’s always been like that…well, at least that’s what I remember.  I went through the $1 cards and separated my stack into sevens and tallied up the total.  I like organization, remember?  As I was counting, i had an overwhelming sense he was peering over me…I believe he was…I KNOW he was.  When I told him my total, he said “you sure…ok…I trust you…”.  Bill can be an odd duck, but that stuck with me.  I wandered around the other tables and dealers for a bit but couldn’t get it out of my head.  My guilty conscience brought me back to his table to clarify if the $1 box was still 7 for 5?  “Nope” was the response and the shame rained down instantly.  I did a quick recount and gave him the difference in cash and explained to him my “why”.  He seemed to be ok with it.  I guess.  I hope.  I should have asked or clarified when I felt odd about his response, but I didn’t.  That’s a whole nother blog post to explain those issues about me.  I did square it away and I feel good about that…but f’real Never trust nobody…including yourself.

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Number FOUR! Biggie Says: Never get high on your own supply.

I think this is a great one as we all do this.  Opening boxes is great, right?  Who doesn’t love opening things.  My kid loves it.  My bride loves it…hell, my dog loves it.  She opens every single stuffed animal we buy her.  Therefore, I too love opening boxes.  I have a stash though.  I love the stash…but mostly open them when I’m bored or in need of a fix.  The people that hold on to boxes can really see a jump in value if they wait the right amount of time.  That’s a hard thing to do, sit on something and just wait for a rainy day or come across some ebay listing that says it’s going for twice what you’ve paid for it.  How does one NOT get high on their own supply at this point.  Apparently 1989-90 Hoops are going for close to $100/box.  That’s ridiculous…but it also proves that if you don’t get high on your own supply, you can make a buck or two plus in the future…you know, to buy more cards.

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Number FIVE! Biggie Says: Never sell no crack where you rest at.

I am a collector first and foremost.  This is an expensive hobby though…like really expensive, especially the last couple of years.  I’ve been listing my cards on ebay now, quite a bit.  I’ve also done well, so much so that I’ve opened a shop on ebay and have been dealing with the crazies all across the country buying my unwanted cards.  Essentially running a small card shop from my home.  I do mostly PWE’s and have been adding my return address just in case something gets lost or ends up bouncing back and forth between Miami and Minneapolis.  I don’t mind fellow bloggers having my addy, but not some coocoo man from Florida type that could receive a card they don’t like and decide to take a road trip to the PNW.  I’m thinking of getting a PO Box to help with this issue so I’m not selling no crack…cards where I rest at forever.

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Number SIX! Biggie Says: That got damn credit? Dead it!

Cards are expensive, remember when I mentioned that in item 5?  Yeah…really expensive.  How many collector’s run up a debt in their collecting process?  Hopefully not many, but I’m certain some do.  Living on credit is tough during these Soylent Green sorts of days and almost necessary for some of us.  But man, that got damn credit?  Dead it.  If I can’t pay cash for a card, I don’t need said card…that’s mostly the impetus for selling so much on ebay.  Ultimately, my goal would be to not spend any of my day job money on cards and just get to a point where I can spend card sales money on cards!

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Number SEVEN! Biggie Says: Keep your family and business completely separated.

I love my family.  They love me…even my 8 year old.  The dog loves me.  At least one of our cats loves me…not sure about the other one.  He’s definitely more of a momma’s boy.  They all have some kind of idea what I do with my hobby, not explicitly, but generally.  My always asks why I collect cards and in return I ask why he always plays video games…it’s because we enjoy it.  Also, we’re both incredibly anxious and these things help our emotions stay in control.  Part of the hobby can be dense…too much for a spouse to deal with…or maybe just not want to deal with.  I let the bride on to some things that we deal with in our hobby, but mostly don’t.  Not because I’m hiding anything (don’t tell her about my stash!!!), but because I don’t believe it will generate a lot of interest for her.  Keeping this part of my life separated from her is ok…she knows how much it means to me…she just has some concerns about the time I spend with the hobby.  Maybe the hobby does its own part in keeping family and business separated…?

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Number EIGHT! Biggie Says: Never keep no weight on you.

So, as I mentioned in item 3, I was at Bill’s table this past Saturday.  Lots of new faces in the crowd.  Sneaker head faces behind their Supreme and Nike facemasks, just straight ballin’ out…sorry, that wasn’t really necessary.  But seriously, the landscape of these card shows and the hobby have changed.  The hobby has been influenced by influencers.  I’m sure I’ve been sucked into some of it as well…I’m a sucker most of the time.  Well, anyways.  While at Bill’s table there was a group of twenty somethings buying graded basketball cards.  Not just some basic cards, LeBron and Kobe rookies.  These youngsters has some loot too.  The tallest one, I’ll call him Chad for the sake of conversation.  Chad pulled out a ziplock back…the kind with the plastic slider, not the integrated slider…he had the baller ziplocks.  That bag was way too aggressively slammed down on the glass display case and in it was a four inch stack of cash…at least.  All twenties, at least from what I could tell.  Chad was not messing around.  He wanted those slabs and got those slabs.  The Chad gang left right after the purchase and went to their cars…I guess to unload the weight.

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Number NINE! Biggie Says: Stay the F*** from police.

Well, maybe the police don’t have anything to do with this one.  Other than possibly the moral collector police or the “back in my day” police.  I totally get the frustration we all have with the hobby at times and the influx of new faces, but things change.  I like to see this change as good for the hobby.  It increases accessibility, awareness, attendance and other words starting with A’s.  It also increases interest.  Our hobby has had, in my mind, a negative perception for those that don’t know.  We’re seen as overgrown children doing children things…collecting WHAT??!!  I had those when I was a kid…why do you still collect cards…now you know why number one was so important to me.  I like to see how others collect and I honestly don’t care if someone objects to my collection process or methods.  This hobby is huge and has many lanes for all of us to participate in…let enjoy and not overly police others that are new to the hobby.  So, not only stay the f*** from police, don’t be one!

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Number TEN! Biggie Says: Consignment, if you ain’t got no clientele, say hell no!

Consignment, yeah…no thanks…well, maybe.  Selling cards is tough, you really need a lot of stock to make some money in doing it.  Collecting cards is also tough, you really need some good collector friends and online searches to find what you want.  Do we really need consignment in our hobby?  Many times I’ve been sent a link on twitter for a great Washington card and pursued it.  Some times the favor was returned when I posted a card…sort of a communal sharing.  Ebay is a bit of a consignment…they take a huge chunk of your change so you can sell your items to a significantly larger audience.  Helpful yes.  Paying for them to such a thing, not so much.  But, honestly would I have sold that card without them and their reach…?  I don’t know…may say hell maybe to consignment.

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Hope you enjoyed the read.

Hope it was slightly entertaining and engaging.

My apologies for the ramblings, but hey…isn’t a blog supposed to be about ramblings? 

Have a great evening and see you next time!

-Cardboard Hogs

And now…the inspiration for today’s post…as well as the inspiration for the song for the post…so metta.

One more Chance!

I have a stack of cards in front of me that have a story that needs to be unearthed, something that can connect the pieces of card stock together in a nice little cycle of like kinda way.  I just don’t know what that story is yet.  I got foil cards. I got celebrity cards, I got guys with turkey necks and a guy that took a barbecue sauce bath, and some cards that are called Fire but look like Chihuly glass…guess it was fired glass…semantics i guess.  Let’s start with the celebrity stock of First Pitches.

Two rappers, one is The Rapper…Chance that is.  The other is Warren G.  If you have been reading my words the past few years, you are fully aware of my affinity towards the rap music and culture.  I’m pretty critical with my rap music though, almost a snob…yes, you should call it a snobbish attitude.  I love lyrics and great storytelling.  Guys…and Gals…that can paint a picture with their words in a seemingly quick or witty manner.  The two guys above do that, although in all honesty, i can’t say i’m a fan of either.  The reason for me?  Their voice.  Guru from Gangstarr had a song “Mostly the Voice” that clearly explained that its mostly the voice that we love or hate about a rapper.  Now, he did go on to explain that the lyrics are critical as well, but in his opinion…it’s mostly the voice, and i agree with these two guys.  Both Chance and Warren G have very distinctive sounds to them and are incredible story tellers.  One of Warren G’s biggest hits was a terrific narrative of the wild life of an inner city Regulators, but the voice though…couldn’t handle it, plus it was the kind of laid back west coast music i wasn’t really in to back then.  Now, Chance is one of those new rappers and i’m an old guy, so part of my distaste for his sound is that i’m not sure i truly get his metaphors.  Seems like a great kid, positive kid trying to do some great things and share his stories…just not something i’m really in to yet.  Possibly haven’t given it a good enough listen, I just struggle with him.  Plus he’s in Kit Kat commercials and gettin’ down with so many different stars on my television set and internet machines.  Seems like a lot of success came quick for him, too quick.  I’m sure he’s been grinding at his craft for a while…but too much too soon for me to be a believer.

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Speaking of quick success, Aubrey Plaza.  Came on the scene out of nowhere with her popular character in the comedy series Park and Recreation (April Ludgate) who might have been the quintessential apathetic employee…that’s what the backside of this card said about her.  Think that’s pretty appropriate.  I had never heard of her until the Parks and Rec show that i watched for Nick Offermans’ character, Ron Swanson and the lovable Amy Poehler.  I feel like Aubrey is one of those actors/actresses that doesn’t really ACT! but rather ends up playing the same person in each role that is really her in real life like Vince Vaughn or Michael Cera.  She’s cute, awkwardly funny and somewhat edgy i guess.  I must admit that her glove seems excessively large for her scale of human being.  A smaller glove may have been in order for her big first pitch opportunity.  Wonder if she could borrow another one?

Here are those Fire cards i was talking about earlier, not really sure how i feel about these inserts.  Maybe if the card stock was thicker and possibly shinier, shiny is good sometimes, then i might be all in.  I’m definitely all in for Griffey and McCutchen.

Griffey and Cutch appear to be in a flaming cauldron and trying to swing their way out to a burning hell.  The Cutch card should be a Steelers card.  Meanwhile the two Dodgers i pulled are emerging straight out of a pit of propane and butane, or more poeticly, emerging from the latest experimental Chihuly sculpture.  Either way Maeda is feeling the effects of those flames coming in as hot as blue blazes!!! (my grandma would have been so proud of me for getting that one in, miss you Winn!)

We’re about to go from fire to foil, just like a night over the grill.  (Really wished i pulled a Jason Grilli foil card, would have made that transition solid gold).  I will settle for this quote though from the back of Pat Deans’ card “the cunning southpaw soaked up a barbecue sauce shower after beating Felix Hernandez for his first win”.  So foil, grilling, BBQ sauce, Pat Dean:

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You readers at home are just going to have to trust me in regards to the foil on these guys.  It’s there, you can’t see, but trust me, it’s there.

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The next card was a pretty cool pull, a Cubs team card black and white reverse negative SP card…wait, It’s a Jake Arrieta card…wait, it’s a Jake Arrieta no-hitter card…wait, it’s a damn checklist.  Damn!!!  It’s also a very demonic appearing David Ross.

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Moving on to the next group of cards.  Serial numbered foil cards with perforated screen print and a running 2016 Topps banner…these cards have it all…everything on one card.  If it had a snowflake/snow flake (forgot to look that up today…) it would have been over the top though.  The thing that struck me about this trifecta of National League East pitchers was their turkey neck poses.  I wonder how many players get excited to see their cards in a pack and pull…

THIS!

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OR THIS!

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OR THIS…!!!

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Actually, i can’t really see Bartolo Colon ever caring about his image on a card, seems too carefree for such frivolities.  That glove…he should let Aubrey Plaza use that if she ever tosses out the first pitch for the Metropolitans.

I have a few more cards to post, the hits you know.  Gotta wait for those tomorrow though.  Kinda happy with the little success i had with those three cards…not a bad bunch.  Nothing ground breaking, but nice no less.

Hope you guys have a great evening.

Here’s a video from one of the greatest storytellers in rap and a no doubt classic.  From 1988!!!