Monday, August 15, 2011
This isn't as easy as it looks
Remember, you have only until Wednesday night to enter my contest for a bunch of relic cards. You can either attempt to win six relics by merely saying "hey" on this post, or you can add five more key cards to the other six if you crack the code in that post, and are chosen the random winner.
So far there has been one ... well, one-and-a-half ... attempts to crack the code. If I'm going to have a real chance at giving away those five other cards, more people will have to take a shot. So, come on folks. That's what lunch breaks are for.
I thank everyone for entering. One of the cool things about contests is that you are reminded that there are more people out there reading the blog than just other bloggers. It's easy to be lulled into thinking that you're writing only for the very rabid collector who is so obsessed that they also write about cards on a daily or weekly basis.
Then when a contest appears, an unknown voice pops up in the comments and you realize, hey, this thing is on for anyone to use (reminder to self again: do not mention past girlfriends by name).
So, since I'm aware of that wider audience at the moment, I want to bring up something else to those non-blogging readers:
Since you don't have a blog and more than likely don't trade with other bloggers, you might be fascinated by this ritual that we have here. To you, there appears to be this magical world in which we bloggers live. We ship out cards to others wily-nilly without regard for book value or other ridiculous restrictions and receive the same in kind.
Then we all show those cards on the blogs. There are crazy good vintage cards and the very best of the new stuff, too. Everything looks happy and easy and awesome, and gee, it's freakin' card paradise, right?
It is pretty good. Hell, it's downright fantastic. But it's not paradise. Every once in awhile, I've had a trade fall through. No big deal. Sometimes I've forgotten about a trade or someone else has forgotten about my offer. No big deal either.
A couple of times I've sent out cards with the understanding that they'd send something back (how do I know that? They said "I'll send you something back."), and then here I am two years later still waiting and the person isn't blogging anymore. There is this one guy who told me, "hey, I've never traded with you," so I sent him some cards. No problem. I didn't need them. He wanted them. But I wouldn't call it a trade because no cards ever came back from him.
Again, this is No. Big. Deal. I've probably forgotten to send cards myself. But mostly, there are so many terrific collectors with wonderful hearts (I've got a bunch of other great card packages to show, in fact), that one dud every year is not even worth mentioning.
But I mention it because trading really can be a little bit of work. There are a lot of back-and-forth emails and, of course, all the labeling and packaging and running out of things to say to the postal worker because you have now seen him 149 times in your life.
And then there are the trade partners who are fans of teams that are impossible to find in your regular card purchasing.
I've mentioned before that I have a hell of time pulling Twins cards. It's been like that for years. I have no trouble pulling Rockies, Yankees, Braves, Phillies, Giants, Red Sox, you name it. I can go on streaks where all I pull are Mets cards, or A's cards or White Sox (that streak has been going on for a year-and-a-half).
I really have little problem pulling cards of most every team.
Except the Twins.
It's maddening. If there were five Twins card blogs, I'd be in big trouble.
I suppose part of this problem might be that the Twins are a small-market team and there may not be as many cards for that team as some of the others. But then why am I pulling Brewers effortlessly?
So, as you know, Rhubarb_Runner of the blog, e rayhahn, rayhahn (yes, I just looked up the spelling again), is a Twins fan. We've traded a few times. Miraculously, I've found some Twins he didn't have each time. But it's always a significant effort.
Also, did I mention that there's another Dodger blogger who lives smack in the middle of Minnesota? Yeah. So, Rhubarb_Runner has an easy trade pipeline to Twins cards right there. Go ahead and try to find a Twins card in a hobby shop or card show in New York state. There might be one Joe Mauer card under glass in Rochester somewhere. (Rochester, N.Y., not Rochester, Minn.). That's about it.
Then, not very long ago, I found out that Rhubarb_Runner had shipped a bunch of Documentary Kershaw cards (he always has stacks of Documentary) to a Kershaw blogger who isn't me.
Shuckins, I wanted those. Documentary is never anything I want to actually pay for.
But then, wonder of wonders, the James McDonald autographed card that you see at the top of the post, popped up on his blog.
Yes, I know McDonald doesn't pitch for the Dodgers anymore. But this was a bleeping challenge now. I had to find a way to get the card from a Twins collector even though I couldn't spot a Twin if I was on the set of Full House in 1988.
I had saved a purple refractor of Kyle Gibson all the way from last year's Bowman Platinum for just such an occasion, along with maybe 2 other Twins cards. But Rhubarb_Runner informed me he already had the Gibson card, and I got a little frustrated.
Normally, that'd be enough for me to give up on the trade. But I refused to do that. A challenge, remember? So I combed through my entire collection. I extracted maybe seven or eight Twins. I couldn't believe I had even that many. Lips trembling, I carefully placed the Twins cards in penny sleeves and instantly notified R_R.
After all of that, I had a deal.
And that's how I got the autographed card of a guy who is now a semi-respectable starter for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Well, R_R also sent me another card off my want list. Unfortunately, I'm lax on my want list periodically and I had the card already.
Sometimes, non-bloggers, that happens in trading, too.
So there you go. I hate to burst the fantasy trade bubble that we've built for you. This trading thing isn't all cotton candy and sparkly pink dragons. Sometimes it's a real, honest-to-goodness, sweat-it-out, raging pain.
OK, not really.
It's great fun 100 percent of the time.
I get a little dramatic.
But I'm dead serious about this: I'm officially OUT of Twins cards.