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?

Well ...

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.

9 comments:

  1. I'm working on the code. I'm trying to stay away from your post so I don't see the other answers. I need that Vladdy relic.

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  2. On a related note, I hope that Kershaw green paper thingy and the Target Roy Campy (and the other stuff) arrived last week.

    The Ethier BP and Jackie Lineage heading out shortly.

    I agree. Trading is a blast but can be a challenge when you get overwhelmed. I was 100% on top of it and then we moved from our house to a couple of rooms temporarily while house shopping. Organization suddenly fell apart for me - but I'm about back on track here.

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  3. There are a slew of Dodgers relics that recently turned up at the LCS (and by slew, I mean more than one that I remember) as well. While there aren't a plethora of Twins cards here in the StL area, at least they don't cost a premium.

    When I find myself short of trade material, I fall back on an old friend -- the Three Way Trade ;-)

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  4. Yeah, try being low on dodgers. I have 3 trades potentially in progress right now:

    Night Owl
    Plaschke
    Spiegel

    You guys come in throngs. Better than thongs, I guess, but still. I can't get enough dodgers to spread the love.

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  5. Trading is so hard! Especially with my very specific needs now, which don't fit nicely into the rest of the card-o-sphere. But I agree, definitely 100% fun when it works!

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  6. Trading rules!!! Going over a decade without reading a Beckett is EVEN better, BUT sometimes GOOD people (bloggers) get overwhelmed and take a long, long time to send out trades... Go ahead and ask our friend Captain Canuck - it took me over 2 years to send him a return package. I felt bad, but never thought of myself as a deadbeat because I had a stack with his name on it for 2 years and I was always trying to add to it... Heck, I am nearly 2 years owing a package to RGB. I guess we need to trust each other. I check my mailbox 4 times a week whether I have a trade pending or not and every now and then I find a manilla envelope in there that I wasn't expecting and that makes my day/week, whatever... If I pulled an auto of a player on a fav bloggers fav team - of course I would send it to them, but I would be more excited to see their reaction and read their post than I am about what I get in return... I love this hobby and I love this community! Thanks for holding it all together Greg!!!!

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  7. Trading is one of the better aspects of the blog world. I am adding players to my collection to expand my trade base. Also, some bloggers run low on Dodgers and need something else to send my way.

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  8. This is an excellent post, probably one of the best since I've started following blogs. Sums up the world of collecting cards perfectly. Thanks for the read....

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  9. I'm all for trading as well - and while the Dodger well has run a bit dry for me at the moment I'm sure that's only a temporary setback for future trades!

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