Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Four hundred


Helpful hint: You're going to want to read to the end.

If your blog runs on Blogger, have you ever clicked on that "next blog" option at the top? What a weird, useless piece of random that is. For whatever nonsensical reason, it takes you to the most unconnected of blogs. Say, for instance, mountain goat hunting in Nepal written in Nepalese. Click "next blog" again and you're reading about birds of New Zealand. Click again and it's the Christian homemaker. Again and it's ... well, let's just say that on this blog a guy likes to take pictures of himself with his shirt off a lot.

For a number of reasons, the "next blog" tool gets old pretty fast. But a couple of years ago I was wandering through and I noted how crafting and cooking blogs attracted an insane number of followers. People apparently have an endless appetite to make things and to ... um, eat ... because it was nothing to see "650 followers" on the sidebar of those blogs.

"Wow," I thought. "That's too cool to have that many people into your stuff."

Card collecting blogs don't get as many followers. You know, it's a dying hobby and all that. But just yesterday I reached a milestone and gathered in my 400th follower.

To me, that's a lot. A lot of people willing to read whatever spills out of my head. I don't even know how many of those followers are still reading -- some might not even be alive. And "followers" as a "thing" seems to be on the way out with all this Google-plus nonsense. (I swear, Google is on a mission to make me stop blogging, but that's another topic).

But still, "clicks" "comments" and "followers" are the only instruments we have to measure how bloggers are getting the word out in this nebulous world of online publishing.

So, yeah, 400. That's pretty cool.

But what's even more cool is what 400 means.

In the past, 400 in a collecting sense to me meant Rod Carew up there.



It meant Dick Allen and Steve Garvey. All of those are card No. 400 in the sets of my childhood, when I spent so much time with them that almost all the card numbers were memorized and the "double zero" cards were kings of the castle.

But now, 400 means this:


It means I write a simple little sentence or two about how my favorite hockey team is the Sabres and suddenly the French Connection winds up in my mailbox.





That's Rick Martin, Gil Perrault and Rene Robert from Topps 1972-73, 1973-74 and 1974-75. Back when the Sabres were among the best, not the poor, pathetic creatures that they are today.

The French Connection was before my time -- I didn't even realize there was hockey until around the Islanders' dynasty. But my wife was a big Sabres fan as a kid and she got a kick out of these.

These were all sent to me by Mark H. Just because I casually mentioned the Sabres once (because this isn't really a hockey blog).

Oh, yeah, and he sent some '75 minis, too:


 Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Because when you have 400 followers, people know what you like ... and they send it to you without being asked.

Another example:


These came out of a Heritage rack pack that was mailed to me by Rod of Padrographs.

He had obviously read about my troubles finding any kind of Heritage where I was. But there was no comment from him or an email. Just a package with a single rack pack (please note all the Padres that fell out of the pack from the Padres fan).

That's awesome to have readers like that.

One more example:

A few weeks ago I noted how I was passive-aggressively collecting the 2013 Allen and Ginter set. I want to complete it, but I'm not bothering to complete it on Topps' timeline.

Well, one of the biggest A&G collectors I know -- Chris of Nachos Grande -- must have read that and sent this without any bit of notice ahead of time:


 Chris also had the good sense of using '91 Donruss as packing material.

My want list for 2013 A&G is suddenly down to 35 cards, 17 regulars and 18 short-prints. And because of that I can probably save some cash and stop buying A&G in the card aisle until this summer.

This is what 400 followers can do, and I am appreciative and humbled and touched pretty much every single day.

And because I think I owe something besides my words, I'm going to return the favor, if only for one person.

I am going to send one person cards tailored to their collection.

Here is how I'm going to do it.

Leave a comment on this post. Say whatever you like, "congratulations", "I like cards", "beer is good", "thank goodness the test was negative", etc. If you comment, then you're eligible to win (except you spammers).

I will then randomize in the usual fashion and determine who will receive some cards.

However ...

I'm not going to announce who wins on this blog. I want it to be a surprise. Just as you've sent me cards for my collection unannounced that's what I'd like to do here.

Of course, to an outsider this means that I can just pick anyone that I want to win. And you can think what you like, but I'm not doing that. The only requirement of the person who wins is that the person either posts the cards I send on his blog and says he was the contest winner or emails me and says they received the cards.

At that time, I will post the randomized results on my blog to show that I didn't simply decide who I wanted to win.

So, those are the only rules. Leave a comment -- you have until 8 p.m. Thursday to leave a comment -- and then wait to see if a package arrives in the mail that says you're the lucky winner, and then announce that you're the winner on your blog or email me telling me you got the cards.

Once again, thanks for reading.

This is all still a blast. Really. 400 followers in.


(P.S.: If I don't already have your address, I'll have to spoil the surprise and contact you for it).

54 comments:

  1. Dodger fans get two entries, right? Kidding. Thanks for the contest. (And for showing me that I'm gonna HAVE TO track down that '13 Ginter Matt Moore for Grips.)

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    Replies
    1. By the way, I'm "following" you now. I thought I was already doing that by reading when you post, but now I guess it's official... or something. Ah, the internet...

      Delete
  2. Unfollowed until I catch up......





    Is it too late for an April Fool's joke? Congrats! And I was happy that I just made my 500th post, let alone 400 followers.

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  3. All right, all right, all right.

    Congrats on 400 followers!

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  4. Yes, beer is good. Congratulations on 400 followers. I'll see you when you hit 500....

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  5. Would have commented regardless of contest, congratulations, truly!

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  6. "This is Sparta!"

    What? Wrong number? Off by 100? Crud.

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  7. Jose Offerman was a much better shortstop than Ozzie Smith.

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  8. Congratulations! To be fair, I am new around here so I don't think I have your address to even send you anything random in the mail, but I do enjoy reading your blog and hope you don't mind my ramblings.

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  9. Glad to be one of the 400. Congratulations. Enjoy the Sabres.

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  10. You are the best, Night Owl. You should have a lot more than 400. I wish I could send you everything you need, your are the first on my nightly reading list.

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  11. I'm only 238 followers behind you. Congrats!

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  12. That's a great number. Congrats and more importantly, thanks.

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  13. Congratulations on achieving such a milestone.

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  14. Google ate my first comment it appears so I'll be brief this time: You deserve it and we bow before your greatness (also I'm glad my post office actually delivered a card package in tact for once).

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  15. Glad the cards arrived safely - I never know with my post office. As for all the followers, that's a fun milestone (and obviously impressive for a card blogger as you mentioned)! However, I can safely say that you are one of (if not THE) torch bearer of quality card bloggers on the 'net....if you can't reach 400, no one can (at least writing about little pieces of cardboard)!

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  16. Dodgers suck.

    (You said anything.)

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    Replies
    1. I had anticipated a response like this and almost banned it in the post, but then decided "let Jeff have his fun."

      You're welcome.

      Delete
    2. Really - what would your blog be without someone as unique as me?

      Delete
  17. Don Mattingly is the best manager in the game.

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  18. Congratulations! I like cards. Beer IS good. And thank goodness the test was negative.

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  19. Only 41 more until your next perfect square.

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  20. Unfortunately, the beer test was negative.

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  21. 387 more followers and I'll catch up to you...

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  22. Mark Aubrey stole my very clever comment

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  23. Congrats on milestone number! Follower # 401 or so at you service, also a proud late night blogger myself (only 9 followers-391 to go to catch you). Is it beer-thirty yet?

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  24. I never really noticed that "next blog" button until just now. Congratulations on reaching 400! You definitely set the standard in terms of cardboard blogging (well... at least for me).

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  25. For some reason I was thinking today was Thursday and I was like, "No! It's after 8! I'm too late! Damn short contest-entering window!" And then for possibly the first time in my life, I was relieved to realize it was Wednesday, not Thursday.

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  26. Warren Spahn > Sandy Koufax.

    Every day of the week. Well, at least every fifth day anyways...

    What? It's not like I'm winning this thing anyway......

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  27. Don't pick me because then I might be forced to either blog or disappoint you!

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  28. I like beer!

    I'm up to 185 these days. (Followers, not pounds. I surpassed 185 of those sometime after I discovered Pabst Blue Ribbon.) I like to think it's due to longevity or some reason, but it's probably more of a pain in the ass to "unfollow" a blog than it's worth, so I probably haven't lost many due to attrition.

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  29. Purple monkey dishwasher.

    67. I suck.

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  30. I like Spam omelets. Am I still eligible?

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  31. I just moved so you'll have to ask for my address if I beat those 400-1 odds...

    Congrats!

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  32. Pu Pu platter!

    I have 30 followers, but I'm sure 87% of them are among the deceased that vote in presidential elections every four years. So, hats off to you! A well deserved milestone.

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  33. Sorry, don't really like beer, and I don't know how to follow - I'm old school. I use a bookmark in my browser. Yours is the top of my blog list....

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  34. Congratulations on the milestone and achievement and MMMmmmm Beer, I don't even have a fraction of your followers, maybe one day. Time for a shameless plug so I can get some followers. Come check out thehomerunapple.blogspot.com for all things NY Mets and just to talk sports in general

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  35. congrats on the 400 followers. I don't even have 100 yet. Yeah that "next blog" thing got old for me several years back. Heck back when I first started reading blogs and started my own that was the way I found new blogs. I think it might have been how I first found out about Card Blogging.

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  36. “You're off to Great Places!
    Today is your day!
    Your mountain is waiting,
    So... get on your way!”

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  37. 400 people who definitely know a thing or two about good sports bloggery. Actually, there's 403 now, but you know what I mean.
    Congrats, and thanks for the contest.

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  38. Rod over at Padrographs is indeed an awesomegift giver. He recently sent me an unannounced box of Padres goodies that just blew me away. Andyes, I blogged about? I hope I can get to 400 sometime. Congrats!

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  39. No more entries for the contest. Good luck!

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  40. I never had a chance. Can't use phone at work!

    Thanks, though!

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  41. I'm late to the show, but...Congratulations.

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