Tuesday, September 6, 2016

If I collected differently

I am a specific type of card collector, what I think most people would call a "traditional collector." I try to collect the way I did as a kid, by buying packs at the store closest to me.

That process is not the same as it once was. The stores where you find cards are much bigger than they were when I was a kid. The cards are not as available in as many stores as they were then. And, the same cards aren't available in each store. That was almost never the case when I started out.

So my method of collecting is basically a relic from 1975. It's not very effective. But "effective," to me, is not high on the list of collecting priorities. What is important is fun, connecting with childhood, and keeping as much of the adult perspective out of it as possible.

If I was collecting in an adult way, I'd probably buy boxes. I don't have a card shop near me, so I'd order them online. I'd probably order a box for every set I liked, and maybe multiple boxes for sets I really liked.

Sometimes I think about doing that. Maybe taking a year and getting to know what it's like to be that type of collector. I've always avoided frequent box purchasing because I just didn't have the money. But I think I could probably do one year of it. What would that be like? Would I suddenly start posting box breaks to video and screaming about marginal "hits"? Would I be throwing common cards in a giant garbage can next to me?

What would I become?

That's not to say that people who frequently buy boxes do that. I'm just not familiar with that world and, much like trying to envision what life is like as a major league baseball star, I have no perspective.

I thought of all this after I received a package from Andy of Ain't Nobody Got Time For Cardboard. I honestly don't know whether Andy busts boxes, or merely has a nice card shop nearby, or whatever. I just noticed a crop of current cards I needed and wondered.

That's a bunch of 2016 Stadium Club Dodgers. Maybe from a box. Maybe from a blaster. Maybe from just buying a lot of packs like I did in the '70s.

The Kazmir and Johnson are downright needs. The Gonzalez, Anderson, Seager, Pederson and Lee will go toward the set I'm not collecting. The Turner is a straight-up dupe.

That's a bunch of 2016 Chrome, most of which I need. Do the sepia parallels come in boxes? I thought it was retail-only. I don't know. I'm barely paying attention now.

2016 Panini Donruss. I hope Andy didn't buy a box of this.

OPTIC! These are my first cards of the blatant rip-off of Topps Chrome. It's just as you imagined. It's a Chrome card -- without logos. All my hopes and dreams realized.

That pretty much did it for the 2016 cards from Andy, with one exception. Most of the rest was a bunch of random-ish fun stuff, such as this:

You don't need to buy boxes for most of that. Stickers and fun packs and Opening Day. Weee!

Andy also sent a smattering of night cards, of which the Buxton card that scanned weirdly up top is one. (Wow that's a convoluted sentence).

This trade kind of came about after my post about my continued downsizing of my relic collection. I sent a couple to Andy (and would like to send a few more). I received this Gagne one back, which is definitely not a downsize -- I have at least five of his relic cards.

But I want it because I've interviewed Gagne and talked with his family members. There's this guy who covers the Dodgers on Twitter who absolutely hates Gagne, probably because of the PED thing, but he acts like it's something worse than that. I get that what Gagne did was uncool, but, geez, I talked to his family, they seemed pleasant, he seemed pleasant, you don't know what kind of advantage Gagne had, give it rest.

The venom and grudges people harbor, I'll never get. Go seek a professional and work it out.

Hey! That was a tangent, wasn't it? Let's get back to fun stuff and a couple of signed cards that don't replicate the names of the players featured at all! I'm not trimming my autograph collection, so this can be Yimi autograph number 3 or 4 and that's cool. The card of current Red Scott Schebler is my first for him and 123rd different Dodger autograph in the collection.

All right, this thing had to come out of a box, right? I think this is one of those High Def cards from last year's Bowman's Best. It's super thick, meaning you've got to display it on your mantle or you just feel stupid stuffing it in a toploader. ... OK, that's my hang-up. Gotta admit it's nice.

Definitely out of a box of this year's Baseball Wacky Packages. This is pretty cool, and my first sketch 1/1. I don't normally do sketch cards (you couldn't pull those in 1975, man). But I do Wacky Packages and this is right up my lane.

I don't know if I'll ever reserve a year to be a box buyer, but it does seem like fun sometimes. Maybe I'll just do it so people can refer to it as "the year Night Owl lost it."


  1. Nice batch of Dodgers (if you like that sort of thing, lol).

  2. I don't buy as many random packs as I used to for different reasons, but I do enjoy buying my packs/blasters locally. In fact that's how I build the majority of my sets. I may buy one or two boxes each year...usually Allen & Ginter since I enjoy that set, but this year my lone box purchase was Stadium Club and it was a lot of fun. Now just need to get off my lazy butt and update my want lists!

  3. Eric Gagne actually pitched a game yesterday. Here's a write up on how he did


  4. As a set collector, you'd love buying boxes...but you'd hate it too. There's nothing worse than buying a box, coming up a handful of cards short yet having a stack of duplicates 3 times the size of the number of cards you are missing. 1990s Upper Deck was the worst with that. Panini has now taken that spot, although I doubt much Panini is on your radar for box opening anyway. With exclusive licenses for both my sports, I have to deal with them a lot more.

  5. I go back and forth on each Topps flagship series, sometimes I'll get my two boxes, but especially if there are nice retail exclusive inserts, I may not get anything but blasters and rack packs to build them.

    I went nuts this year and got four boxes of A&G at the National. Haven't bought really any other boxes at all. I trade for starter sets of other stuff and get into sets that way. Makes it easier when you find a bulk singles vendor who will sell you a monster box for $25...

    The one thing that I've found is that you kinda have to get your boxes soon after the set comes out, otherwise you're left with all the dupes like Billy says above and everyone else is already done trading for that set.

  6. Contrary to what it may look like, I've only busted 2 boxes this year (or ever, for that matter): Flagship Series 2 and a cheap 2014 Panini Prizm. Everything above is from random blasters, packs, and hangers.
    The exceptions:
    Stickers - Fairfield or other repacks
    Gagne relic - fairfield repack
    BP Autos - Bought 3 packs out of a box at the LCS. These two autos were in the first two packs.
    Bowmans Best - Loot Locker
    Wacky Pack sketch - HANGER

    I've done pretty well with my current method of blaster/couple packs/couple hangers, with the exception of A&G (almost completely skunked on Cubs this year, LCS helped fill the void, though). Probably won't ever buy a box of flagship again (although it did net me an auto of the current Topps Golden Child rep for the Cubs, Carl Edwards Jr).

  7. I look forward and enjoy busting boxes up until the part where I sit back and realize the fun of tearing into packs is over and I'm left with a stack of cards that I could have picked up for a fraction of the price. In other words... I bust a box every now and then to get my fix... but these days I prefer saving my money and picking up specific cards that I really want.