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Thoroughly modern

I still get excited about modern stuff.

I know I'm not supposed to do that. I'm supposed to be a bitter, old man. I'm supposed to hate all the new rules they're installing in baseball. I'm supposed to dislike all the new baseball card sets. I'm supposed to complain about it all, while sitting in my rocker from afar.

There are people who do this. I know them. There is one person, who is my age, who refuses to watch the baseball season happening right now (is it still happening?). And he'll tell anyone proudly that he's not watching. There are people, who every time I criticize a modern baseball set, virtually stand up and applaud, saying, "now you're one of us, night owl!!"

But actually all I am is a thoroughly modern guy. It's 2020 and I still like baseball and collecting cards, and my question for those who have "opted out" of watching baseball and collecting current cards is:

Do you like baseball? Do you like collecting cards?

If you do, then why are you cutting yourself off from it?

Sure, I think putting someone on second base to start the 10th inning is ridiculous. And, sure, I think 2020 Topps flagship is a snorefest and 2020 Panini Diamond Kings regurgitates too many photos. There are posts on both from me this very week.

But I'm not depriving myself from enjoying what I've always enjoyed, watching baseball on my TV and collecting what's on shelves right now. Why would I do that? I'm living in a modern society. I'm not some guy from the 1960s who has come back to life and doesn't know what the hell is going on. I am living now. And I still want to participate. I don't see the sense in refusing to do what I've always liked to do.

So, yes, I criticize what I don't like, but I still get excited, like when some baseball cards arrive in the mail enclosed in a 2020 Topps Series 1 baseball tin with Cody Bellinger on the front. Cool! I've always thought these tins were kind of cool. Maybe not Twitter-flip-out cool, but still I like it.

The tin arrived from Marc of Remember The Astrodome, and I tip my hat to him for the excellent packaging tactic. The storage possibilities are endless. But I think there are stray items on my card desk that have just found a home.

Inside the tin were thoroughly modern cards, including, yes, sticker backs. Because that's what we do as modern card collectors, we collect both the sticker fronts and the sticker backs.

No, it doesn't have to make sense. But I still like new cards, so I'll go along with their little games. It's either that or pout in a corner because the Clayton Kershaw cards aren't coming out the way I want them.

I still get excited when I see a card -- OK, a sticker back -- for someone as obscure as Blake Treinen in a Dodgers uniform. Yes, I will take what I can get.

There were some sticker fronts, too. There you go.

These are the first Series 2 Dodgers in my collection. Yes, I find the 2020 design sleepy. Yes, neither Graterol nor Betts are actually wearing Dodger uniforms in their photos (nice work adding that 2020 All-Star Game patch for something that never happened).

I'm still excited to get the cards. The alternative is to quit altogether, and collect vintage exclusively. I certainly am collecting more vintage every year. But being a fan of baseball, for me, still means following what's going on NOW and collecting THAT. I can't spend the rest of my days watching games from 1984 on youtube.

So ...

No logos. Ick.

Gypsy Queen designs. Yuck.

Players who haven't made the majors. Yawn.

But give me them all. I still appreciate baseball and I appreciate history. And this is what's going on in baseball and baseball cards in 2020. I want to represent that. I want to collect that. Even if I agree most with what was happening in 1975 or 1983, I still gotta have 2020.

Yes, Diamond Kings reproduces the same legends photos over and over again. It packs the set with meaningless '90s-style parallels like "artist's proofs" and such. But you've got to like the card stock. You've got to like who shows up in the sets.

It's never all or nothing for me. I can't completely love or completely hate. I am not all in or picking up my toys and going home. I live in a modern world, I would like to participate at least a little bit.

And, you know, sometimes the modern world puts out a set that you DO like, at least mostly, and you may even want to collect it. But if I was bowing out, proudly announcing that I was "done with the sport," then I'd never see stuff like this.

Or this.

Or this.

I sure do love color.

And, yes, I know that Panini could have easily made that Hyun-Jin Ryu a "Toronto" card and no one would know the difference because of the no-logo weirdness.

Will that make me slam down my cards and shout "ENOUGH!" and then periodically update everyone on Facebook on the latest reason for why I'm never watching baseball again!!!!!!


Life is meant to be enjoyed, to the fullest extent that it allows.

My world view is not reality. But it never has been. This life is about adjustments and staying as positive with what is available to you as you can. Sure, I can get critical about cards or 7-inning doubleheaders, but I do it out of love.

And I still collect.

And I still watch.

Because I'm not a 1958 guy.

I'm a 2020 guy.

That's just facts.


Diamond Kings are so heinous. Atrocious. Gnasty. Sorry.
Zippy Zappy said…
Graterol maybe a photoshop but the pure fire in his pitches sure isn't. That outing where every pitch he threw checked in at around triple digits was incredible.
CrazieJoe said…
Agreed - I may not be a fan of some of the changes like the base runner in extra innings, but being cognisant of the history of the 2020 year, it is something to behold - for better or worse - and something to collect and remember.
Doc Samson said…
Yes, 2020 has been quite the year for collecting and the game itself. As long as we have Major League Baseball, I will always be a baseball card collector. I have also recently discovered something quite bizarre about the 2020 flagship: as individual cards they are fine. They scan well, the printing itself is better than last year and many of the landscape cards are quite nice. The problem is when you look at the set as a whole, like in a binder, it becomes so monotonous with too much gray and way too many of the same action poses. Just my two cents.
GCA said…
I thought the runner to start extras would dilute the game like a hockey shootout, but when it actually happened with the Nationals the other night, it added a lot more stategic choices to the game. Didn't hate it.
Elliptical Man said…
Well, I like the Koufax WAR card. And the GQ Kershaw kind of.
Old Cards said…
As you defined it, I am a bitter, old man, but I will continue to collect cards from the 50's, 60's and 70's and I will continue to check your blog for articles on cards from these eras.
Mark Hoyle said…
I grabbed one of the Tins. Still watching baseball
If it's there.... How can you not watch it? That would be like seeing fresh out of the oven cookies, and not snagging one.
Robert said…
I've had a lot of trouble getting into baseball this year, late start, etc. You know what, if you were going to tinker with the game as they are, this is the year to do it. A few years down the road, people are going to say "remember when they started extra innings with a runner on 2nd??" Used the universal DH? 30 man rosters (or whatever it is now).

I don't mind Diamond Kings. I'm not running out and chasing them, or any other Panini product that might be on the shelves now, but my abhorrence of them has slowly died off.

Guess that must be what happens as time passes...
Fuji said…
I feel like I'm a grumpy old man. I constantly complain about modern cards... and had reservations about all of professional restarts. But that's where I draw the line. If the athletes and leagues are willing to risk their lives, then I'm gonna support them and watch (the highlights).
Fuji said…
P.S. I liked Treinen when he was with the A's.
bbcardz said…
Great post! I like all the positivity despite all the negativity. I'm enjoying my modern Topps flagship cards regardless of what others think. Of course I know there's room for improvement but what affordable card product out there does not need improvement?
Nick said…
I roll my eyes at the vintage-only brethren almost as much I do at the box-breaker bro crowd. To not like modern cards is one thing, but to completely shut yourself out from anything over the past 30-40 years is...weird, at least to me. It ain't 1966 anymore, people.

I've always enjoyed your leaning toward the older stuff, Sir Owl, but I also like that you're quick to give a modern card/set its due if it deserves it.
GTT said…
How I see it is that baseball and baseball cards used to be better, but they're still pretty great. Even with an overload of homers, baseball card products that are often yawners, it's still baseball. And baseball's great.

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