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The dirty dozen


Twelve years ago today, Night Owl Cards made its debut.

Every year I recognize its anniversary. I think it's important to do that because the blog is important to me, and it's important to other people. I know that because of what people tell me and because of the cards I receive. But more on that later.

I've been getting nostalgic about the time I started this blog. I don't have access to the blog header I displayed back then, the above header from 2011 is the earliest the Wayback Machine can produce. But anyone who was blogging about cards at that time knows that 2008 was the Golden Age of card blogging.

Before 2008, card blogging consisted of The Baseball Card Blog, Stale Gum, Cardboard Junkie, Wax Heaven and only a handful of others. But in 2008, card blogging exploded with new blogs arriving seemingly every week. The week mine debuted, so did the blogs Heartbreaking Cards and I Am Joe Collector (garveyceyrusselllopes, the ancestor to cards as I see them, debuted around that time, too).

Blogging felt like a club in 2008, intended only for those so obsessed with cards that they had to write about it to the whole world. I first discovered card blogs in June of 2008, beginning with The Baseball Card Blog.

I read that blog every day through June and July of that year. Ben Henry was winding down his pioneering effort at the time but he had a new devoted reader in me. I could have sworn that I commented on some of those '08 posts before I had a blog of my own, but I couldn't find them when I went back to what remains of the Baseball Card Blog. (Perhaps they disappeared along with all the images on that blog. It's a shame that such an important blog has eroded as it has).

From The Baseball Card Blog, I found Cardboard Junkie and followed his humorous card adventures during that summer. Blogging was so different then, card bloggers didn't exactly stay on topic and individual posts were all over the map. In general, they were shorter then (and a lot shorter than what appears on my blog), but they could vary from lengthy rants to simple one-sentence or one-word interjections.

There was also obvious signs of addiction at Cardboard Junkie with as many as nearly 100 posts a month. I never got to that point, but I was blogging twice a day between 2008-10 regularly and I'm not sure how 50 posts a month didn't kill me.

Blogging comments consisted of the same few handful of people -- JV, Dinged Corners, mmayes, motherscratcher, Wax Heaven, Chris from Stale Gum, White Sox Steve, capewood, Captain Canuck, jacob mrley, David from Tribe Cards, The Baseball Card Snob and a few others -- and many posts went without comments because who can possibly comment on four posts a day?

There aren't a lot of blogs left from that time, so many bloggers reading this don't know what I'm talking about or why it was so special. But the few left -- Phungo, Cards On Cards, Shoebox Legends -- know. It was wild.

That was 12 years ago. This is post number 4,600. A lot has changed. I have changed. My writing has changed. I may not have gotten in on the ground floor, like The Baseball Card Blog -- getting written about in national magazines -- but staying power means something. And I've enjoyed some benefits, including writing in a national magazine myself.

The most obvious benefit is the cards that people send, simply because I write this blog. There have been so many over the years I couldn't possibly give you a count. It happens regularly and I'm still surprised more often than not.



Reader Dana recently sent me these cards. He's sent some before, just as a thanks for writing. He's been clearing out his collection from when he and his son collected. It's nice of him to send these my way, I think I have all three of the 2001 Gold Label Shawn Greens now (yes, I know there are probably more). Quite a feat for someone who collects like I do!



Jeffrey from Cardboard Catastrophes also sends me "just because" cards quite frequently. His stash is tremendous. I can't match it and, you know what, I don't think he wants me to (but I'll still try).

The Thurman Munson card arrived out of the blue, not even a day after I was thinking that it could be the last card I would need in my attempt to complete the 1970 Topps set. That probably wasn't true -- it will likely be Ryan or Bench -- but it sure is nice to get this out of the way. And all for simply writing about my love of baseball cards.


One more.

This handsomely creased 1954 Bowman Roy Campanella arrived from Jonathan, who has been an avid reader and sender for a couple of years now. The Campanella just showed up yesterday with a bunch of other goodies I'll show some other time. Jonathan is a big fan of collecting and a fan of the blog. And he's not afraid to say it.

The blog continues not at the clip I wrote at 12 years ago but still at a good rate. The amount of comments these days is crazy. There was a period from late June to early August in which the comments reached double digits for nearly 30 posts in a row. That has never come close to happening.


This is Blogger's graphic interpretation of my viewership over the years and it's obvious that it's never been higher. That peak moment from earlier this year is at the height of the quarantine, so I won't take all the credit for that. But, yeah, in some ways blogging has never been better, today, in 2020.

This blog may never show up on a movie screen (think "Julie and Julia") or be featured on a TV show, but it's had plenty of moments in the sun, probably more than I deserve. And that's one of the reasons why you won't see me leave to start a podcast or a youtube channel.

I will continue on for year 13 of the blog. As usual, I don't have any plans for the upcoming year. But I'm pretty sure that I'll conduct the Greatest 100 Cards of the '80s countdown this fall (I promised the same thing last anniversary but I'm more confident this time).

Card blogging may be a lot different now (a lot more "look what I got" and a lot less "unique personal spin on the cards"), but I know that as long as I blog, at least a little bit of the spirit of 2008 will stay alive.

And that's pretty good for a pursuit that so many left behind so many years ago. Blogging ain't dead. It's my mission to keep it so.

Thanks for reading. As always.

Keep blogging.

Comments

Nick Vossbrink said…
Congrats on 12 years. I've only been blogging for 10 but mine has seen all different subject matters. I'm impressed at anyone who's not only been able to stay on topic as long as you but stay fresh with new interesting insights.
Happy Blog Bday! I was around for some of the stuff you talk about. It was a lot of fun!
gcrl said…
Congrats on 12 years! So many fun blogs and bloggers to interact with back in 08, and now as well. Well done!
Jenny Miller said…
Congrats on 12 years! Here's to the next 12!! :)
steelehere said…
Congrats on 12 years! I've been a loyal reader since I discovered your blog 11 years ago.
Old Cards said…
Thanks for your blog. Appreciate the energy and effort level you put into it.
Congratulations on 12 years. I know you're a writer by profession, but I honestly don't know how you do it every day. (That's, I say, that's a complement, son!)
bryan was here said…
Congrats on 12 years of blogging! I'm sure it's hard to keep things fresh sometimes, but you manage to do it. I'm pretty new to the party,as I've only been reading regularly for the last two years, but yours is one of my go-to's.

Looking forward to more interesting reading!
Captain Canuck said…
happy blogging birthday!
Now, who's going to play us in the made for tv movie????
Nachos Grande said…
I started baseball card blogging in June of 2008. One of my first posts was a review of 2007 Allen & Ginter (https://fanofreds.blogspot.com/2008/06/2007-mlb-topps-allen-ginter-review.html). Interesting for me to see exactly how far my collecting tastes have changed! Congrats on the blog anniversary, you have one of the best blogs from any era of sport card blogging!
Jon said…
Happy 12th anniversary! From everything I've heard, it does sound like those early days would've been fun to be a part of, if only I had known about blogs sooner. Although it's a credit to you and the couple of others who are still around from those early days, because I'm fairly certain that I wouldn't have been able to stick around for so long.
carlsonjok said…
Congratulations on 12 years, but I am rather disappointed in you. The Munson was just filler. The real gem was that Topps T206 Buster Posey!
Congratulations and happy blogging birthday!
CrazieJoe said…
Congrats on 12 and happy continued blogging!
Congrats. Some HUGE numbers boss.
John Bateman said…
The summer of 2008, I discovered Sportcard Blogs and a renewed refresher in card collecting. Your Blog is number one. I always learn something reading you. You brought back a distance memory of the Baseball Card Blog, I do remember reading that one the most but with the passage of time it slipped my mind.
simpson said…
congrats and sincere appreciation for the fire you bring day-in, day-out. been reading since 2012 or so, and the blog is as good as it's ever been imo.
bbcardz said…
Thank you for 12 years of inspired hobby insight and inspiration. Happy blogoversary!
I just looked back and discovered I started blogging September 27, 2008, right after my 51st birthday. Wow that's is a long time ago. I think I have read all your blog post. You are such a great writer that I am thinking about subscribing to the Watertown newspaper and Beckett Vintage magazine.
Bo said…
Congrats on 12 years! I started 11 years ago - would have thought you were more than a year earlier. I was definitely reading your blog before I started mine, I don't remember if I was commenting or not.

I think part of the shift you see to "look what I got" is that a lot of what we had to say about cards, was said. It gets hard to think of something new, at least for me.
Mark Hoyle said…
Hey Greg. Great accomplishment. You are the first I read whenever you post. Always a great insight. Congrats. Here’s to another twelve
Jeremya1um said…
Congrats. Always a pleasure to read.
Fred Pike said…
Congrats. I will keep reading if you keep writing. Thanks.
GTT said…
Congrats on 12 years! Hope you keep on writing for a long time!
Brett Alan said…
You deserve all the accolades you've received and more. Here's to the next 12.
Billy Kingsley said…
Congratulations on the anniversary! I only discovered that card blogs existed in 2014. Started Cardboard History after reading for a month or so. Have no intention to stop writing or reading others.
Matt said…
Happy Silk anniversary! May your blog continue for 12 more!
madding said…
Congrats on 12 years! 2008 certainly was the big year for it.
EddieK said…
Night Owl Cards is one of a handful of "happy places" for me on the web. Congratulations on 12 years and thanks for all the great work!
gregory said…
50 posts a month? That's impressive. I make 50 posts a YEAR!

Night Owl Cards was one of the first trading card blogs I came across when I got back into collecting just a few years ago, and I've been a reader ever since. Congratulations on reaching a great milestone. Here's to the next 12, and maybe some TV and film cameos as well.
acrackedbat said…
12 years - what can I say that was already mentioned above? Congratulations Night Owl!!! Glad to have found you. Thanks for supporting so many smaller blogs like my own. I appreciate it more than you know!
Jafronius said…
Belated happy 12th blogiversary! Next year when it becomes a teenager, watch out ladies! Thank you for continuing to lead the way when it comes to thoughful, well written posts!
Chris said…
70k views in any 30 day period, regardless of circumstance, is mind-blowing. Congrats on a dozen years, and thanks for not ditching the blog for Twitter or YouTube!
Nick said…
Congrats on the blog-versary! It says a lot about you (and your blog) that you've stuck with us all these years, and I'm thankful for every day your blog is still around!

I might've caught the death rattle of those glory days way back when, but I sure would've liked to have been blogging in the prime years. Of course, I don't think anyone would've wanted to read the stuff I'd have written when I was 16, though.
Fuji said…
Happy anniversary! Wax Heaven, Stale Gum, Cardboard Junkie, and your blog were some of the first blogs I ever read. Sure glad I stumbled across them, because it lured me back into the hobby. And even if I ever take a break from the hobby, I don't see myself taking a break from reading blogs.

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