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.
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.