Thursday, May 13, 2010

My tedious 10

I've really tried to sing the praises of our hobby. I'm fiercely proud of it and firmly believe in announcing the fun factor in collecting every chance I get. I hope that when I'm oooohing and aaaahing in a trade post or cardboard appreciation or awesome night card that you understand what I'm really doing. I'm broadcasting how fun and, yes, exciting it is to collect rectangular pieces of cardboard.

Sure, I criticize sets or cards, but that's only because I love the hobby so much that I want to see it stay great forever. As much as I love vintage, and threaten to go all vintage at times, I would be sad if I had to do that. Because that would mean that I believed my hobby was on the verge of death.

Truthfully, I spend very little time thinking about the negative aspects of the hobby. About the only time I do that is when I'm reading the blogs. That's right. You're all to blame.

The vast majority of the time I spend in the hobby is pouring my love into it. Organizing and sorting. Filing and blogging. Looking at the backs and marveling at the fronts. Checking off lists and searching for cards for others. Planning my next card aisle visit. All of that is just a visible sign of this sentence: "I heart collecting."

But I admit, there are tiny little things that irk me in this hobby. These aren't things you hear about often when reading collectors' complaints. These aren't the big issues. These are the itty bitty ones. Some would say they're not even worth mentioning. But they are ones that collectors deal with almost daily.

I present you with the Tedious 10. These are the things about my hobby that actually make me sigh. See if you share any of these issues:

1. Variation backs: Yes, they're dippy. They're even more dippy when companies aren't trying to replicate old tobacco companies' habit of switching up the ad backs. But my major problem is how the heck do I display these? If I put them in a binder face up, then it looks like I have duplicates next to each other. I know they're not duplicates. But my brain is very resistent to the idea and is going to remind me every chance it gets, which is every time I look them. If I put the variation backs in a binder with the back side up, to show the variation, it looks stupid. It looks like I missed putting a card in the page slot. Right now, I do have my variation back cards with the back side up. And it's really, REALLY stupid-looking.

2. Small copyright dates: Maybe you youngsters aren't bothered by this. But you will be. Super teeny-tiny copyright dates are quite annoying. I have great eyesight. I always have. But some of the copyright type, which includes the year the card was published, has grown extremely small. This is especially true of Topps Heritage and late 1990s cards, which is a problem because I didn't collect then and I'm always confusing the years of sets. Being able to see the date without turning on every light in the house would be nice. Oh, and the black type on dark backgrounds? Quit it.

3. Cataloging my cards: I try to be a good organizer. I really do. I'm in the middle of trying to record every card I have. I have been in the middle of that process for over two years now. The last time I mentioned this process -- about a year ago -- I was on the letter "H." One year later, I am on the letter "K." I don't anticipate ever typing in the name of Kevin Youkilis.

4. Organizing my dupes: All right, I just encouraged everyone to do this in the "get-off-your-ass-and-collect" post. But I confess, it is excruciating. Ninety-nine point nine, nine, nine, nine, nine of these cards I don't ever want to see again. Most are Dodgers that I would really like to send to a Dodger collector. But there seem to be so few of them. So, I organize for a purpose that may never come to pass. It's kind of like card collecting hell. Or purgatory, at least.

5. Scratchy chrome: Shiny is very cool. Love it. But I have this thing about finding scratches on my chrome cards. I actually asked a week or so ago if anyone has ever used Turtle Wax or Armor All on their chrome cards. I was only half-joking.

6. Glossiness and card stacks: Once upon a time, you would be able to stack your cards in piles of about 300 or so and have no problem transporting them if you needed. But ever since the arrival of glossy cards and chrome, attempting to move an even modest-sized stack of cards is like carrying around explosives. At any second, slickified cards start shooting out of the stack like wet fish and before you know it all your cardboard is on the ground, flopping around. Or, sometimes you carefully put a couple of stacks next to each other and some chromy card halfway down causes both stacks to collapse on each other, completely obliterating your organization.

7. Gold/silver foil names: First, you can't read them, unless they're large. I covered that here. Second, if you look at the scans of these cards or even in the right light in person, it looks like the name or team or whatever is in foil, is missing on the card. It looks unfinished. I used to think foil was cool. But I will be happy if foil never shows up on a card front again. I can't be the only one.

8. Hidden card numbers on the back: The '90s was a great decade for this. I'm used to looking for my card numbers in the upper left- or right-hand corner. Sometimes in the lower right-hand corner. This ...

... is just unnecessarily confusing.

9. Pages/binders that rip: I'm fairly delicate with my collecting equipment. But it does get handled a lot. I hate it when pages and binders specifically designed for our hobby, start falling apart after relatively little usage. I have so many binders that need replacing, and a lot of them aren't the dollar-store kind.

10. Cards that feature your team's player with another team's player: I am a team collector. I put my Dodgers all together. I don't want to see a Phillie or a Twin or (god forbid) a Yankee sneaking in my binder under the guise of a Classic Combo or Home Run Leaders or SuperStar Special card. I put them in my binder because of the Dodger, but everytime I look at it, that stoopid Yankee is staring at me.

All right, those are my tiny little quibbles with the hobby. If it sounds like I'm whining, OK I am. But will they make me quit the hobby or stop singing its praises? Absolutely not. I am not a drama queen. I deal with life's little inconveniences with the best of them.

The world's not perfect. The hobby's not perfect. But it's pretty darn close. The hobby, I mean.


  1. How in the world are Cole Hamels and Russell Martin on the same card? Great write-up like usual, and I do agree that the back variations are quite annoying.

  2. 2, 5, 8, and 9 kill me. ESPECIALLY 2, and ESPECIALLY ESPECIALLY with basketball/hockey cards. I've seen "1997-1998" cards with tiny, background blending copyright years, resulting in 1997 designations on beckett and 1996-1997 designations on sportlots and comc. When even the websites that keep track of cards get confused, you know that the copyright date needs to be more clear!

  3. Send your dodger doubles to me and ill send you mine. Seriously!

  4. gcrl ~ Have we just met? What do you think I've been doing?

    I need another Dodger collector besides you. We can't keep swapping the same '89 Brian Holton back and forth.

  5. I really agree with 1, 2, 6, 7, and 10. The worst of them are 10 and 6. I have an uneven desk and the glossy tend to slip off. And the two(or more)players/one card stunt just gets thrown into the doubles box if they are not on the same team.

    As for variation backs, I very rarely notice them.

  6. 10 great points. I pretty much agree with you on all of them, especially the tiny copyrights and I could use some organizational skills as well. Some of our stuff is stored by set, some by team and some by player. It's pretty half-assed.

  7. I agree whole heartedly. I'm sure there are other things I'm bothered by, but it's too late to think. Still, I love this hobby. I had a stack of sorted cards slide over last night. I didn't have the heart or energy to fix them. Sad.

  8. I'm thinking about collecting Dodgers since the Pirates suck.
    The Dodgers have more talented players come through their organization.
    I love the uniforms since blue is my favorite color.
    The Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey teams were my favorite.

  9. 1 and 2 are the worst ones on the list.

    What I do about #1 is ignore it. To me the backs of the cards don't matter. So my mini A&G and T206 pages have a smorgasboard of backsides.

    Upper Deck cards are so much easier to sort because they not only put the year real big they put the set name real big at the bottom of each card. Fleer was pretty good also with a big year in one corner. Heritage are by far the worst.

  10. I can definitely sympathize with teeny weeny fine print copyrights and super glossy mishaps. Three things I would add:
    1) The fact that my Chrome cards always seem to curl and make that super glossy mishap 80x more likely to occur.
    2) Horizontal cards that have vertical backs that are printed upside down. What I mean by this is I always want my horizontal cards situated such that the card bottom is on the right hand side when in a top loader or binder page. But SOMETIMES the company uses a vertical back on these cards and they do it the other way around. So then if I'm showing card backs, I've either got a card with an upside down back or a backwards sideways front. Grrr.
    3) Card numbers that are not in the upper left corner of the card back. I always handle my cards exactly the same and organize sets with the same hold, shuffle, insert, move manuever. If the card number is not in the upper left, it makes that manuever difficult.

    But yeah, like you, these are no where near deal breakers for me. Sort of like the bombshell pin-up girl who has a nasally voice or teases her eyebrows just a tad too much. It's a slight drawback, but really doesn't detract from the beauty of the entire package.

  11. Cataloging cards has always been my biggest hang up. I start these projects so many times and only make it a third or halfway through before accumulating so much in the meantime that I am no better off than I was when I started. It is a no win situation that I am glad to keep losing.

    Scratchy chrome is also a pet peave, and black border cards that always have chips in them annoys me too.

    But the one that takes the grand prize is by far the variations. I am all for multi-colored parallels or short printed versions. But when you start messing with the backs...forget it. Prime example for me is this years Champs Hockey. The Base has three parallels, including a front variation change on one. The mini's have two or three different back variations as well. Where do you draw the line?

  12. 1. Cycle I like. Carolina Brights I like. Old Mill I like. Bazooka Joe can die in a fire.

    2. You need a microscope to tell the date on some of these cards. I liked when Fleer and Donruss incorporated the data into their logos.

    3. If I were to drop everything and start cataloging cards 24/7/365 with two half-hour meal breaks, two 15 minute potty breaks and 5 hours for sleep per day, I would finish cataloging my cards on March 27th, 2194 at 8:15 PM. Then I would immediately die.

    4. If I can manage to FIND my dupes I consider it a great victory for mankind.

    5. This is the reason for the stupid finest film protectors back in the 90s. If you keep your chrome reasonaby stored this chouldn't be a problem unless you love picking through cheapo nickel and dime boxes. Scratchy chrome breed in nickel and dime boxes.

    6. Oh, so you hate the glossy slick cards? stack those suckers together, put 'em in a box and go back 5 or 10 years later. The UV coating fuses into a giant brick. You have to break off a small stack and then bend 'em until you hear a satisfying cracking sound then peel them apart one by one. they usually don't get damaged.

    7. I liked foil names. Then I bought a scanner. I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate foil names.

    8. If the card number is not on the top left corner of the card it's a minor design flaw. If it's unreadable or hidden it's simply a bad set.

    9. I can't stand when I'm pulling a card out of a page and the seam splits on a pocket. These are the good Ultra-Pro pages, mind you, not the flimsy crappy ones with the dotted seams. That happened to me at Atlanta Sports Cards when pulling a relic out of their cheapo binder and it was just plain embarassing.

    10. I normally don't mind this but there is one excaption: 1958 Topps Hank Aaron / Mickey Mantle combo. Rat bastid Yankee collectors have driven up the price of that card to astronomical levels.

  13. 2. Small dates are bad, but wrong dates are even worse. Try sorting 1998-2003 Topps. For example some 2001 Topps cards have a 2000 date on them!

    4. It's not that hard. Spend a weekend organizing then keep up with it.

    5. Like stated above, curling is more a problem for me than scratches on chrome cards.

    6. What Dayf said. I have stacks and stacks of 2001 Topps and Stadium Club that are stuck together. Every attempt I've made to unstick them without damage was a failure.

    8. Not only should numbering be easy to read, it should be correct. Nothing is worse than paging a set and getting to card #403 only to find out that card number 12 does not exist and there are two card #128s!

    9. You and Dayf must have super-human strength! I never had a problem with binders or pages ripping and I've bound two cases of pages worth of cards over the past year.

  14. Damn Owl, you hit so many nails right on the head!

  15. dayf and sruchris - When you have a brick of cards that won'e come apart throw them in the freezer. and then try it. If that doesn't work throw them in the oven for a bit. That usually get them apart (unless they got wet somewhere along the way)

    This also works for cards that have been in a screwdown too long.