Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What happens when you f@&# with my card show

Those who have read this blog for awhile know that I get to four card shows a year. That's all there is around here. Three of those shows are in the same place. Three times a year, the Syracuse fairgrounds hosts a sports memorabilia show that is billed as the largest show in the state.

For six years I have tried to make the trip there every January, April and October. Sometimes it's been difficult, other times impossible, but I have been a faithful customer. I gas up the vehicle, drop the disinterested at the mall, and I have my fun.

I have gone through this routine so many times that I instinctively know when the next show is coming. Sure, I check for updates, but it's just a formality. The show is always those three months and always at the end of the month. Usually the last or second-to-last weekend of the month.

This gives me the opportunity to plan, save my money, and most importantly, save my money.

A couple of months ago, I checked the date for the next show, saw it was Oct. 24, and planned accordingly. Then, while I was happily humming a tune, the show organizers bumped up the show to an otherwise unheard of date -- Oct. 10.

This date also happened to be the date for the big race finale of Super DIRT week. For those who are not auto racing fans or northeasterners, let me just say that this race is the biggest dirt track event in the Northeast every year, the culmination of a week-long orgy of dirt track racing. And it takes place at the Syracuse fairgrounds. The same place as the card show.

Oh, and the card show organizers also had landed Dwight Gooden as their autograph guest.

My guess is the show was moved up -- for the first time in six years -- because either that's when they could get Gooden to show up or because they wanted the customer traffic from the auto race, or both.

But they totally lost a customer in me.

First, I hate crowds. Low-key crowds I can handle. Mobs of auto racing fans clogging up streets and parking and walking space, I absolutely cannot handle. Second, I don't care about Gooden autographs. All it's going to do is attract more people that I have to fight through.

Lastly, and most importantly, us poor people need time TO SAVE and TO PLAN. I had zero cash on Oct. 10th. Not even enough for gas money to get to Syracuse.


Eternally pissed off because I go to only four shows a year and now it's three that is if the weather doesn't suck in January which it probably will.

So ...

I've decided to attend my very own virtual card show right here on this blog. Unlike the old days, just because I couldn't go to a card show doesn't mean I don't have any new cards. Only now, the tables I go to are actually packages sent in the mail. And the dealers are actually card collectors from far and wide.

So let's go to our first virtual table and see what I found:

Table 1
"Dealer": AdamE
Website: Thoughts and Sox

Adam had a nice selection of vintage cards, retro cards and everything in between. His collection is like mine, except it's a lot more red than blue.

The first thing I picked up was my first Johnny Frederick card. Frederick played a mere six seasons for the Dodgers from 1929-34. But his first two seasons are two of the finest that the Dodgers have seen. He had six pinch-hit home runs in 1932. And he wasn't even fat, like Matt Stairs or Eric Hinske.

I had to pick up a black border Allen & Ginter card. Most dealers don't even have these for display. Adam had one right out in the open.

Oh, and here's a regular one. But it was a Nebulous 9 need.

I think Upper Deck and Fleer had a secret agreement to see which company could put out the most card lines during the early 2000s. Apparently UD won and the prize was UD got to buy out Fleer. Unfortunately, the byproduct of this mess is I am forced to pick up cards from pointless sets like R-Class.

An Upper Deck set from the early 2000s that I can appreciate a lot more. I snapped this off of Adam's display instantly.

I don't know why I grabbed this card.

Then I picked up some cards that help me in completing some sets I'm working on -- the Tales of the Game set from this year's Topps (need just one more), 2009 OPC (need just 20 more) and 2008 Timeline (need a whole mess more).

Then Adam did something I've never seen a dealer do. He insisted that I take this card from his personal collection. Preacher Roe means a great deal to both of us, but probably a lot more to him, so I can't believe he wanted me to have this card. I hope to obtain another version of this '54 Bowman card, so I can return this one to Adam. Unfortunately, SOMEONE moved up the date for a card show ...

I also landed a few other cards from Adam's table, but it's time to get to the next one.


Total cost at Adam's table: 0 dollars and 0 cents. He just wanted a few Red Sox.

Table 2
"Dealer": Joe L.
Website: Cobb and Halladay

This is where the virtual show grew to impressive proportions. Take a look at what I found at Joe's table:

First, it's a nifty Clayton Kershaw autograph card from Timeline. That sticker is way too apparent, but I can never turn down a Kershaw auto. A great, great card.

The "dice game" variation back from the Matt Kemp card in 2010 Heritage. I think I got a little sheepish when I asked Joe for this card. But he got it for me, no questions asked.

The best part of Joe's table is there were both vintage and current cards, which is my favorite kind of table. I'm closing in on getting all the Amoros Dodgers cards now. That's way cool.

I laughed out loud when I saw this card. I left it in the sleeve, so you could see the stickers. A $50 card on sale for a dollar! Awesome.

Back to the fancy modern stuff. Here are two fairly recent items from two sets that put out some cool cards, but also some disasters. Fortunately, these are the cool kind. The Winning Materials card is great because all but Saito is still with the Dodgers. And I really liked Sammy, so it's nice to get my first Saito relic.

And Sutton? You can't go wrong with him.

Too more autographs, and then it's on to the next table.

I will be very happy if Billingsley ends up with the career that Podres had. I think expecting anything more is too greedy. Sure, Billingsley has the potential to be better than Podres, but Podres won Game 7 of the World Series. I want that for Billingsley.

Very cool table.

Total cost at Joe L.'s table: Nada. Just some cards that I have to pick up at the card sh ... oh, wait, the card show date was MOVED UP. Oh, well. Good thing I've got a head start on Joe's cards.

Table 3
"Dealer": mmmrhubarb
Website: e rayhahn, rayhahn

I wanted to ask mmmrhubarb about his name, but I could tell he was sick of explaining it, so I got right down to acquiring some cards.

For the first time ever, I found a dealer with Documentary cards. They were all over mmmrhubarb's table. Stacks and stacks of them, and more piled behind him. I don't think he ever got rid of them all. But I don't think he wanted to.

I am suspicious of this card. Brian Jordan was with the Braves in 2001, the Dodgers in 2002. This is an '03 Fleer Ultra card. But there appear to be elements of the Braves in this photo (particularly the guy seated up top). I'm wondering if there were some photo goofing going on.

Heh. I found some junk wax at my virtual card show. I admitted that I needed some '93 Fleer Dodgers. Fortunately, mmmrhubarb handed over this card with only the slightest smirk on his face.

Just recently, a Toys R Us has opened in the mall near me. Yes, this is the first Toys R Us that has ever been in my town. I know that's pathetic, and I live too far from civilization. But I can't wait to see if they have any baseball cards. For now, I'll just gaze at these beauties.

My friendly dealer threw in these cards just for stopping at his table. They're more of those Ultra Pro cards that Mike Piazza was all over in the mid-90s. You can form a puzzle of Piazza with the backs of the cards. I like it.

I added a couple more cards from mmmrhubarb, including a Orel Hershiser Panini sticker, and some Topps Total cards, and off I went.

Total cost at mmmrhubarb's table: Just some Twins Documentary cards. Really.

Table 4
"Dealer": Thingpen
Website: NatsTown

I don't think I've ever come across a dealer who was a Nationals fan, so I was very happy to meet thingpen's acquaintance. I grabbed lots of cool '90s stuff here:

I scooped up three Shane Victorino cards (the third one is at the top of the post) from his Dodger days. The Just Minors card looks like it was taken with a cell phone ... underground in the batting cage.

Have I mentioned that I absolutely love Fleer Genuine from 2002? Could thingpen have known this? I doubt it. But this is my first Fleer Genuine Dodger card.

Oooh. A Nebulous 9 need and the last Dodger to complete the 2009 Upper Deck team set. I'm getting all nostalgic over 2009 Upper Deck products these days. That's weird for a Topps fan, but probably perfectly normal.

I just know this guy will end up a star for the Orioles. And when he's going to All-Star Games, George Sherrill will be doing whatever retired guys who wore their caps with their brim straight do when they retire.

I think these are hobby parallels. Really stupid hobby parallels. I snuck these in the stack that I was building hoping thingpen wouldn't notice.

Here's an on-card auto of Adam Riggs. He's a Mitchell Report guy now playing in Japan, but I'm not going to turn down an auto card of a Dodger.

Weeeee! An OPC preview card from '09 Upper Deck. I like these a lot, especially the giant "PREVIEW" stamped across the back of the card, which looks almost exactly like the back of 1977 Topps.

I also grabbed some OPC Dodgers from the early '90s and some mid '90s Leaf before saying goodbye to thingpen.

Total cost at the NatsTown table: Just a bunch of Nationals. I had a few of those lying around.

Table 5
Dealer: Joe M.
Web site: The Sandlot

You know the deal at a card show. At the end of the day, you're picking up only a card here and a card there because you've run out of money. Now, I wasn't spending any money at the virtual card show, just cards. But I have run out of Mets cards -- over and over again.

I scraped up enough Mets to pick up this card:

It's the original 1960 Topps Dodgers team card, no cheap Heritage imitation.

That's the 1959 World Series champion Dodgers you're staring at there. But I don't know who those two guys in the brown pants are. Two-thirds of the Kingston Trio?

On the back, someone might have owned the Roman Mejias card at one point. Maybe.

Total cost at Joe M's table: Just a handful of Mets.

With that, I exited the virtual card show and raced to the virtual car. I couldn't wait to go through all of the cards that I had obtained.

I'm still miffed that I didn't get to go to the real card show. See what you made me do, boys? You made me assemble a poorly disguised, giant trade post.

But even though those guys screwed with my card show, I feel better now after displaying these cards.

Trading through the mail takes time (which I have little of now) and a small amount of money, but it's a heck of a lot cheaper than going to card shows and shopping online.

That is one thing that hasn't changed since I was a little kid. Trading is still THE best way to acquire cards.


  1. That was one intereseting trade post. I don't think I'm going out on a limb when I say it is the most most interesting ade post EVER.

  2. Imagination is a beautiful thing.

    Good work!

  3. Ha! Very nice.

    I don't usually deal cards at a card show, but since it cost nothing to put up a table at your virtual card show, I couldn't pass it up!

    (btw, "mmmrhubarb" isn't my name, "Rhubarb_Runner" is, but blogger can't seem to play well with us WordPress folks, I guess)

  4. I hope you're right about Josh Bell. He looked terribly overmatched at the major league level this year...53 strikeouts and TWO walks. It's looking like the O's are going to send him back to AAA to start 2011 and take their chances with another Tejadaesque stopgap.