Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Why I write

Nick at Dime Boxes presumes why we card bloggers write. And he's correct. Taking us collectively, we write because we like trading cards. But he also briefly mentions that individually we have different reasons, aside from cards, for why we write.

That's true as well, and where I prefer to aim my focus. We all know we like cards. So let's go a little deeper.

If I'm going to give a reason "why I write" in one tidy sentence, I would say, "to let the demons out." That's basically why I write. But as much fun/disturbing that is to say, there are a lot of other reasons that lead to the "demons" conclusion. And they deserve to be explored.

So here they are:

1. Cards intrigue me.

OK, this is what Nick was talking about. So, just by chance, I've got some cards that Nick sent to demonstrate. One that I found the most intriguing is the card at the top of the post. It looks like a League Leaders card from this year's Heritage. National League Pitching Leaders, or Victory Leaders, if you're going to be accurate.

I believe this is card No. 7 in the set. However, this particular card is not card No. 7.

It is card "HP94."

I have no idea what that is. Perhaps a hobby issue card? But why the different number? Why the "HP"? The card isn't different in any other way. It's not shiny. Not refractory. Not colored bordered. What the hell is it?

He also sent this card, which makes a little more sense. It has the "HP" designation, too. But it's black bordered, which makes me think it came from one of those rack packs. Black bordered card with different number notation, that goes together. If I just got this card and not the other my world would make sense.

But that League Leader thing?

Someone please make my world make sense again.

Which brings me to reason No. 2 Why I Write:

2. To join a community.

I'm not the most social guy in the world, so I don't willingly attach myself to functions or activities. I have no desire to travel in packs or spend all of my weekends with my golfing buddies. My interests are more individually based.

Cards is the major one. And, like you, I have no one I can talk to -- face to face -- about cards. That is what led me to type "baseball card blog" into a search engine in June of 2008. That is what led me to Ben Henry's Baseball Card Blog. That is what led me to a wild, "they're really OUT there" summer of reading. And that is what led me to this blog here.

When you love something, you seek out others who love it, too. If they're not near you, well ... that's what makes the internets great.

Oh, I'm supposed to show a Nick card now:

There you go. That's a good one.

Reason No. 3:

3. Validation.

OK, this is a big one, and probably something that's tough to admit for some people, especially guys.

We guys like to think that we are a rock, that we do our own thing, that it doesn't matter who cares or what anyone thinks of us, we don't need no stickin' anybody to stinkin' give us approval for stinkin' nothing.

That's bull. Unless you're a sociopath.

Everyone needs validation. That's why Blogger came up with that little "comments" vehicle for everyone's blog. Who doesn't want, crave, NEED comments? We all need them. Even if we say we don't. Even if we rationalize that we write for ourselves -- which isn't a rationalization really, it's a healthy way of thinking of this blogging ritual -- there is some tiny part of us that is always interested in the comments. And then really pissed off if the comment has nothing to do with what you just wrote (not that I am inferring anything about any particular post AT ALL).

And here's your Nick card:

Comment on it. Don't comment on it. I don't care. I'm above all that (OK, not really).

Reason No. 4 Why I Write:

4. I've Got a Lot To Say

Duh, no sh--, you're saying.

And I say "watch your mouth, missy." But the "lot to say" thing is news to just about everyone who knows me away from this blog. I can go for hours without saying a thing -- and I'm not sleeping at the time either. There are thousands of times in my life when I've thought "I can't think of anything to say," while someone drones on much like I am doing now -- except in a much more boring way.

I just have a bunch of opinions and observations about EVERYTHING. I even have opinions about things that I don't care about at all. Here's my opinion about those things: Do whatever you want.

Because of this, lots of topics other than cards seep into my blog posts. I have a feeling that's why I'm one of the lucky people who does get a lot of comments. Most of my posts feature cards, but they're not really about cards.

But for those of you who just want cards, here's a card:

It came from Nick.

Reason No. 5:


This touches on the "demons" thing. I have this compulsion to write. It has been going since I was young. When I was pre-teenage, my brother and I would set out to write novels. Yes, novels. We would buy large packets of loose leaf paper, 200 pages each, and proceed to write page after page on whatever crazy story we were writing (I remember mine was about animals and space or something weird and nerdy -- you think I can write only about cards? I can write about almost anything).

I vividly remember getting up to 80 or 90 pages of writing before moving on to something else.

This led to school in which any class in which I had to write was the easiest thing ever and an easy A. When we had term papers to do, everyone would groan. I would, too. But while others worked on their paper for months, I specifically remember taking an entire day and night the day before it was due and pounding out the entire 15-page paper in that sitting. And I got the highest grade in the class. My friends wanted to kill me.

And that led to changing my major to journalism in college and then receiving a job in Writing and then getting awards for writing, and really I don't feel like what I'm doing is all that difficult. It's just as natural as breathing. It just comes OUT. I'm thankful and appreciative, but at the same time I can't understand why everyone isn't able to do this. It's that natural to me.


Reason No. 6:

6. To Forget

Most of us do this, whether we know it or not. The blog is escapism. Our hobby is escapism.

The first half of 2012 for me, so far, has sucked. I'm approaching it with a positive attitude, but if an outsider heard what I was dealing with, he or she would say, "dude, that SUCKS."

Job issues. Health issues. More job issues. More health issues. Money issues. Teenager issues. More money issues. More health issues. Job issues.

Sometimes people ask, "How do you find time to write so much?"

My short answer is, "Have you seen my life?"

So I absorb myself in stuff like this:

This is a 2003 Stadium Club gold parallel of Franklin Gutierrez (from Nick, by the way). It is interesting because it's not simply a foil parallel. The picture is different from the base card, too. I know Stadium Club does this a lot (to an annoying degree in '08 SC). But I found it interesting.

And it made me forget for a couple of minutes.

Reason No. 7:

7. To Proclaim My Devotion To the Dodgers

I have to admit this gets a little boring at times. I'm not really interested in "Fan blogs." If I was interested in what fans had to say, I'd be listening to sports talk radio -- and I loathe sports talk radio.

But every once in awhile, I have to say "did you SEE THAT?" when it comes to my team.

Unfortunately, I live almost 3,000 miles away from my favorite team and nobody cares about that team here. They care about the Yankees, mostly, which makes me wonder why I'm here associating with these people who are obviously disturbed.

But on my blog, if there's something about the Dodgers that really needs to be said, I can say it here. And you might have noticed there are a few Dodger bloggers out there. So I can say it and not hear crickets in response. Whereas, before, I had to pretend that the crickets were Dodgers fans.

More cards:

Reason No. 8

8. A Constructive Use Of My Time

Some people might not think so, and my response to that is "how much TV do you watch?"

I do this so I'm not staring at the TV all the time. And the mind-set that I have acquired -- that I must do something constructive -- has led to other constructive endeavors.

Of course, sitting and reading 300 other blogs might cut into those endeavors sometimes.


Reason No. 9

9. The Unrealistic Hope That This May Lead To Something Else

A book deal. A movie deal. Life without strings attached. A date with Jamie Pressly. Totally unrealistic, but you have to have dreams.

Reason No. 10

10. To Build My Collection

You didn't think I'd get to this did you?

This wasn't a reason at all when I started blogging. But it became one very quickly.

My card collection was pathetic compared to what it is now. And I owe it all to blogging.

And to collectors like Nick, of course.

OK, I'm done writing now.

Until the need hits again.


  1. I'm here for your validation. Nice post.

  2. Excellent article, definitely covers off a lot of the reasons I write my blog as well.

  3. Glad the cards I sent arrived safely!

    I haven't been in the blogosphere long enough to fully realize a lot of the reasons you mentioned, but now that I read them, I'm starting to realize some of the non-card related benefits of blogging and how it has managed to change both my collection and myself.

    I really agree with #6 right now, as I've got finals coming up next week.

    The League Leaders Heritage card confused me as well, I got it and the Kuroda out of one of those rack packs of Heritage that have the special black-bordered cards. I'm not sure if that one was supposed to have a black border or if they're all like that. It's a mystery.

    Anyways, there's a comment for your post. :)

  4. My 2011 was pretty bad, and I pretty much stopped collecting. Maybe that is why it was so bad. Huh. Better look into that.

    You make me want to start up again.

  5. So I'm sitting here watching Family Guy with a migraine. I'm starving.

    Here's your comment. About nothing in particular.

  6. nice post! i've enjoyed starting a blog myself. I love telling stories about "the find". It has been awesome to meet other collectors and do deals with them. It is all fun!

  7. Penguins. Star ships. Coral Reefs. Ambidextrous. Cranium. Argentina. Why can't my Reds beat the Cubs?

    Are goofy comments better than no comments? (I say sure)

    Seriously though, good post. And yes, you do write really well - and yes, I can see your buddies would have been jealous. I used to be like that with math ('til grad school anyhow)'s fun when things just "work" without effort! As for me, I'm a terrible writer - but I make up for it by posting plenty of articles each week, the law of averages says I ought to get at least one good one by accident (see there's the math again).

  8. I share some of those reasons also. Except for #3 because I am a sociopath.

    The blog world is very Dodger friendly. We have a lot a pals writing good blogs. It seems that the other Dodger bloggers that I have met in LA are similar in age. Generally young adults in there 20s-early 30s and have a passion for the Dodgers. I see some of these guys at games or at auto signings. Great community.

  9. Reading your list and Nick's reasons made me make my own list.

    Why I don't write more:

    1. Unconstructive Use of My Time - Not my words but the words of someone really really close to me.

    2. I don't have much to say. That is just the way I am. I'll spend an hour reading blogs and commenting on a few and what I type will be more than I said to anyone at work all day long. It just isn't in me to let it out. Anything out.

    3. I would comment more but I hate everyone's word verification things. Plus if I am reading at work (don't tell the boss I read blogs at work) the word verification things don't even show up on my computer screen, I just get a little blank box. I really don't understand why people require the word verification. In three years of my blog I only remember getting a junk comment once maybe twice. I'm sure I am not the only one with the verification problem and that would comment more if they would just go away.

    4. Jealousy. When I do something I am usually one of the very best at whatever it is. Sports, projects, puzzles, riddles whatever I'm pretty confident I will more than hold my own. But reading posts like this one makes me realize that no matter how hard I tried I could never even come close to being the writer that others are.

  10. Chirp, Chirp <- this cricket REALLY is a Dodger fan (naturally)

  11. Another great post. No one integrates trade posts with interesting reading quite like you do.

  12. #1: Cards are in my blood just like hard rock/metal music. Intellectually, they're simple objects, but they have an effect much larger than that.
    #2: I was so glad to find blogs after returning to the hobby about 20 years after my last collected sets (Ironically the '84s in your last post.) All my friends had become "fully domesticated" or moved away, so there was no one locally to trade or talk cards with.
    #3: I'm more of a regular commenter than blogger, but it's nice to have a way to see what other collectors are thinking. I still consider myself a minority these days as a set builder who doesn't care much for rookies or mojo. But it's nice to get different persectives.
    #4: Can't say the same for myself. (See first line in #3). But every now and then I come up with something worthwhile. I think I write OK, but don't have enough original or profound opinions to put something out every day like you do.
    #5: See #4
    #6: For a while, my life wasn't eventful enough TO have to forget anything. I went to work, I came home and did card stuff. Now I get out of the house and away from "screen time" semi-regularly, but the hobby is still high on my list.
    #7: I have team loyalties, but only collect my favorite football team. I have 40+ baseball player collections, and a few other sport players, plus sets, which is plenty.
    #8: Also goes with #6. Probably not as constructive for me as I do a lot of reading and commenting at work (like now.)
    #9: My next step to aspire to would be to become one of the well known card bloggers....
    #10: I have traded with several established bloggers and always enjoy seeing cards I send posted online.
    Well that ended up a lot longer than I anticipated. Great post!

  13. I definitely understand the whole demons thing. I need to write. If I go about two days without writing, I'll get antsy. I have to do something in that way to get it out there.

    Good post.

  14. Great thoughts, Night Owl. I share a lot of your sentiments and feel so very fortunate to be a part of this blogging community as a writer and a reader.

    Doing so immerses me even deeper into the hobby and sport that I love.

    And THAT makes me happy.

  15. Great post....could this be the next Blog Bat Around topic?

  16. With the exception of writing novels when we were younger we have a lot in common! I enjoyed reading your reasons for blogging. I can relate with you on several points so thanks for sharing.

  17. Right there with you on the health issue. When I'm feeling crappy(which is a lot lately) I grab the nearest stack of cards and just idly look and read and critique them until I start to feel a little less blah.

    And it's usually the same stack of cards. It doesn't matter.

    It's an escape from my reality, even if it's just for a bit.