Tuesday, December 31, 2013
2013: the best, the worst, the whatever
I've been watching "classic" episodes of Sesame Street on Netflix lately. Is that weird? Should a 48-year-old guy be doing that? Is this a mid-life crisis?
Anyway, it doesn't seem weird to me. I've been enjoying seeing skits and puppets that I haven't seen since I was 8. And, while I was watching it, I came up with the perfect example of my approach to collecting at the start of the year.
As I mentioned before, I don't really set goals with collecting. I have a general idea of what I like and then I go after it. I don't want to tie myself down in a hobby that's supposed to be fun. Cash flow will take care of that soon enough. I'm gonna have fun while I have money and get what I want.
In short, my collecting goal in the coming year is this:
Does that sound a little like the Cookie Monster?
It does to me. He knows what he wants, cookies. He accumulates cookies any way he can. It doesn't matter the time or place. Collecting cookies in an orderly fashion? Collecting only cookies that have been signed or fixed with scraps of cloth? What is that? He wants all the cookies!!!!
I'm a little like that. That's why I am collecting several sets at once. Do you think I care if I get a 1982 Topps card before I get a 1972 Topps card? I don't. If I still have '82 Topps cards on my want list at the end of 2014, so be it. I'll be having too much fun accumulating other cards in the mean time.
So that takes care of my "goals."
But this is supposed to be a look back. Along with top 10 lists, another tried-and-true method of summing up the year are "best" and "worst" lists. I love those almost as much as countdown shows. And since I didn't have the time to put together another one of those blogtaculars like I did last year, this is the next best thing.
So, here you go: the best and the worst ... but mostly the best because it was a pretty good collecting year:
BEST SET I COMPLETED
I finished off three sets in 2013. That's not nearly as spectacular as my set completion from 2012. I completed eight sets that year. But I'm happy anyway. The 2013 sets were 2012 Allen & Ginter, 1979 Topps and 1977 Topps.
1977 Topps was the best. It's the third set I ever collected and there are all kinds of memories associated with this set since half my sixth grade class collected cards that year. Dennis was the last card I needed.
BEST 2013 DODGER CARD OF THE YEAR
Some will say Ted Lilly, but I'll take celebration over scenery. I have to do better at finding more parallels of this card.
WORST 2013 CARD OF THE YEAR
It's a tie. I believe I emit audible sounds of disgust every time I shuffle past these two cards.
WORST 2013 PHOTOSHOP JOB
There are probably better candidates than this card, but this one annoyed me the most. Why is Paul Goldschmidt's cap photoshopped? It also might be the ugliest card of 2013. To paraphrase Kramer, that lime green and gold is messing up my rods and cones.
WORST MADE-UP CARD CONTROVERSY
That time when major media accused Topps of trying to abolish Pete Rose from baseball cards as his name was omitted from the backs of 2013 cards, when in fact it was Topps doing what its MLB license told it to do. SMH.
If you have to get bipped, J.R. Richard is the way to go.
BEST PULL OUT OF RE-PACK
It's a tie between a 1964 card of Don Elston and a domino relic from your domino champion of 2009.
BEST READ BLOG POST
Since it was linked by the CBS station in Chicago, the post in which I quizzed readers on their recognition of current managers based on a baseball card photo from their playing days was the most read. I won't even bother to tell you what the most clicked-on post of the year was. Stupid bots.
WORST 2013 CARD DEVELOPMENT
"Numbering" insert sets with letters. I'm not in the habit of repeating rants previously written here, but it may have gotten lost in a trade post I did and Topps' decision still really annoys me, so here it is again:
"The lack of numbers on inserts is now the dumbest thing that I have seen in the entire card world in 2013. I don't care what you can come up with that you think trounces my opinion. I think this is more stupid. Numbers have gotten us through innumerable organizational tasks for -- what? -- thousands of years? And Topps doesn't think it's necessary anymore. Fine, I'm just going to go to my calendar now and change all the dates on it to letters. Today is not Sept. 10. It is now "Sept. TT" That's right. Figure it out, everyone! This is the way we're going to chart time! Stop looking at me weirdly. Numbers are for the flat earth society! Humanity is progressing here!"
WORST 2013 CARD DEVELOPMENT 2
Super shortprints are looking more and more like base cards. It took quite awhile before I realized that this card was actually a shortprint and not Frazier's base card. Collectors shouldn't have to fear trading away or discarding a card that might be a super shortprint. Put a gold star on the back or something to distinguish it.
BEST WRAPPER OF 2013
The product leaves a little to be desired, but I really love that Electric Company wrapper.
BEST HOBBY SENSATION
After having to put up with Strasburg and Harper (and some guy named Tim Beckham -- remember him?), a Dodger was finally the hobby poster boy! Yeah, people got sick of him and said some really uncalled-for stuff about Yasiel, but I'm thrilled with all my Yasiel Puig cards.
BEST TWITTER FIGHT WITH AN EX-MAJOR LEAGUER
Twitter can be really stupid, and there's nothing more stupid than arguing with former pitcher Greg Swindell whether Yasiel Puig has "paid his dues" enough to be sliding into home plate on a walk-off. But it did produce my favorite tweet so that's something, right?
BEST TWITTER EXCHANGE WITH FAVORITE PLAYER OF MY TEENAGE YEARS
Twitter also can be really great, even if it turns you into a fan-boy. To wit:
That is so cool.
BEST 2013 PULL FROM 1994
OK, so it isn't 1994 anymore. But if it was, you'd be so jealous when I pulled this out of a pack of 1994 Flair:
I got a bunch of Dodger cards I wanted for some lousy A-Rod cards.
BEST TRADE 2
I got a bunch of Dodger cards I wanted for some lousy curly 2010 Topps Chrome.
BEST AGAINST-ALL-ODDS PACKAGE ARRIVAL
These cards, including a 1955 Tom Lasorda, arrived in my mailbox from across the country with half the envelope ripped off and the contents floating in the breeze. Amazing.
BEST CARD I RECEIVED THAT I DIDN'T KNOW EXISTED
2013 became the year that I found out that they once made cards with vegetable oil in them.
WORST CARD I RECEIVED THAT I DIDN'T KNOW EXISTED
I don't think the proper reaction to pulling a card from a pack is to drop the entire contents of the pack on the ground in horror when you see the card.
BEST NON-CARD ITEM RECEIVED
My favorite player of all-time cut a record because that's what 1970s baseball players in Hollywood did. This is such a great item and you would be shocked by how many times I have played it.
BEST BLOG POST
I don't mind saying this: I'm proud of some of my blog posts. But there was nothing that made be giddier than when I realized I could figure out which set had the greatest percentage of mustache wearers. It pretty much got the reaction I expected and when it's time to retire this blog, this might be the lasting contribution. I don't know if that's good or bad.
Creating new blog series and then taking forever to follow through on them. In the last year I have started new series as follows:
-- Most Hall of Famers in a Set
-- Legends of Cardboard
-- Alternate World of Baseball Card Cartoons
-- 100 Best Worst Cards in my Collection
-- The Card After
I have yet to have a follow-up post to any of them (actually I think I've done a second Hall of Famers post but it was awhile ago). I promise that I'll get to all of these in 2014 -- oops, I think that was a "goal."
Ripping up a Carlos Quentin card for his thuggish behavior on Zack Greinke couldn't have been more delightful. And my only regret is that I didn't do the same to Ian Kennedy later in the year.
BEST-LOOKING NON-LICENSED CARD
These Panini Pinnacle Clear Vision acetate inserts are way awesome. The blue "27" is setting off my OCD, but this is a big step for Panini.
BEST PRIZE WON
I did pretty well with contest victories in 2013. This one is my favorite. And Bobby has been freed from his crypt.
On the first day of 2013, I declared it the year of vintage. I stuck to that declaration fairly well as I refrained from attempting to complete a single 2013 set.
BEST COUNTER TO BEST DECLARATION
Topps had to go and produce its best-designed set in recent years. And just a couple weeks after I told people to ignore those packs on the shelves, I was a fan boy again.
I've got to stick to my guns in 2014.
WORST 2013 CARD DEVELOPMENT 3
Why do so many players in 2013 Heritage look like raccoons?
BEST CLUB ENTERED IN 2013
Finally in the Don Mossi card club.
BEST ON-CARD DISCOVERY
An overhead light in a card photo. I still say that's the first one.
BEST REFRACTOR ACQUIRED
Good gosh, that's pretty.
BEST "OLDEST NIGHT CARD" REVISION
In my continuing quest to find the oldest night card, a 1953 Bowman made its way into my collection.
BEST CARD NEW TO MY COLLECTION
Of course, it's '53 Bowman Color Pee Wee Reese. It's also the "best card in a card package," the "most generous card gesture," the "biggest card surprise," and probably a host of other "bests."
BEST CARDS NEW TO MY COLLECTION
Any and all groups of 1975 minis are always the best cards that I receive.
BEST HOBBY DEVELOPMENT
As you know I have been lamenting the lack of pages to house 1975 Topps minis, or any of the minis that have come out the last couple of years that are the size of '75 minis. I and others have petitioned UltraPro to make such a page and all year they've been good about giving feedback on their progress. This was the latest message:
I can't wait for the day in 2014 when I order my 1975 Topps mini style pages.
BEST EXHIBITION OF THE CARD BLOGGING BROTHERHOOD
Ryan of Ryan's Pitch sending me a blazingly popular card of Yasiel Puig in the midst of Puigmania. I am endlessly amazed by the generosity.
WORST BLOGGING PHRASE
Please stop saying that you're boring me. I love base cards! I love cards! Base cards are not boring! We'll never get card companies to treat them like throwaways if we write stuff like that.
BEST "WHAT THE HELL" ACQUISITION
Although my habits are like the Cookie Monster, I do have specific collecting desires -- just to keep the peace, mind you. In 2013, I expanded things greatly and welcoming some 1963 Fleer cards into my home was probably the best example of that.
BEST NON-BASEBALL PLAYER CARD
If you see a whole post devoted to nothing but Martina Hingis pick-ups, don't be surprised.
BEST SET NAME TO JOIN THE COLLECTING LEXICON
OK, so I'm not cool enough yet to have one of my phrases appear in baseballcardpedia. But I did notice a few people call 2013 Topps "the sea turtle set." I still like the name and I like my sea turtle.
BEST CARD THAT I "GAVE UP"
I didn't exactly "give up" a 1957 Topps Willie Mays. But it's no longer part of my collection and, believe me, I thought I'd own it for as long as I lived. But there are some things more important than owning cool cards.
And on that note, I'll end it. As you can see, there were a lot more "bests" than "worsts." I rather liked 2013 when you get rid of all the nonsense.
Speaking of nonsense, I need to select my 2013 Person Of the Year.
Last year, it was the Cardinals' Adron Chambers, who managed to appear on six cards in one set even though he had barely played in the majors.
This year's Person of the Year is none other than:
Little Man on Derek Norris Card!!!
I can't remember who that is. Josh Donaldson, maybe? People on Twitter figured it out for me and they acted like it was the most logical thing in the world. They weren't freaked out at all by THE TINY LITTLE GUY CELEBRATING WITH ALL THE NORMAL-SIZED OAKLAND A'S PLAYERS!!!!
It made perfect sense to them.
But I'm still confused by the whole thing and that's why "Maybe Josh Donaldson" is the Person of 2013.
And it's probably also why I'm watching Sesame Street episodes from the 1970s when I'm 48.
Sunny days. Keeping the clouds away.