Saturday, September 13, 2014

Six degrees of separation

Today is the sixth anniversary of Night Owl Cards. On this very day in 2008, I started a blog at 3 in the morning.

Blogging today is not like it was then. I'm basically the same and my blog's basically the same, but everything else is different.

I've been thinking about this a lot in recent weeks. I have to say I haven't been crazy about the changes. The difference between 2008 and 2014 has seemed vast lately. Some examples:

1. Once, I would buy a pack at the store, publish the contents here, throw out some fairly obvious observations that are familiar to collectors, and get a wave of reaction. That hardly happens anymore. I either have to have a once-in-a-lifetime moment or open a vein to get the same kind of reaction.

2. There is a lot less philosophical discussion of cards on the blogs than there was in 2008. Maybe it's because card blogs were newer then and it's all been said, but I miss that.

3. Quirky doesn't cut it anymore. My blog is built on quirky. I like quirky, researched posts like this and this. They used to get a lot of reaction. They don't anymore.

4. Even though there are just as many blogs -- if not more -- than there were in 2008, a lot of old bloggers have migrated to Twitter. Twitter is great for getting the instant reaction that you used to get on blogs. But blogs are more my style and I always will come back to blogs. However, I don't see a lot of bloggers who left for Twitter doing the same.

5. There are just as many blogs but not as many readers. I'm not talking about comments, I'm talking about clicks. Maybe someone wiped out all of the bots in Southeast Asia, but even in just the last three weeks, readership has taken a dive. This used to happen every November and last until January. Now, apparently it's starting in late August.

6. I don't like current cards as much as I did in 2008. I don't feature them nearly as often. Maybe by not being as current, it puts a damper on everything.

So those are your six "degrees" of differences between blogging then and now. Sounds kind of grumpy doesn't it?

But I'm still willing to try. That's why to celebrate today's anniversary I thought I'd go out and buy some current cards and try to capture that magic from 2008, when I was buying current cards and -- sort of -- liking them.

I reviewed the selection at Walmart and instantly realized that this was a bad idea. I don't want what's on the shelves. Blasters of Bowman Platinum? No way. Rack packs of Chrome? Tried it already and done. Series 1 and 2 racks? Done with that in May.

But I really wanted something for the celebration -- to prove that I still can post current cards here and at least make a feeble attempt at liking them.

So I grabbed a blaster of Allen & Ginter.

Don't groan. People didn't groan in 2008.

This is my third blaster of A&G. I'm trying to complete the set as usual. I'll just show the highlights (and lowlights) because I did my annual A&G post a long time ago, before readership tanked.

OK, here they are:


You could've picked any player from the '90s to feature. Travis Fryman gets completely ignored. But, you've got to throw another card of Will the Shrill in there. This is not a good start.

I didn't realize that Roger Maris was the first card in this year's set. That's probably the proper way to do it. Enough heartache with featuring Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun at No. 1. Go with the dead players, Topps. Everyone loves the dead.

This happens to be the last card in the set. So I pulled the alpha and the omega of 2014 Allen and Ginter. That's kind of cool. Kind of quirky.

I had about as much luck pulling Dodgers in this blaster as the previous two. At least these are two I need. By the way, I came across another Willie Mays card in this blaster. Three blasters, three Willie Mays cards.

Oh, and this:

Looks a little familiar, huh?

Holy hell ..


Anyway, trade bait, for the Brewers fans. Nobody else wants it.

I did a story a couple of months ago on cross-fit devotees. I know they get a lot of crap for acting cultish, but I was very impressed with what they do. I was very close to joining a box. You think I'm annoying now.

Those are the minis that made the frankenset binder. The Iron Sheik was the highlight of the package. There are three other minis that will be distributed in future card packages.

And this mini is available to LSU fans.

Again ... I'm really trying to like current cards ...

This guy is a businessman with success in craft beers. Good for him. Unless he races with a mug of beer in each hand and won 50 consecutive races doing that, I don't care ... and it doesn't belong in the set. There is too much free advertising in 2014 A&G.

Way too many dudes in suits, too.

I couldn't do this again in a million years. Four Nationals inserts of the same kind in one blaster?

I can't possibly think of more than three people that this benefits because that's the number of Nationals collectors I've come across in my life.

All right that's about all I got out of that blaster and as you can see all it did was make me cranky.

I wasn't nearly as cranky in 2008.

Yep, things have changed.

Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy blogging.

I also realize how fortunate I am to still have the interaction that a lot of blogs don't. (Until this post, at least one person had commented on 302 consecutive posts). I'm still grateful.

But there have been times over the last few months where I've considered taking a short break from the daily posting. So if you see periodic absences in the near future, it doesn't mean I've given up. I'm just trying to deal with this new blogging world.

But also don't be surprised if I stay the course and there is a post a day for the next 80 days. Old habits die hard.

And at six years. This blog is old.

Thanks for still reading. You know who you are.


  1. Darn, I was hoping you had pulled an A-Rod card that only I would've wanted.

  2. Well, I've only been around for a few weeks, but I hope the blogging community continues to go on (that sounds kind of redundant). Twitter is convenient and instantenous, but twitter posts don't last...and I've been reading a lot of your past posts, and enjoying them a lot.

    I know start to see familiar faces in the comments sections of blogs I follow (Nick from dimebox, TJ from Junior Junkie, Mathew from Bob walk the plank) and I hope to enter the circle whenever the circle is ready for me.

    so thanks for all that, basically

  3. Speaking solely for myself, I was lurking around blogs for a couple of years before I started commenting on them, so I suppose I tend to maintain something of a lurker's mentatlity and leave the comments for when I have something to say that hasn't already been said.

    With the exception of the occasional "Congratulations on 6 years!"

    All I have to say about the A&G cards is "What a waste of perfectly good photos of Carlton, Buckner and Clark".

  4. Congrats on the anniversary! I've found myself taking a few extra days off from the blog due to a combo of lack of readership and lack of time. I think I caught the tail end of the pre-Twitter migration thing when I started my blog back in late 2011. Then again, I myself have started to dabble in Twitter, but I don't see the love I have for my blog fading away anytime soon. As you said, we should be glad we get ANY type of interaction on our blogs.

  5. Happy Birthday blog!
    please trade me your Honey Badgers.
    I can like LSU if I have to

  6. Happy Blog Birthday. You are the standard my friend. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for posting a Will Clark card and for being Night Owl. F$&k Twitter. (Even though I'm on it too).

  7. Happy blog birthday! Whether people comment or not I'm sure everybody appreciates the work you put in each post. I know I do. Sorry about the Braun.

  8. Congrats on the anniversary. As someone that has started and stopped my blog a few times I admire your commitment and consistency.

  9. Could have sworn you were around before me. January 2, 2008 was my first post. When I started, there were about 10 baseball card blogs. I agree that the vibe was different. I think the readers outnumbered the bloggers by so many then, Now there are a few hundred blogs about cards. I enjoyed it but couldn't keep pace with Dayf, GCRL, Mario, and others who had something to say everyday. Your consistent run is most impressive. I'm at it again for now. Don't know who's reading but that's ok. Maybe you should revive the old Blog Bat-A-Round. Congrats!

  10. Congrats on the anniv, N.O. I don't see any appeal in limiting talented writers such as yourself to 140 characters, what a waste that would be! Regarding 2014 A&G, am very pleased that Sam Calagione from Dogfish Brewing was included. A true pioneer/creative visionary in the business, try one of their beers sometime and you'll see. Definitely have to add his mini to my frankenset when I find one.

  11. I wish I'd been around when you began this blog six years ago. Congrats on the blogging commitment! (I read several blogs regularly but rarely comment. Well, I do comment but rarely publish). Your posts often contain so much more than excellent card content. Your insights into our changing society are appreciated!

  12. Yours is the first site I go to every day, in the afternoon. Entertaining, smart, witty... a fun read. Thanks for your blog.

  13. Congratulations on six years of excellence. You are the gold standard of card blogging and I hope to keep reading your posts for years into the future.

  14. Thanks for these six years! I'll still be reading your posts six years from now.

  15. Happy 6 Year Anniversary. Keep up the quirky, I like quirky a lot.

  16. Happy Blogday or whatever you want to call it. Even though I just started my blog, I can only hope to have the success you have had in readership, comments, and quality posts.

  17. Happy Anniversary on the blog! If all else fails, you can always post last night's Kate Upton card- that should always keep viewership strong.
    Anyway, looking forward to the next 6 years. Cheers

  18. Happy blog birthday, buddy! You are the definition of quirky! Is that a good thing?
    And thanks for that big box of cardboard happiness that arrived this morning. WOW !
    6 or 60 years from now, Night Owl will always be The King.

  19. Yeah, your blog is always an inspiration for me (and I'm sure countless others). Congrats on another milestone - and let's just pretend the 'ol blog hit counters aren't accurate anymore. I too liked the old numbers better.

  20. Congrats on 6 years! Looking forward to the next 6.

  21. Happy Anniversary from an avid reader.

  22. Happy 6th Blog-versary. You are right, so much has changed in the past years and sometimes it doesn't seem like things are moving in a positive way with the way that licensing is going not to mention it seems like some sets are just regurgitated multiple times just with a different name.

  23. I like the 6 degrees listed. I think you pretty much nailed it. I miss the 2008 era blogs. Maybe I just miss the Phillies being relavent. but it's more than that - Back then I was catching up and learning so much about what happened during my missing yrs. now to learn stuff I have to drag out a card from 1963.

    For me Twitter has a lot to do with all this. I have devolved to the point where I can't read anything longer than 140 characters.

    keep bringing back the quirky columns they are the most fun.

  24. Congrats on the 6 year anniversary Greg!

    I'm keeping an eye out for your 1,000,000th page view, which shouldn't be too far away....

  25. Congrats on 6 years! Great post! Great always!

  26. Congrats on 6 years. You're right that only Brewers fans want the Brauns. So, I'd love the Braun if you don't have someone else in mind for it.

    I'm curious, though, about your second statement about philosophical discussions on the blogs of "yesteryear". I guess it's because I'm one of those newer bloggers who wasn't around back in 2008, so I'd love to understand where you're coming from on that or which blogs (other than yours, of course) have or had that type of discussion.

    1. Dinged Corners comes to mind immediately:

      Also, Cardboard Junkie, when cards were his main obsession (check out around 2007-09):

      The one that started it all for me, The Baseball Card Blog (again check out the stuff before '09):

      There were others: Wax Heaven Fielder's Choice, A Cardboard Problem, Bad Wax, Stale Gum, Punk Rock Paint, some of these are still around but hardly post at all anymore.

    2. Thanks, N.O.! I'll take a look at some of those.

  27. Happy Anniversary! 6 years? That's quite the accomplishment. Here's to another six.

    Random piece of information... the song "Seasons Change" by Expose popped into my head while reading this post and now I'm worried it'll be there the rest of the day.

  28. I'm sorry, it's all my fault. I have been away from the computer for a few weeks. I was good for about 30 clicks a day from a phone, a tablet, and 3 or 4 computers. My bad.

    Congrats on 6 years.

  29. Happy anniversary - 6 years is a long time to keep it up and you're the standard, as others have said. I read two websites every day - and your site. I don't comment as much any more - because I read it from my cell phone more than I used to, and it isn't always nice about letting me comment.

  30. Congrats and thanks for keeping it old school for those of us with decent attention spans!