If you do not have a Twitter account, I do not blame you one bit. Twitter, to put it quite bluntly, is the biggest shit show I have ever joined.
I am sure there are people who have signed up to Twitter because it's such a mess. In fact, I know there are. And that right there explains the mind-set of Twitter. It is a continuously updated series of disasters and overreactions, from people who love to wallow in disasters and overreactions, dialed up to two thousand and splattered in your face in a fit of pent-up aggression. Think of the most annoying student you knew in college. Now think of that same student with all of his or her neuroses, personal agendas and self-absorbed political thoughts belligerently aired for everyone to hear, just blaring from the student union, almost around the clock, and dammit, you'd better agree. That's Twitter much of the time.
Twitter is even more dysfunctional these days because the political takes are just relentless (as it is on any social media outlet). There are times when I wonder why I haven't seen a post or tweet from a certain person in weeks or months -- are they still alive? -- and then I realize I have blocked all of their political posts or words, leaving them with nothing else to say.
Gee, am I underselling Twitter a bit?
I guess I am.
There must be a reason I'm still there. Why am I still there?
I'm there for the baseball and the baseball cards. My job depends on staying on top of sports news in general and Twitter remains a great source of information (granted, in many cases you have to weed through several sports writers/bloggers politicized opinions to get to that info). No one really can compete with Twitter in this department.
My collection also depends on the sports card information available. This is the place where I find out about new product (and all of the cards I will never pull), as well as lots of good info on past sets and cards that I rarely come across on the blogs.
And Twitter remains a place where I can communicate with like-minded card folks. Amid all of the chaos and screaming and people running around with their hair on fire, believe it or not, you can enjoy a quiet, short convo about cards while the Chicken Littles throw themselves off an eight-story building in the background.
There are actually some people on Twitter who grew up at the same time that I did, who have an interest in the same period of cards that I do, and a number of those people don't write blogs. They like my tweets because they understand where I am coming from, and I appreciate that. (I tweet about cards and baseball and my memories of both, and that's about it. I have no interest in bothering anyone about anything else on Twitter).
One of those folks with which I've formed a Twitter bond is a guy who goes by @selectospeed. Just the other day we were reminiscing about the iron-on patches that our moms put on the holes in our Toughskins jeans. These are the conversations I enjoy.
A couple of weeks ago, @selectospeed asked if I wanted a card he pulled from 2017 Topps:
It's really impolite to say "Gimme" -- even on Twitter -- but I believe I said something very similar. Joc Pederson's Modern Ballplayer Signature aside, what a terrific card. The blue Father's Day motif, the blue Dodgers letters (they're Panini-esque), the knowledge that Pederson's dad, Stu, played in the Dodgers organization and was a noted player in Syracuse back in the day -- this is not only my first autographed card of the 2017 collecting season, but it might be my favorite 10 months from now.
But @selectospeed didn't stop there and sent a small variety of cards that I didn't expect.
A few random Dodgers goodies. Much appreciated.
A starter set of 1983 Fleer Dodgers. The '83 Fleer set is one of those I may collect some day (unless I see another card show with the entire set available cheaply like I did last September). These will all go toward that down-the-line cause.
Here are some totally arbitrary but totally cool items (P.S.: the Bumgarner has already been distributed, selecto!)
And a very smoking 1962 Post card that I needed.
All of those terrific and they will be lovingly cataloged and stored.
But let's get to the surprise inside.
Ain't that cool?
This is a 1963 Fleer card of Don Drysdale, not the easiest card to obtain. (But easier than a couple of his teammates in this set, named Koufax and Wills).
As much as I like the autographed Joc card, it can't compare to the vintage Drysdale.
And this is what I can still get out of Twitter, people who admire the history of the hobby and appreciate fellow collectors' interests.
Early rant aside, there is the flip side of Twitter. It has many good points, including the baseball and card information I mentioned above. There is an enthusiasm for the hobby on there that sometimes I don't see on the blogs. Although I much prefer the reserved personality of the blogs, sometimes Twitter provides a more visible sign of appreciation for some of the posts I write and daily confirmation of this love for the hobby. If you are excited about a card that you just acquired, there is always someone on Twitter who knows how you feel and lets you know. That doesn't always happen on the blogs.
So, this is why I press on with Twitter. I often must put on my blinders and selective hearing before I engage with my fellow collecting buddies. But actually, I can have an enjoyable time with anyone who likes cards or enjoys baseball, especially from the '70s and '80s, regardless of their state of mind about anything else.
I suppose I can't expect everyone to think like me or act like me. But my mom not only ironed on patches on my jeans but she raised me with some manners that I try to follow, even online (as this post shows, sometimes I fail). I instinctively expect others to follow them, too. My mom could whip that Twitter into shape.