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Everything is down

For awhile there, I was a bit miffed over the reaction to Tuesday's post.

I'm aware that there aren't as many set collectors as there once was and especially on the blogs it seems to be a very rare breed -- much rarer than it once was. But I expected more than one person to be at least a little amazed by the different path to putting a set in order by card number, especially since all I ever heard from set collectors prior was there's just that one way to skin a cat.

I should know by now that there is no guarantee when it comes to blog comments. But I think this is the new normal. Everything on the blogs is down these days: comments, views, number of posts by other bloggers, trades, cards arriving in the mail from other bloggers, just general enthusiasm for the card blogging life, down, down, down, down.

The interesting thing is that I've noticed the latest downturn (there have been several over the last eight years or so) within the last year.

If you go to my posts from last November -- and I realize you can't see my view numbers -- the blog never seemed more lively. Loads of comments, enthusiasm for the topics I chose, and views almost as high as they've ever been. It caused me two months later to proclaim how alive blogging remained, even while the usual suspects continued to declare it dead.

Now, I'm not so sure. Views from last November are down by around 100-to-200 across the board. I don't know what happened to everyone. Did a bunch of people ditch the hobby? Did everyone's life get extraordinarily difficult in the last year? Why would anyone want to leave a pastime that is all about collecting cards and talking and writing about cards?

I don't know. And you know what? I don't care.

F 'em.

They don't know what's good. If they've dropped blogs for Twitter, fine. I'm over there, too. I know exactly what's good on Twitter. But it's not as good as the blogs. There is not the depth of topics or the real examination of the hobby and its history on Twitter. I see love for cards on the blogs. I'm not always sure about that on Twitter. (I will say though there is often more reaction to my posts on Twitter than from blog comments).

If they've dropped blogs for Instagram or whatever the latest in social media is these days, double f 'em. They don't deserve the rich history of blogs, regardless of topic.

I will be here, whether I have 400 readers or 4. I wrote this blog when an average of 25 people clicked on my latest post. I'll be doing the same if it gets down to that number, too.

It's just disheartening to see how many people have left. I never think they've gone on to bigger and better things. Because how can anything be bigger and better than writing about cards? I always assume the worst: they can't write about cards. Their world is too difficult. They lost all their cards in a fire. Someone has taken them hostage and thrown their keyboard in a dumpster. Why would anyone willingly give up blogging?

Many, many bloggers who were around when I started are gone or shadows of their former selves. It's probably in the hundreds now.

That is why when I see someone blog who was there when I got here -- and even better, when I get a card package from them -- I get real happy.

Someone who gets it. Someone who can stick to something. Someone who is still having fun. Someone who hasn't let life get to them so they can't show off pretty cards anymore. Yay!

I got a package from Section 36 the other day. Ron has been blogging for even longer than I have, also starting in 2008, but picking things up a full eight months before I did. That receives a hearty salute from me and that's all before I've even shown the cards he sent (although the Hanley at the top is one of those cards).

 Ron sent me a selection of Allen & Ginter minis in my bid to complete my frankenset mini binder. As usual with these blind sends, the most boring of the minis -- i.e., the above two -- found a spot in my binder. Both of them filled open spots in a page.

Meanwhile the Jim Abbott card was shut out by the too-wonderful Jim Thome card from '08 A&G, which has that spot for infinity.

Here are a couple of big bulky items that congratulate me on the back of each card. Each reads:


The Bellinger --your 2019 NL MVP -- is kind of cool though, so I'll figure out the storing issue eventually.

Speaking of relics, here is a piece of fence post that is sitting in my garage right now.

OK, I'm not really quite that cynical. It could very well be a bat Hanley Ramirez once owned. At the very least, it's a nice-looking card.

I was pretty excited to see this card. Really.

This is a parallel from the long-forgotten 2009 Topps Ticket To Stardom set that I think 3 people bought.

The parallels consist of one end of the card cut so it looks like the end of a ticket stub. Thrilling, huh?

But it's been years since I've landed a Dodger ticket-stub parallel. That's probably because nobody bought the stuff and I've never been interested enough to go looking for them, but the why doesn't matter. It is now mine.

This gets me quite excited, too. Nobody sends me colored parallels I need from those 2011-14 sets. It's like people don't remember what they are. But I do. It was an obsession back then -- well at least until 2014 when Topps issued colored parallels in 12 different colors and people finally gave up.

The above two were both needs. It's awesome.

Here is a set that I've completely ignored when it comes to Dodgers. I've had the '87 Classic Hershiser and Valenzuela cards for ages and my brain told me "that's all you have to worry about!" and I stupidly listened to my brain.

Now I'm wondering what else I need from this set. A quick search turns up a Pedro Guerrero that I don't have.

Finally this card from one of Leaf's less-horrifying modern sets. Tommy completes the three-card Dodgers set from 2015 Leaf Heroes for me.

I'm thrilled.

And that's a big reason why I'm still blogging.

Of course, everyone can do what they what -- obviously everyone has. I know all the excuses: life got busy, card collecting is a scam, bleepin' Disney Plus. I've got many of the same issues, too. I'm still here.

Because I just don't know why you'd give up cards and community and great stories. It's all here. And it ain't anywhere else.


Nachos Grande said…
I wrote about the decrease in blog views, comments, activity, etc. a few weeks ago as well so I feel you there.

That said, I don't know that it's necessarily that baseball card blogging is dying, but rather blogging in general is dying. As you may know, I also write a LEGO blog which used to get a fair number of views a couple of years ago but now it really struggles to get much attention/views at all. I think YouTube almost killed off blogging...but with YouTube's new rules for advertising coming into effect, people may end up coming back to the blogs. Hard to say for sure.

PS: I don't plan on giving up the baseball card blog (or the LEGO blog) any time soon and I hope you keep your blog going for a long time as well!
Well, I've never had or even come close to the views you got and still get. These days I do good to get 20 views, and more lucky if I get more than 1 comment. It is bothering yes, but like you said f'em!
Section 36 said…
Glad the cards were able to find a home!

I had been wondering if blogger was counting views differently that it had been because, as you noted, it seems weird for everything to drop all at once suddenly like that. Although, I can't discount the idea that my writing has gotten worse.
Scott Crawford said…
If I had to chalk up a cause for things falling off as they have (for anyone who's experienced this phenomenon, not just the Owl), without getting too specific: life's pretty hard for a lot of people right now (I would say over the past 5 years, though that could just be me projecting my own experiences onto the world at large), and not everyone's got the consistent ability to retreat into their hobby and pretty much always find joy or at least some comfort. If you have it, be grateful, and I'm grateful that you have it, too. It's definitely tougher for some of us to swing it, though, and even among the group of us who are still "here", the struggle's reflected in the writing often enough for me to notice it.

I'm still collecting, still finding things in the wild, still completing sets (I completed a HUGE one this year, one that I will be posting about...eventually...), still updating my want lists, still looking through my too-large stash of doubles for trade stuff for people, and still meaning to post a lot more than I do. I've even been scanning things, with the intent to post, but it's been tough for a variety of reasons (the worst of which being a merciless case of post-concussion syndrome that's at 13 months and counting) to write about it.

I don't know where everyone else is on this, but it probably doesn't help that it's genuinely a struggle for me to care about current cards right now, even while wanting cards of some of my favorite players and participating in a thing or two like Living Set (got the Vlad) and Topps Now (got the first Aquino) and the like. I've bought some new cards this year, but whether it was during my last trip to my old NJ LCS, or on any trip I've made to Target this year, but it feels like a chore to buy new cards and not such a good value, and I'm not excited about any of them.

As for Twitter, with very few exceptions, it's not great for the kind of card collection discussion and trading I like, either. I'm there for the time being, and I do genuinely enjoy some of what happens there (though it's a really small and specific part of card Twitter), but the whole thing feels like one long case break giveaway that everyone wants you to follow them and RT them about, and a lot of it's just noise, in ways that probably grate on me worse than the rest of the noise on Twitter (and that's saying something).

Instagram's at 9 years of existing, and will probably be fully integrated with the black, sucking vortex of Facebook by next year, so it's well past "fad", but something about the interface has never grabbed me. It doesn't present visual information in a way that makes me want to look at it. I liked pre-Yahoo Flickr so much more than Insta. I mostly use mine to post pictures of burritos I get from this one burrito shop and things I find at the Brimfield Antique Show when I'm there.

I do feel like you're absolutely right about this being the best venue for our hobby (and a few of my others, too), but life happens, and has definitely happened to a few of us A LOT in the past few years.

Seriously, though, by all means, especially if you're still able to get joy out of a Ticket To Stardom parallel and then articulate that joy in words (and I've never even *seen* a Ticket To Stardom parallel, so I'm not ribbing you, that's a genuinely great get, but the base cards were pretty hard to get excited about...), please, keep posting! I'll keep reading, and occasionally, for better or worse, I'll comment.
Sean said…
I"ve spent the past decade or so equally obsessed with traffic to my blogs, its a weird proxy for self-worth.

I think there are a lot of random variables that explain blog traffic, a decline is not necessarily a sign that you have fewer actual readers. I used to run a somewhat popular video game blog and I remember one day waking up and seeing that I had gotten more than 10,000 views overnight, compared to about 500 on average. It was all thanks to the mysterious Google algorithms suddenly putting one of my posts to the top of Google search results for the word "idiot", which only lasted for a few days, after which traffic went back to normal.

Not that everything can be explained that way, but the way Blogger reports traffic to you its difficult to tell how much is people stumbling across old posts via Google searches, then poking around, and how much is from "regular" readers. Maybe they just aren't directing as many search results to your blog, so "archived" content isn't getting as many views as it used to.

Of course that wouldn't explain a drop off in comments, but that might be just random chance.....
Sean said…
Also this is kind of random, but historically my blog has gotten about 20% of its page views from Russia (#2 country overall) and probably 99% of those are from bots or troll farms or whatever.

In recent months though I've barely gotten any views from Russia, which probably means fewer total views, but no change in actual number of human beings visiting my blog. I absolutely have no idea what scam originating from Russia resulted in so many clicks from that country, but they seem to have scaled back considerably.
Billy Kingsley said…
I've noticed a lower view and comment count but I attributed it to the fact I'm writing less and not about baseball (at least not very much). I gave myself a case of burnout last year with my Card of the Day project. Getting one card every day of the year turned getting new cards from exciting to a chore. I'm finally seeing signs of that breaking though.

The fact that so many people dislike current cards probably doesn't help.
Fuji said…
Not gonna lie... I was kind of relieved to see that your views are down too. You're the king of the card blogs, so it's nice to know that even the best are being affected. I'd say my view count has been cut in half since this summer. At least people are still commenting. Maybe not as much as a few years ago, but I'll take what I can get.
cynicalbuddha said…
It amazes me how timely you blog posts are with what I'm working on. We must be psychically linked (Ancient Alien theorists say yes). But I am one of those that really cut back on my blogging. At least on my main blog, I still manage a post or two on some of my player specific blogs, but I was just working on a blog post about my return to blogging, or at least going to give it a shot to post more regularly.
CrazieJoe said…
Though I started blogging for selfish reasons - I wanted somewhere to document the hobby for myself more than anything - it quickly became more about connecting with good people. The blog has provided me with a number of people I would not have otherwise met to be able to help build their collections as well as adding to mine more than I could have ever expected to without the blog. Not to mention being able to just connect with like minded people I never would have met in person to share and discuss a subject we enjoy.

Though the quantity of views may ebb and flow, the quality of the viewers in our hobby is pretty darn awesome (except maybe those Russian bots...).
Alan Deakins said…
-I am looking at more blogs these days then I was a couple of years ago. I am looking for analysis of vintage cards or cards/sets that seem cool that were produced when I was out of the hobby, which was 1994-2016.....A lot is out there with really great overviews...I may develop or start a 1955 Bowman baseball site, IF I ever get that set completed which maybe 2055 given the scarcity of umpire cards in the high series....Always great to read this blog on a regular basis
Nick Vossbrink said…
I've been less active blogging (well aside from a couple posts over at SABR) due to the fallout of a move just taking longer but I've also found myself responding to your posts over on twitter a lot more because it's been fun to get into a conversation there. Commenting on blogs is fun but because I'm not on Blogspot I don't get notifications about any responses so unless I check back (or remember to hit the notify me checkbox) I tend to only leave comments that stand on their own.

Card-bloggingwise though it feels like the entire hobby is in a a bit of a rut. Heck look at your recent posts about obligatory acquisitions and mere accumulation. It seems like a lot of us are going through the motions right now and just not feeling inspired.
Bo said…
I'm still blogging and hope to never leave. I've never had close to the number of viewers or commentors as most other blogs, and a good portion of both are spam, but the ones that do stay are worth it. One thing I've noticed is that I've gone from trading with many new people to trading with the same dozen or so people regularly.

It seems that Twitter (and probably Facebook) are slowly killing off the blogs, much as Facebook Marketplace is slowly killing off Craigslist. Overall, as the internet moves from desktop-based to mobile-based there seems to be a de-emphasis on content and an emphasis on speed. For those of use who prefer more content that is a loss.

Josh D. said…
I was waiting to try that sorting method (hopefully this weekend) on a big stack of basketball cards before I commented. I appreciated your willingness to sort (then unsort) then sort again....for SCIENCE!!
Defenders50 said…
Yeah, someone got me a blaster of Series 1 and I pulled one of those Bellinger super thick cards and I still have no idea what to do with it either. My 2019 flagship cards are all eventually destined for a binder except for that one, and who knows where it'll end up.
Justin G. said…
I know my blogging (card blogging anyway) is way down. Not sure why honestly, I still trade and buy. Still have opinions on sets (2020 Donruss is....interesting)., but just haven't gotten around to writing anything. Never had great traffic at my site, but it was definitely down over the summer when I was posting regularly.
Nick said…
My comments/views/reactions have been down a bit this year as well, but I have to remember that I've also been way less active in the cardsphere too. I just haven't had as much time for cards in general in 2019 -- I don't think my enthusiasm for blogging has decreased a whole lot, I'm just not sure I give it as much priority in my life as I once did. Trading in particular has nosedived for me this year, both sending and receiving stuff.
AdamE said…
I have to admit I have missed some of your posts lately. One I am unusually busy for it being November and two I have a really hard time reading the new layout. I think it is because while everyone else is viewing it on a mobile device, as it was designed for, and I still read it on a regular computer screen. (though it is a TON easier to read than Dayf's all caps format he has been using for the last year)

I'm sure it is just me rejecting change. I mean, still use my regular computer, I get a newspaper in my driveway, I read books made of paper, I drive a stick, new music makes my ears bleed, YouTube is dumb, and the yankees still suck. Hmm, maybe some things not changing isn't so bad.
night owl said…
I actually think the new layout is the most readable on a regular desktop computer, which surprised me, but it's pretty apparent. If I get a bunch of complaints, I'll see what I can do. Haven't so far tho. ... And good for you getting a newspaper delivered to your home. You'll never be one of the clueless that expects/demands to receive their news for free.
defgav said…
I really miss the "Blog Archive" list. I typically don't read every day, but rather every few days catch up banging out the last few posts. But the new layout makes it tough to backtrack like that and I end up missing posts.

It also bugs me that the new layout doesn't say how many comments a post has when you get down to that section. I like to know what I'm in for. ...If I'm in for a couple comments or a whole bunch!
night owl said…
The blog archive list is still there on the sidebar. You just have to hit the drop-down carrot next to the "Night Owl Archive" title. It's right under my profile.

I can't say I've ever cared about how many comments there were when visiting another person's post. This is a new one on me.
defgav said…
Ah ok, didn't notice that carrot before.. thanks!

As for the comments, well it says "Comments (2)" then I know it's just gonna be a few seconds of my time to read them. But if it says "Comments (28)" I know it'll be a commitment if I decide to read through them all. So when it's just "Comments" I don't know what I'm in for. But maybe that's just me.

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