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.
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:
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU NOW HAVE NO PLACE TO STORE THIS BECAUSE IT CERTAINLY DOESN'T FIT IN A PAGE AND YOU PROBABLY DON'T WANT TO WASTE THE RIGHT-SIZED TOP-LOADER ON A MANU-RELIC!
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.
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.