This has been a weekend of discoveries as it pertains to my hobby.
It's been little things, mostly, but collecting cards is all about the little things anyway. It's not a big-deal kind of hobby (Look what I found during my trip to Tibet!).
To start, it's coming up on the year anniversary of my mom's passing. The only reason I mention that is because I realized I've just reached the mental state where I can go through the many, many family photos -- a significant number taken by my mother -- that I removed from my parents' home when we were cleaning it out last summer.
Back then I had taped the albums up in boxes and then transported them to my house where they sat in the basement for months because I couldn't begin to look at them. But now I'm starting the long process of scanning and uploading and downloading, etc., and remembering fondly the old times and old friends.
This is a photo of me and my brother and my mom. We're at a park about a half hour away from where we lived. I'm the kid in the red shirt and Dodger hat, as if you hadn't figured that out already.
This is a very familiar photo to me but there is so much you rediscover when taking old snapshots out of their pages and cropping and displaying them on a backlit screen. I've just discovered, upon viewing this in a new way, that I brought my baseball cards to the park!
This photo sums me up perfectly. In fact, if someone were to request a picture of me that encapsulates my personality and interests, this is the photo I would hand them. It is summer. We are near the water. There are boats and hiking trails and a beach nearby. And I brought baseball cards.
I'm quite sure that I was hoping that I could stay at that picnic table all afternoon and sort through my cards. But I'm guessing somebody required me to go down to the beach or into the water or walk around the lake or something infinitely less interesting.
I never understood the appeal of the beach. That hot sun beating down on you relentlessly. Ew, get it OFF me! And then going in the water? What are we supposed to do now? Yeah, not my thing. I knew, when I got older and realized girls in bikinis were everywhere at beaches and in the water and I still didn't want to go down there, that I wasn't made for this outside stuff.
Basically, all I've ever wanted to do can be done inside. Collecting baseball cards, listening to music, reading and writing. All inside activities for the most part. That's me, the night owl. If baseball could be played indoors -- not a dome, I mean like inside my house -- that would be terrific. And about the best way to convince me to go outside is to say we're going to a baseball game or a music concert.
But mostly, what I'd rather be doing, is staying inside and writing. Yup, this quarantine is still not affecting me much.
I'm still hammering away at this blog, after all. And while I've been writing this for years upon years, other bloggers have drifted in and out. I certainly don't expect anyone else to have my priorities, but writing is just about No. 1 on my list, so there will be no drifting.
Years ago, many bloggers moved on to Twitter. and since I jumped on Twitter, too, I would see them there. One of those former bloggers is Eric, a.k.a., Those Back Pages, who ran The Diabetic Card & Comic Geek blog. TBP and I had traded a few times, he is a known Mets and Heritage lover and he once sent me the entire 2012 Heritage base set.
He was quite active on Twitter and then suddenly I didn't see him much there, except for his familiar daily morning greeting. I wondered where he had gone, perhaps maybe he had lost enthusiasm for the hobby.
I couldn't have been more wrong. Yesterday, I discovered that he has his own YouTube channel talking about the hobby and has been doing it for almost three years! (Check out his vast unopened boxes in the background!) Where had I been? Yeah, I know, I probably had my nose down, writing. But I have a lot of video viewing to do now.
So, now YouTube is where a lot of collectors get their hobby fixes. It's not blogs or even Twitter or Facebook but on video (or a podcast). And there's been a tiny part of me that wonders whether that's something I could do. But then the larger, smarter part of me counters with: no, you are a writer.
I'm not here to appeal to video show-and-tell. I'm not here for people who don't want to read more than 10 paragraphs. You're not interested in what I produce? Fine. I don't want to write for someone who won't appreciate it.
You're not going to see me on the beach, or in the water, or on YouTube.
But, obviously, everyone is different. Even we card bloggers are different. And so, while I've continued to write, some other bloggers ditched their blogs and have been gone for years. But with this pandemic closing everything down, a few have come back. I've counted about a dozen who had disappeared for one, two, even five years, and then suddenly they've returned.
This is good news, because I missed those guys. But obviously, they had found other stuff out there -- outside -- that made them tick. I stayed put. This is what makes me tick.
One former card blogger, a very well-known one, mentioned on Twitter about getting the itch to blog again. She wondered if people blogged about cards anymore, or was it just YouTubers now? I had to jump in and say: do you know how many people have come back to their blogs in the last month?
As much as people want to label blogging about cards as "so 10 years ago," it remains a vibrant community. You can read new content on about 100 different card blogs within a three-day period. This isn't 2009, I'm talking about. This is now. 2020.
Yet, still -- and this is the part that ticked me off -- there are some who don't believe.
One of the comments on the tweet from the former card blogger thinking about getting back into blogging was from someone who is also a former blogger. He was a very well-known blogger back in the day, heck, the first card blog I ever read, and a major inspiration for starting my own blog. This was the comment:
"Haven't blogged in quite a long time and it's kind of sad to me that so few out there are writing about cards. I would love to read 1,000 words about the design of 2020 Topps."
That's my post on viewing 2020 Topps for the first time.
All right, it's 2,607 words. Maybe that's too much.
But the point is: PEOPLE ARE STILL WRITING ABOUT CARDS. LOTS OF THEM. And they're still writing about 2020 Topps. And Heritage. And Gypsy Queen. And Panini stuff, lawd amighty.
I could go through and find probably 25-30 posts about 2020 Topps when it first came out. Maybe that's not as much as when reviews of the first cards of the season were at their height, which I'd say was around 2009-12, but if that's what you want, you can find it. And I would assume that a former card blogger knows where to go to find card blogs.
So this is why this is just empty whining to me -- while also marginalizing a passionate and faithful base of bloggers -- because it's obvious that we're STILL ALL HERE!
Which is why I said:
Don't pretend that life is more sad than it already is. Life may have changed for you. That doesn't mean everyone else gave up their blogs, too.
I have found what makes me happy.
While others travel to distant lands ...
While others follow bands from coast to coast ...
While others attend a different sporting event every week ...
While others bike trails and go on shopping excursions and post videos with their phones ...
I write. And I blog.
I'm not saying this is the best thing ever. I'm just saying that this is what I enjoy the most, writing, collecting, inside, with my cards. This is the best thing ever for me.
And, obviously, there are others who enjoy it, too. Because I'm reading new blog posts from many collectors every day and have been doing it for a dozen years straight.
The blogs are here. The writing is here.
OK, since I've shown barely a baseball card in this post, here are few cards from the 1979 Topps set that I thought were cool when I was sitting on that picnic bench in that snapshot:
The stack of cards I brought to the park that day were 1979 Topps cards. There are other photos of me, from a few months earlier, looking through rack packs of '79 Topps that we received in our Easter baskets. But you don't need to see me in my jammies.
I'm quite enjoying this card blogging renaissance and all of the little discoveries I'm making.
You can, too. If you want to.