I started Night Owl Cards 13 years ago today and have been churning out copy since.
Much has changed about blogging and collecting since I've started and while my blog has undergone some changes, they've been on a much smaller scale. I myself am pretty much the same. Here, let me show you a paragraph about myself that I wrote on the one-year anniversary of this blog:
"In many ways, this blog is my personality. I try not to get too deep with it -- this is about baseball, after all -- and by nature I am easygoing and have a sense of humor. But I also have a strong sense of right and wrong, can be direct and abrupt at times, and have always been introspective. It sounds strange, but I am a quiet, thoughtful, humorous guy, who can get loud once in a great while."
That's still me, working amid a changed hobby world. Things have gotten bigger for me, particularly in the last year. I've been guesting on a few podcasts (unrelated to the blog, but related to the Tommy John article I did recently, I was interviewed on a local radio station and my article was picked up by WFAN in New York).
The magazine gig continues. In fact, on the anniversary of the blog, my latest article showed up in my mailbox.
This is an article in the October/November issue of Beckett Vintage Collector, likely hitting magazine racks around the country by the end of the month. (It's the one with the Celtics' Bill Russell on the cover).
It addresses that familiar phenomenon among collectors about well-known players who didn't make it into Topps sets even though they were regular players. Many of these players, from Ted Williams to Madison Bumgarner, did not show up because of a licensing issue with Topps. There is a lot of mythology that goes along with each of these instances because neither Topps nor the players are forthcoming with the whys of their dispute. Even though I spent a long time researching this, I couldn't uncover many of the reasons, but I do think I did pretty good shedding new light on some well-known cases such as Maury Wills (could've been simply dumb luck that he didn't get into Topps sets until 1967) and Mike Marshall. And I also addressed some forgotten instances, such as Chris Short.
I think it's pretty interesting, or at least it was to me -- did you know Tony Horton has the most career at-bats for anyone who didn't appear on a Topps card since the company started issuing cards in 1951? -- and fairly timely given Topps' current issue with expiring player and MLB licenses.
So, with magazine articles and radio interviews, obviously, I've expanded beyond writing twice-a-day blog posts that only 60 or so people read (my blogging numbers have been off the charts ever since the pandemic -- and have grown in general since about 2016).
That greater publicity sometimes creates issues with other folks. There's one blogger who stopped commenting on my blog two years ago. I have my guesses why. But that's his issue not mine. And it's something that happens when you have a popular blog. Sometimes there's friction in the comments. I don't know why some people say the things that they do. I don't mind if people disagree with something I say or even if their comment barely makes sense (you should have seen some of the blogging comments when I first started this). But if people are going to lecture me in the comments, they're going to hear about it from me and there's a good chance I'll tell them to get lost. That is one of the few things that riles the nest.
In general I like this to be a happy oasis for readers and collectors and I'm happy to know that's still appreciated entering year 14 of the blog.
I'm still trading and receiving happy little packages. Just got one the other day from Andy of Stadium Fantasium. He's well-connected to Dodger Stadium so he had an extra batch of those National Baseball Card Day stadium-giveaway cards from a few weeks back:
These are definitely foil-finish shiny, which I could do without, but I do appreciate them. Andy mentioned that the cards on the back are numbered 1-5 but skips No. 2. He guessed No. 2 was meant for that dude who keeps getting his administrative leave pushed back. That's a good guess.
Maybe even better than those, Andy threw in a 1975 Topps buyback that I needed!
That's the 445th card from the '75 set I have in buyback form! Very exciting!
I also received a small envelope from a fellow Twitter collector, Tim. I've traded with him before. He's extra useful as he's often looking for Oakland A's and that's a team that has been almost completely absent from the blogs since the early days.
This is most of what I got back. These are my first 2021 Gypsy Queen cards as I usually ignore GQ. This year's design is not pleasant, although at least GQ is being consistent. None of their designs make me want to collect it.
I am pretty grateful that I still get to blog and make occasional trades while all this other collector stuff is going on in this hobby that has grown like crazy in the last couple of years. I try to stay pretty grounded as that's been my M.O. for at least since I was a teenager. So although I'm writing and sometimes speaking on a larger scale, don't expect me to get involved with some of the modern trappings, such as grading and other weirdness.
And so, as year 14 begins at Night Owl Cards, I don't plan anything super bananas, mostly the usual stuff. I've already mentioned some of the things coming up a month ago, so I'll have that stuff coming, as well as a few other posts that are swirling around in my head.
There will be no giveaway this time around but I do know there will be one coming in the next year. If everything goes on schedule, I will be approaching the 5,000th post on this blog sometime in late winter. I'll definitely do a giveaway with that milestone.
As always, thanks for reading. I hope you'll continue to do so in the next year and hope you don't get weird on me. Have fun over here. Sure I may dump on some teams or some cards, but it's all in fun and only because I care so much.
Can you handle it?
If so, join me. And get ready for one cardlicious year No. 14.
The first post?
My first card show in almost two years.