Monday, November 3, 2014

Strange times and stranger places

Greetings all, 

I know it's been a long while since I made a post here and I graciously thank all of you who haven't given up on it. 

It's been an odd week for me, with grim bookends on either side. 

Last Sunday my favorite baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals, lost one of their players. Twenty-two year-old Oscar Taveras had what many consider the brightest future in baseball in a considerably long time. A mythic talent with a swing that translated into pure joy and love for the game. 
Oscar was killed in a single car accident while at home in the Dominican Republic. His eighteen year-old girlfriend was with him. 
The out pouring of love and appreciation from all corners of Major League Baseball was touching and tragic all in the same whirlwind motion. 

That is how the week started for me. 

Then, last night, I got a message from my LCS owner. One of the shops most loved Magic: the Gathering players, Ben, had died. 
Ben died in a single car accident, driving on the interstate that I travel to and from work on, six days at a time. 
Ben was twenty-eight years old, and he was fighting a bought with cancer. Ben will forever be ingrained in my mind from a memory I have of the first time I met him: Ben didn't like foil cards. 
As a collector who loves flashy cards (thank Topps Chrome), and crazy variations, this really stuck out to me. 
It goes so much against all the other players I knew and know that I was stunned when Ben told me in his usual "off-the-cuff" manner. 
I didn't know Ben nearly as well as others did, and now I'm left with regret over the times I didn't say more to him. The times I didn't pick his brain, cause the guy was pretty damn smart. 
Ben will be remembered by the players in this community, and I'm sure they will have something in memorial at Friday Night Magic this week. I have work early on Saturday morning, so I will have to wait until I'm running the event next Monday to pass my condolences on to those who knew him best. 

Both of these young men were still in the stages of living, of being liked, of being appreciated, of being part of a family. 
Being twenty-six, a little over half-way between them, it's been a disconcerting time for me. 

I want to kick the dust of this blog, just to get the wheels in my head turning again. 
If you folks could help keep me accountable, I sure would appreciate it. 

Rest in Peace, Ben and Oscar. 
Thank you for all you did, and all you will inspire others to do. 


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Collecting Manifesto

I can really procrastinate when I set my mind to it!
The following text was originally composed back in June (2013) and has lain dormant since. There have been the occasional edits, and I've sent it to some of my collecting friends for tips; but I keep pushing back my publication. 
So now, on the New Year, I figured now is as good a time as any:

I have found that collecting sports cards is kind of like reading books or listening to music. 
There is so much variety out there that it would be nearly impossible to read/listen/collect it all. 
You can wander aimlessly, dabbling in different genres/products, and that's how most people start in the hobby. 
Eventually, however, there has to be some direction in your collecting. If nothing else, it helps with the bane of most collectors, organization. So I have been working on developing my “collecting manifesto” to kind of help with what I want to do with the hobby.

(Note: All collections are focused on the St. Louis Cardinals unless otherwise noted)

1) Player Collections-
I mainly PC Chris Carpenter with Yadier Molina as a smaller PC due to how expensive he's gotten.
*HOF/notable players will have pages as well, but I will not usually go out of my way to track these down.
(With HOF/Notable players, I will try to limit to 2 pages maximum, and avoid the same picture on different cards.)

2) Team Sets-
Currently, I have all the GQ sets up to date, and this is the only set that I'm pursuing the minis for as well. I would like to add A&G teams sets (I have one so far) and the biggest goal of them all: Topps Flagship. Every year. That one is going to take some research and a long time to complete, but why not?

3) The Frankenset:
I want to build a serial numbered set featuring Cardinals players exclusively.
My only guidelines in this set are to not have the same card twice in the set, or to have the same player twice within two pages.
I'm starting with 1-180, and then we'll make our way from there. (Maybe work 10 pages at a time?)

4) “Odd ball collections”:
*Gaming: Cardinals cards from Attax, MLB Showdown, and anything else I can find!
*Cameos: Cards that are not of a Cardinals player, but that have a Cardinals player in the picture somewhere.
*Dropping the bunt: Cards that feature a pitcher (from any team) in a bunting stance. This may be expanded to “Pitchers at the Plate” at some point. I'm beginning to notice there aren't that many cards of pitchers bunting…
*Throwbacks: I feel this one is self explanatory. Players in throwback unis. Plain and simple.
*Colored parallels: When it comes to Chrome products, I will mainly strive for blue parallels. Unless I come across a lower numbered variety for cheap. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. (Excluding the emerald parallels of 2013 flagship. Love those. Gonna get the whole set.)
*MSU: I will have a binder set aside for Mississippi State university team sets and alumni. Still trying to decide if each pro player will get their own page.
(They most likely will.) (Will also collect hits of MSU alumni.)
*Bowman: I'm still trying to figure out how to work these. Maybe just a prospects binder in general?
*Chrome: I'm not entirely sure what to do with Chrome cards that don't fit in any of the non-Bowman categories. Absolutely no clue what to do with them.
*Multi-player: Cards that have more than one player on them, with at least one player being a Cardinal. (These have designated pages based on how many players are on the card.)

4) “Hits”-
Aside from “PC/HOF/Notable” I will try to not chase non-auto hit, unless that player doesn't have a Cardinals certified auto.
 (Note: I will accept these in trades and will trade for them if approached.)

I know there's a ton of stuff out there, but I just needed to sit down and really think about what I want to collect. I know this isn't the sternest course, but I feel like it's better than nothing at all. 
If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Thanks for reading!
Staying unabashed and interested,