Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Quote of the Day

I've been slacking off the past few weeks with the blogs. It might not seem like it, but that's because I wrote all the posts for this week on Saturday and Sunday. It's not that I'm losing interest; I've had other things on my mind. I had a job interview earlier this week and applied for another one that opened up (either one would be great, but I'd prefer the one I haven't interviewed for). If these don't pan out, then I'm seriously considering Japan for a year (or more), mainly because I think I would have a great time over there. Once I was there I could find myself a truly good-paying job and travel around the country, Australia, and the rest of Asia. I tell you this because my thoughts and efforts have been focused in that area. I tell you this because this blog is subtitled My Life in Baseball Cards, and my life is part of that!

I stopped at Target on the way home today, looking for a pack fix. There wasn't any Bowman Platinum, and I've got enough Heritage, GQ, and I've got a trade in the works with Ginter, so I was stuck with Topps 2 (still haven't finished the set or the inserts I'm trying to finish and I'd love to do that by the end of September). I'll bring you those pack results tomorrow.

Now, on to the topic for the day.

Monday's post was about a DVD that provided several quotes, and here is today's:
It's not just the hobby that's lost that innocence. The hobby is merely a mirror of the game as it is today. It's no longer and will never be like it once was.
I'm not sure that the original development in the hobby (I'm talking the 60s and 70s, mainly) is due to changes in baseball. The hobby came about from people with an interest in collecting things that reminded them of their childhood. The baseball card hobby really didn't become big business until the '80s (and even more so at the end of the decade and through the early '90s). Sure, there were dealers and they knew what was rare and what should cost more, but there wasn't much interest in a "rookie crop" or crazy speculating (a la Strasburg and Harper). A card didn't command value until that person was popular enough to be a star.

But especially in the late '80s and later, as baseball became about the money (to the players - it's always been about the money to the owners), steroids were widely used, and players started charging for autographs, the hobby changed into a serious business of its own. Counterfeit cards popped up all over the place, not to mention fake signatures and game-used memorabilia. With massive rookie speculation, card chasing, and monthly price guides, the hobby turned into the stock market.

Will we ever just be a hobby again? No. It's not just baseball, though. Anything that can still be sold from someone's childhood will always have a seller. Toys, games, guns, clothing, books, old computers - someone has something someone else wants, and a price is put on obtaining those mementos. Especially in a market dealing purely in collectibles, the "price guide" will always exist, and there will always be collectors.

Does that mean there's no innocence left in baseball or the hobby? Each year a new crop of players walk onto a professional field, and for most of them, baseball is still a game. Many of them will lose their innocence, but some stay in the game because it's fun. For most of us bloggers, the hobby is still a game. We love pulling a hit, but our collections aren't about having the best or most expensive cards, instead focusing on cards that means something to us.

I think all of us have lost our innocence at one point, but it can come back. I know it has for me, and I can thank the blogging community for that. I don't look for getting equal book value in a trade, but instead I've realized that having one card I need for a collection is much better than two I don't.

What are your thoughts?


  1. There are still some moments left for me, especially today. I put a way too excited post up on my blog because I finally pulled a Bradford rookie after looots of boxes/packs of 2010 football. I've never been happier over a pull and it was a really simple insert. So I guess there is still some innocence left.

  2. First, good luck on the job hunt. I'm in the same boat. I had an interview yesterday and I have a really good feeling about it, but you just never know with these things.

    Second, I haven't had this much fun collecting since I was 9 and it has very little to do with the product. It has to do with my attitude and my reason for collecting. I choose to collect mostly singles because I know how frustrated I'd be busting boxes. I choose to collect many cards that many people get annoyed over (manupatches, printing plates, blank-back 1/1s, etc.) because I find them fun and entertaining. I choose to collect dusty, soft-cornered, well-loved Murad college cards because I find them fascinating. I choose to post pictures of my cards that (probably) only I care about because it's fun. I blog because I enjoy the feedback and enjoy the comradery.

    The long and short of it is after I stopped collecting cards to fund my retirement and started collecting to have fun, my enjoyment of this hobby exploded.