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?