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Friday, December 23, 2011

What makes a great trading card blog?

Wicked Ortega posted a comment to Jaybarkerfan's current contest to award the/a title of 2011 Blog of the Year. If you haven't read his comment, please do so. He makes a great point.

That got me thinking: what makes a great trading card blog? Is it the fact that they've been around for years? Is it that they post in depth arguments for or against certain releases?

I can't give you an answer, because your favorite blog might be different from mine, or your reasons for choosing it might be different. I'm not writing this post to tell you how to think, or what to think. I'm writing it to express my thoughts on the issue.

So what blogs do I like to read? Really, any blog in my reading list is worth reading. But what puts them on that list?

I like blogs that aren't team-centric or that focus on a single player. Your writing may be the best in the world, but if all you're doing is talking about the Giants or Nationals all the time (are there any Giants or Nationals blogs out there?) I'm not going to read it. It's just not what I'm interested in. Just like most of you probably aren't interested in reading a blog about transit every day. Which I do, oddly enough. I just don't have a passion for your team or player collection. Sorry! I do read some team and player collection blogs, as evidenced by my blog roll.

I like blogs that are mostly baseball. I don't have interest in basketball, football, or hockey. There are some "multi-sport" blogs that I follow, because I know when baseball comes back around they'll meet my interest again.

I like blogs that provide some commentary - more than just "look at my cards!" It's impossible to avoid "look at my cards!" posts, and I have them myself. It's what you do with it that matters. 30 Year Old Cardboard and Core Contrarian have really short posts with single cards, but they provide a little commentary that make the posts good for a quick read.

I don't care how old your blog is, though I recognize the greats. Night Owl received a nomination, and he's been around since 2008, but there are others who have been around for longer than that. Dayf has been posting since 2006. But blogs change. Dayf's blog is great and I love reading it, but it's a bit different from what it was four years ago. And like a grizzled veteran, some eventually fade off or disappear all together - their interest fades, life throws a curve, or they just don't have time to write anymore. Blogs that may have had fifty or more posts per month just a couple years ago may not have that many all year. Again - they're still great blogs and hopefully someone might start a real Baseball Blog Hall of Fame at some point to recognize ones that aren't (as) active anymore. (Dayf and Night Owl do NOT belong in that category - the not-active thing.)

There are many blogs that shine for a short while and disappear. Some come back, some don't. It sort of mirrors collecting for many of us. I started collecting in '89, stopped in '98, returned in '03, and pretty much stopped towards the end of 2009. But I came back again last October, and blogging really helped with my love. But there is a lot being tossed around in my head about collecting next year. I want to stick with it, but like 1998 and 2009, I'm going through a major life change that could tear me away from cards. I love writing this blog, so I don't see myself leaving - there is more than just collecting involved. It's more now - I love being able to share my thoughts about the hobby and my cards with everyone.

Okay, back on topic. What makes a great trading card blog? As Wicked Ortega says, a passion in the writing. But all of the nominees on that list show passion in their writing. What makes one of those (or any other) blog of the year? Who knows. I can't wait to see this play out.

I swear somebody else has run a multi-subject series of awards for best blogs (best trader, blog of the year, best new blog, so on) in the past. What happened to that? Can we get a whole series together to vote on next month? Anyone interested in running this? Anyone care? Anyone? (AHH, FOUND IT. Chris of Stale Gum ran it last year.) Chris is probably too busy to do this, but I'd love to see the Gummies return.

And last, while we're talking about this, thank you Eric for nominating me! I don't deserve blog of the year, but "I'm just excited to be nominated!" Isn't that how all the award nominees put it?

Thoughts, below. Please!


  1. I think you hit the nail on the head - it's a matter of personal tastes. I don't mind blogs that aren't about my team or favorite players - I still enjoy the commentary and appreciate that blogger's collecting goals. Similarly, I can see how you (or anyone else) may casually glance over the majority of my posts that are Yankee-centric, but I do try to add in the TTM element which may attract others.

    Content matters - I like box break videos and quests for a set. I like to laugh and some bloggers sprinkle the humor in more than others.

    After rambling, I really can't pinpoint one thing. There's something for everyone, and that's what makes this all so great.

  2. Although I'm still a n00b, from my point-of-view a great trading card blog is a blog that can offer you the fun and great feeling you get when you trade with people.
    Like when you're a little kid who bought some packs with your friend(s) and you're outside the shop were you bought some packs and looking at what you got and what your friends got (hit posts), then make offers for the ones they either asked for or the ones you know they need (want lists), trading them (shipping the cards you got off and waiting for the ones they got to come into the mail-box) and feel good knowing that you got a card you wanted as well as helping your friend get a card they wanted and know they're going to take care of (posts about their collection).
    Basicly a TCB that could offer you the cards you want, as well as give you a list of what they want along with a sense of trust knowing your cards are going to a good home (and coming from good hands) makes it great. Sure this seems like what every TCB does, but hey the contest never said that all of the TCBs couldn't be great. Hope you don't mind this comment being so darn long Ryan ^^;.

  3. It's personal preference, basically, like everything. The Oscars have standards for movies, but there's personal preference mixed in there, too.

    I like blogs that talk about the hobby generally, cover multiple topics and show cards. As a writer, good writing means something to me, too. I agree with you that writing solely about your team is not going to interest me. There are a billion fan blogs out there that don't cover cards and I totally ignore them.

    I also don't get into the blogs that are constant box breaks -- it's OK sometimes. But as someone with limited cash, I reach the "what's the point?" level pretty quickly.

    But I love that all kinds of different blogs are out there -- something for everyone.

  4. Thanks for your input guys. Kenny, I have a tendency to write really long comments, sometimes ones that are longer than the original post. Don't let length worry you!

  5. There is a Giants blog out there (, but I haven't updated it in a while. :)

  6. Matthew: I see! I hope you're planning on returning at some point!