Yes, just what the world needed, it's another Sports Trading Card Blog. Why should you read mine over the hundreds of others that you already read? Because mine is from the perspective of someone who can't spend hundreds of dollars on shiney pieces of cardboard, even if they are defaced with scribbles or contain embedded pieces of fabric. The fact is that in these uncertain economic times, collecting sports cards is a serious luxury, because they have no real serious value other than entertainment purposes, and in this day and age of on-demand movies, video games that provide hundreds of hours of entertainment, endless instant information on the world wide web, and 24/7 sports coverage on any number of television channels, sports cards are the last remnants of a bygone era.
Yet sports cards have a 21st century panache as well. Where once set-collectors and in-person trades were the norm (as was putting the damn things in your bicycle spokes) treasure hunters and online merchants now dominate the scene. Not only that, but it appears that the card companies no longer give a damn about their base sets, preferring to focus on the relic/auto/serial-numbered inserts creating a lottery like mentality when you plunk down a couple of bucks for a pack of cards.
Did I say a couple of bucks? How about hundreds of dollars? Upper Deck Exquisite is the highest end set of cards produced to date, for several hundred dollars you get ONE pack of cards, each containing 6 cards - now all of them are either jerseys, autos, or serial numbered, and the pack is a cherry wood box. Will I ever be able to afford a pack? Heck no, not unless I win one in a contest. Still this set is an anomaly, or so one would hope. Not all sets of cards are that expensive, in fact several are downright reasonably priced, and even singles from higher end sets can be had for a few dollars on eBay (which will be referred to as EVILbay or the WWMP - World Wide Marketplace going forward). Just as the internet has transformed the way that we communicate with each other, it has also changed the way that collectors trade as well. I'd say that 99% of card trades are done online now, and have been for several years. Why bother trying to find the one collector in your town or city that is willing to trade when you can find hundreds online?
So what will you find here that you can't find somewhere else? Well, nothing, except my own personal style of writing and an acerbic look at an industry that is slowly but inevitably dying. As for me, I'm a 37 year-old married father of one. My wife has a great job in Beverly Hills which affords us a certain lifestyle that could be considered slightly higher than middle-class. Currently I'm unemployed, but I'm working on obtaining a teaching credential so that I can teach High-School English. Our daughter Kaylee (named after a character on a certain Sci-Fi/Western TV show) is 20 months and growing like a weed, so fortunately whenever I go to Target or Toys R Us to buy diapers or formula, I get to buy a pack or two of cards, and this is where most of my current collection comes from. I do make it to the hobby stores once in a while, but when I do my wife is always giving me the full-on scowl.
Unfortunately my minor form of OCD also provides the perfect excuse to collect things, and I collect a LOT of things, the other two vices being Toys and Comic Books. Yes, I never wanted to grow up. Toy wise I'm sticking to the new 25th Anniversary G.I. Joes at the moment, and Battlestar Galactica Titanium, both from Hasbro. Comics-wise I'm down to less than 4 comics a month, after years and years of reading Marvel and DC mainstream, as well as the best of the indies. At one point during my 20's when I had a great job and no dependents I was buying $50 a week in comics/cards/toys. I'm down to less than $10 these days, and it's mostly spent on cards.
As to what I'm collecting at the moment, here's the breakdown:
Baseball - Since there are now only two major manufacturers, I collect cards from both, especially the base brands. I enjoy the retro-themed sets as well, so I've been buying both Heritage and Allen & Ginter from Topps. Neither one of those sets are especially cheap, but at mass-market retail you can get packs of both for $3, which is the upper end of what I'm willing to spend on Mass-Market product.
Basketball - While I still buy packs, and will undoubtedly increase my spending once the NBA draft is over and we know how many UCLA Bruins will be playing in the NBA and for what teams.
Finally, what are my credentials? Well, I graduated from the only college that I ever even considered graduating from, UCLA in 2006, after spending an inordinate amount of time in lesser schools and community colleges (for reference, I graduated High School in 1988). I've been collecting sports-cards off and on since 1977, and have been watching sports all my life. At one point or another I've collected all four major sports, and have even dabbled in wrestling, boxing and golf cards! Every now and then I still buy a non-sports card set, and I have several in my collection. As previously mentioned I also collect comics (6,000+ in my collection) and Action Figures (too many to mention). I typically only keep the cards of my favorite players and will gladly trade away everything else I pull.
MLB - Angels
NBA - Lakers
NHL - Kings
NFL - Chargers
MLB - Vlad Guerrero and the rest of the Angels and former Angels.
NBA - Any player who is a UCLA Alumni, especially Kevin Love, Jordan Farmar & Arron Affalo, but also Kareem, Walton, Miller, MacLean, etc.
NHL - Alex Frolov, Mike Cammaleri and the rest of the LA Kings. Also former NY Islanders from 1980 to 84 (Bossy, Potvin, Nystrom and Smith). Luc Robitaille is my all-time fave.
NFL - Hands down Barry Sanders, but also Deacon Jones, Jim Brown, Walter Payton, LT, LaDanian Tomlinson, etc. Darren Carrington is my all-time favorite unsung player, as well as Steve Hendrickson. You really have to be a fan to know those two guys.
If you'd like to trade, please send me an email to wmnoe at yahoo dot com. I'd be more than happy to get rid of everything other than Angels and former Bruins.