Saturday, January 14, 2017

Twitter Trade With The Mayor!

The Mayor of what, you ask?

The Mayor of Cooperstown, Jeff Katz!

He's also got a few books out, the latest of which, Split Season 1981, I keep meaning to pick up, as '81 is the first (mostly) full season I remember details of, even with my card collection starting in '80.

Jeff had commented on Twitter that he finished his '70 Topps set, which led to me mentioning that I'm closing on it, which led him to mention that he had some extras left over from his set-building, and that turned into a trade, where I sent a pile of vintage football to Jeff, and he sent 26 '70 cards from his stash. This brought me under under 100 cards on '70 Topps, and did so in style. Here's a partial look at the pile I got (just going with the Hall of Famers and All-Stars, as I'm mildly sleep-depped right now).


Thanks for the deal, Jeff, and good luck on '55 Bowman football! (Folks, if you've got '55 Bowman football, he's looking. Get in touch with him!)

Friday, January 13, 2017

State Of The Site Kinda Stuff

Leading with this card, a '58 Topps Football Carl Brettschneider (UER!) card. It's the only '58 I own, and almost left by way of a trade you'll hear about soon, but my trade partner had it already. When I looked at it a little closer, which I'd never really done, it had the feel of one of those spring training photos used in baseball sets (think 1973 Topps Luis Alvarado, but a little more understated). It doesn't look like it's happening in pro football. It's a guy in a park in a football uniform, with cars and a couple other players in the background. Grass is super, super green. The shot is sorta angled, so the ground doesn't look flat. It looks like newer photography than one'd expect on a card released in '58. There's, of course, the spelling error on the last name, too. Across the board, there's something not quite right about this card. I think I'll keep it.

So, 10 updates on some stuff and then a few pictures:

1. I'm still here, obviously. 

2. I am slowly easing back into feeling human enough to do some stuff with cards that isn't just selling the extras, including maybe even writing about them a little. Last year was a challenging year, though, between a move that started in February '15 and didn't really finish until June '16, home renovations that are still in progress but in the late stages, the craziness of the wider world in 2016, and, as I mentioned in my last post, starting in September, there was kind of a run of old friends passing. Not at all uncommon at my age, and, truth be told, while I'd like them all to stay put forever, I'm really fortunate to still have as many people I'm fond of in the world with me in my 40s as I do, especially considering the amount of hellraising a lot of us did. Appreciate the people in your life while you've got 'em around, and say what you need to say to them.

3. I am starting to do some new card trades, and trying to wrap up the old ones. I count 14 trades that've been discussed, even from the initial phases, dating back maybe 2 1/2 years. One's mutually in the mail as of yesterday (the most recent one, and it was pretty quick). One's been in the mail for 2 years. One, I keep asking what they'd like in return for, and not hearing much. One, the other person's not on the hook for at all, but they said they might send me some stuff at some point, so I've still got a note of that. One's probably happening in February, because international shipping is expensive. Three just started, or are at least at the beginning of their usual cycles. One's stopped and started a ton of times. One started, and then fell quiet. Four others, emails were exchanged, and one or both of us just lost the thread. Let's all try and wrap these up before the post office gets privatized, eh?

4. Even if you're not part of this group of 14 or so people I'm trading with, I still have a lot of cards available for sale or trade. People keep leaning toward trade, which, I get it, times aren't great for everyone, but I'd rather see cash (especially with 14 trades in progress right now), and it'd lead to a quicker turnaround for you, as well. I put some stuff on my COMC account at the end of last year, too, and I've done pretty well there. Had a few sales that saved my ass around the holidays, when car repairs showed up RIGHT when I was about to start my shopping. Still have some cool stuff up. Prices are indeed negotiable, so make offers if there's stuff you're interested in, but think I'm asking too much for.

5. I'm still trying to decide how to work this whole "" thing. The latter site, I will admit, I don't quite have the same level of warm fuzzies for yet, though its function is certainly way more multipurpose, and I'd much rather run a self-hosted WordPress site than a site that could go splat if Google decides to get bored with us running Blogger sites, which really have to be in the loss column right now for them, given how little attention the platform gets these days. And, I mean, I could just move the card site to WordPress (Shane did just that last year), but I'd want to approximate the layout as well as I could, not end up with a ton of broken images from 6 years of card posts (if I'm moving the site to my own servers, I don't wanna leave all the images on Google's server), and not have very much, if any site downtime if I did it. Plus, I don't want to keep adding sites (and domain registrations) to the list of Things On The Internet That I Have To Take Care Of. I'm trying to have less of those these days, not more. So, suggestions are welcome here. Opinions on whether the card site HAS to stay independent, despite it being a hardship down the line, are also welcome. I just actually had this weird idea about merging the design aesthetic of this site with the Hobbies site, that maybe I'll explore in the coming weeks.

6. As for the state of my collection? Well, again, for a few months there, I didn't remember that I was a person, to be honest about it, and it still might get tough in the coming years if stuff in the States ends up being as weird and horrible as it looks like it might, but yes, I do have a collection, and I am still adding to it. I took this snapshot of The First Cards Of 2017 recently (which normally get their own post, but it's been crazy lately), in fact...

These were pickups from a comic shop that's phasing out cards, alas, but they were fun pickups nonetheless.

There's other new stuff on its way to me in the trades I mentioned above, as well, and I'm sure when spring happens, if stuff's stable in my life, I'll be out at the flea markets, buying up lots again.

Aside from "have fun", which was my 2016 goal (and in between all the chaos that happened last year, I did), I don't have a strong goal for my collection this year. It'd be nice to finish some more sets. Autographs of my favorite players are fun (these are the things you should be offering me in trade). I like weird stuff. Those are all things I'll keep in mind.

7. As far as new product goes, I'm not thrilled with '17 Topps flagship, but I like Bunt again this year, I like Donruss, I'm pleasantly surprised with Gypsy Queen, and I'm still all-in on Heritage (maybe more so than I would've expected years ago, as I'm putting a pretty good dent in the original '68 set these days). If you're opening new cards, throw that stuff aside for me as it comes out, especially if you're into trading it for well-loved '60s and '70s Topps.

8. I'm still doing all the Topps Digital apps, and while I'm not as feverish about trading, finishing sets, etc. as I was last year, I pick up stuff in all of the apps every day. I probably have a lot of trade bait for you, if you're doing digital cards. My username is SCOTTCRAWFORD across all the apps. Send me some offers!

9. I'm in the process of finally working on a version 5.0 of my want list (which will ideally address the issue of my want list being 71 pages with very little priority to what's on it, and maybe bring the lack of priority in my collecting goals under control a bit).

10. Finally, not quite card stuff, but we may have room in my fantasy baseball league this year. We're a looking-like-between-10-and-12-team dynasty league (which means you can keep everyone, and also means that, as an expansion team, your first season's probably gonna hurt), roto, on Yahoo. We've been the same core group since '02, so (wow) this'll be our 16th season. Right now, if all of last year's owners return, and I think they will, we've got one expansion owner returning, and we'll be back up to 10 (we had 2 long-timers take a break last year, and 1 slacker we had to give the boot to after '15), but a perfect league size, to me, is 12, even in a league of hoarders. We usually draft in mid-March these days. Settings below!

Scoring Type: Rotisserie
Player Universe: All baseball
New Players Become Available: As soon as Yahoo adds them
Max Acquisitions for Entire Season: 70
Max Trades for Entire Season: No maximum
Trade Reject Time: 2
Trade End Date: No trade deadline
Allow Draft Pick Trades: Yes
Waiver Time: 1 day
Waiver Type: Continual rolling list
Waiver Mode: Standard
Can't Cut List Provider: Yahoo Sports
Trade Review:     Commissioner
Post Draft Players: Free Agents
Max Games Played: 162
Max Innings Pitched: 1700
Roster Changes: Daily - Tomorrow
Start Scoring on: Sunday, Apr 3
Roster Positions: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, Util, SP, SP, SP, SP, RP, RP, P, P, P, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, DL, DL, NA, NA
Batters Stat Categories: Runs (R), Home Runs (HR), Runs Batted In (RBI), Stolen Bases (SB), Total Bases (TB), Batting Average (AVG), Hitting for the Cycle (CYC)
Pitchers Stat Categories: Wins (W), Saves (SV), Strikeouts (K), Batters Grounded Into Double Plays (GIDP), Earned Run Average (ERA), No Hitters (NH), Quality Starts (QS)

These should be stable this year, unless Yahoo hits us with a bunch of new stat categories.

Email me if you're interested!

I leave you with some pictures from late 2016. The renovations on what we've been calling "the study" are coming along, and this is where the cards, and some of my other collections, will live moving forward.

Partially organized shelves! The books are where they're supposed to be, anyway.


The front wall! (Don't panic about the empty malt liquor bottle. It's been empty for probably a quarter century.)

 Side wall, not a ton I can do because of the radiator. Yes, that's a Vectrex.

Back wall still needs more shelving, which I'll probably grab in a few weeks.

And, a roomy walk-in closet with attic access. Yes, that's a Macintosh SE/30 on the bottom shelf.

Stuff's moving forward. That's what I gotta go on here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A New Bernie

What a remarkable card.

Would you look at that stretch he's doing?

This is actually a Bernie I'd never seen in person or otherwise, which is something else, as it's a base card of my favorite player from a flagship set, however troubled Donruss were in '98. Glad to add it.

This is also one of hundreds of cards I got in a deal with Bo recently, as part of our longstanding series of trades. When I got the box in the mail a few weeks ago, I glanced through to get a basic idea of what was there, then I let it sit, rather than doing my usual routine of checklisting and filing it all. It was the end of a long, exhausting holiday season, that itself was at the end of a very long, exhausting year, the home stretch of which made it really goddamned difficult for me to feel up to spending hours of time meticulously checking which cards I was missing from the 1998 Donruss set.

Now, despite feeling like I did about sorting and filing my cards, I of course appreciated the deal, as, first and foremost, there's a lot of human effort and thought that goes into these things, from people who are usually at least as tired and spread as thin as I am. I don't ever take that for granted. Past those sentiments, the cards involved enabled me to replace some things I didn't need with some things that'd fit in sets of mine, as well as shifting some things to someone else in exchange for stuff that'll likely do better with the local collectors where I am now. I knew all that on my first pass through the box. I just didn't have anything left in the tank to really process it until the other night.

When I finally did, I did have fun.

"Hey, cool, a Griffey."

"Nice, there are some Hall of Famers in this run of *set here*."

"Finally almost done with that no-good '89 Bowman set!"

"Whoooooo, Bip Roberts!"

And, of course, there was this Bernie Williams card.

Sometimes, in the wake of a lot of horrible stuff happening (and it has lately, even above and beyond the celebrity deaths everyone's talked about from last year, and the crazy election; friends, past and present, passed at a much higher than usual rate over the last few months of the year, as will happen when you reach a certain age, and even at the beginning of this year, our community of card folk lost a bottomless well of knowledge, solid artist and decent guy in Bob Lemke), it can be tough to do normal human stuff of any kind and feel like you usually do about it because you're walking around feeling shellshocked, so when something manages to get me back to doing that, I appreciate it a little more than I do when the whole world doesn't feel like a dumpster fire. So, thanks, Bo, for that. Seriously.