My enthusiasm for Topps S1 faded disappointingly quickly. Some of it may be that it was a reminder that I’ll probably go another summer without sitting in a baseball stadium enjoying a game. But I think most of it has to do with the economy of the hobby. Is it Topps that turned baseball cards into crypto currency and day trading? Or was it day traders and crypto-nerds that turned baseball cards into an investment?
It doesn’t matter. What matters is that the paper chase is squeezing out hobbyists. It’s no longer enough to open cards, trade your duplicates and collect a set. Now, if you don’t get a swatch of Steve Sharts’ sansabelt pants from his 19 game stint with Spartanburg in ’86, then the whole box was a bust. 330 base cards, 11 parallel sets. ELEVEN parallels. Not to mention the variations. Watching the Series 1 drop was a lot like watching a Yankees game at the Stadium. The real fans are out in the bleachers, squeezing boogers out Abe’s nose to make the budget work to get in the game, meanwhile, investment bankers are down in the get-on-tv seats who are busy doing important business on their important phones and only kinda paying attention to the game.
Stop me if you’ve heard this rant before.
The point of all this is to say that while I would love to stay on top of the hobby as it is today. I really don’t want to stay on top of the hobby as it is today. Partly because the hobby is catering those important business people sitting in the get-on-tv seats. So I’ve decided that I’m going to do with my collecting what I’ve done with my ticket purchases. Put it where I can for maximum enjoyment.
I spend most of my baseball ticket money on minor league or wood bat college games. So I’m dialing my collecting focus into three areas:
Minor league team sets
Affordable vintage sets
Continuing my Mike Schmidt & Steve Carlton personal collections (while adding Alec Bohm and Bryce Harper PC’s).
I am optimistic though. It’s been great to respark my love of collecting cards and between messing around with some custom design ideas, doing the Comc stuff, and going back through all my old cards (well, what’s left of them).
If you’ve gotten this far, what are your collecting goals for 2021?