I'm not really sure where to start this one. Hell, I'm not really sure IF to start this one.
It's been two years since I've blogged, and pretty much two years since I collected cards. I'm not really sure what to call it. I wouldn't say that I quit collecting. To me that implies there would be some kind of active decision. It's more just that I sort of...forgot to collect.
For the guy who had been collecting uninterrupted since he was old enough to read the box scores in the newspaper, it's a strange feeling only in retrospect. I had seen people quit collecting cold turkey, sell off their collections, and move on beyond baseball cards. And my reaction was always, "I could never do that." And well, I was half right. For all intents and purposes I did quit collecting. I didn't sell my cards. Or look at my cards. Or even think about my cards, even though they occupy a pretty decent chunk of my basement.
In fact, the pile of cards that I showed off in my last blog post some two years ago from the 2018 National stayed piled up, totally untouched, unsorted, un-anythinged for about a year and a half until I finally rounded up all the stray stacks of cards into a monster box.
The why is complicated. More complicated than it's worth getting into in a blog post on a long-dead blog. But the long and short of it that I was burnt out on collecting, and on my 20's. I was sick of the cookie cutter products that card companies were releasing, had fallen out of love with my hometown baseball team, and dealing with all the real-life shit that hits you like a ton of bricks when you move into your 30's.
I honestly would have been perfectly content to leave it all in the rear view mirror quite a while longer. After all, it's not like there has been any shortage of time to think about busting out the old collection over the past few months. But life sometimes has its own ideas.
I was scrolling through Facebook (something I try to avoid these days) a couple of weeks ago, when I saw a post to the Team Collector's group I've been in for almost a decade asking if the Pirates collector was still active. That's me. I've been scarce from a group I considered friends. People who I've traveled far and wide to get together with, share meals, catch a ball game, all from a shared love of cards. And I pretty much dropped off the face of the planet, save for the occasional cards I'd send out or a quick hello. But the gang was nice enough to keep my spot. Or maybe it's just even harder than ever to find a Pirates collector these days...
Either way, I started thinking about collecting. Not just the cards, but all the other stuff that comes with it. The friendships, the interactions. The best part of this blog was never about showing off my cards, but finding content that I knew my regular commenters would enjoy. Reading posts on other blogs, and commenting back and forth. And even the occasional unexpected package from a reader.
I burnt myself out on collecting. I was obsessively trying to add more and more Pirate cards, and went down a rabbit hole with custom cards that was an arts and crafts project on steroids. And with cards pouring in, cataloging and organizing my collection became its own anxiety inducing task. Hence those NSCC cards that sat for 18 months.
I realized I missed collecting, and I missed the community that comes with it. My patience was tested early. I came across a Jack Wilson card I didn't have, put in what I thought was an "win at all costs bid." About double what the card would have sold for 2 years ago. I was the third highest bidder. That was almost enough to have me throw in the towel and leave my binders be.
But I think I can truthfully say that I'm back collecting, and having fun doing it again. I'm working on getting my collection logged on TCDB (username battlinbucs, if you want to be pals). I'm finding it to be a much better site than it was 2 years ago. I've been working on building out my Pirate haves/wants, and logging some of my oddball side collections as well. I'm finding it so much faster and less stressful than my old system of multiple spreadsheets.
So I guess this is Phase II of dipping my toes back into the cardboard waters. I've missed writing. When I started this blog, it's what I thought I'd be doing as a career (not penning the Great American Novel or anything). I've carved out a career that I'm very happy with and proud of, but some weeks the most writing I do is the odd email.
Who knows if anyone will read this. I think blogs were passe when I started in 2013. But it's a form that works for me. I tried Twitter a few years ago, but I think my attention span is too long and my appetite for drama too short to be able to handle that community. So in the mean time, who wants to get me caught up on the last two years worth of cardboard? So far I've figured out that a) there is zero product in stores b) prices online are laughably high and c) I will do whatever it takes to own every Lloyd McClendon card from 2020 Archives I possibly can.