Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Loser - Foiled Again

Once again, the Baseball Card Essay gods have frowned upon me. I submitted my second essay to Sports Card Fun a few weeks ago in their latest contest. The winning essay would go on to receive a hobby box of 2008 Bowman. Needless to say, I’ll be “purchasing” my next box of 2008 Bowman.

At first, my wife and I were both a little ticked that I didn’t win in the second submission. We both felt that I had a really good shot with this essay. After calming down a little I read the winning essay. Problem solved.

The winner was Patricia, which many of you know from Dinged Corners. With her permission I plan to post her essay to TNB as well. I’m not a sore loser by any means but I am a really big fan of winning. When I submit something like this I put 100% of myself into it. It’s rare that I walk away having lost yet feeling comfortable with it.

Patricia’s essay was good enough to make me glad that I didn’t win. Her essay is an outstanding piece of work and I congratulate her on winning the contest. As always, I post this without pictures as it was originally submitted as such.

Which ONE do you prefer, a good baseball card show or a good baseball card shop? Why?

You would think that being in a major metropolitan area such as Jackson, MS would give to multiple options when it comes to Trade Shows and Sport Collectibles Storefronts. Unfortunately for me and the 180,000 some odd people located here, this is not the case. However, fortunately for us there is one option for both.

The first is a trade show that takes place roughly every two to three months. A gentleman by the name of Roland Belcher hosts a trade show, which is advertised in Beckett, in Pearl, MS. The show is held in a small room of a local hotel, roughly 15X15, and is packed wall to wall with a really good selection of boxes, both new and old, and some great singles.

The second option is a small Sports Card Shop located in Clinton, MS. The shop is ran by a gentleman by the name of Jerry. Jerry and I have become good friends over the last year as I stop in at least once a week to see what’s new. Even if I’m not “buying” anything at the time I always walk out with something. I never leave empty handed unless I’m completely broke. Although the few hobby boxes he carries usually don’t stay on the shelf long, he has a pretty good selection of singles on hand.

It’s hard to have an opinion about a question like this when you have so little to choose from in your area. It would have been easier to answer 8 years ago when I first came to Jackson. At that time, there were at least 5 shops that I remember. The various malls and hotels hosted a show almost every weekend. Gone are the days, I suppose.

So which do I prefer? My answer leans heavily towards that which I feel will help to prolong the hobby as we know it (or knew it, as some might say.) My choice would be, hands down, a good baseball card shop. I will take “local homegrown” over “traveling salesman” any day.

I can’t tell you how many times I got ripped off as a kid at trade shows. Unscrupulous dealers, counterfeit cards, prospectors, pack searchers, you name it, trade shows have it. You may get taken and never see it coming. Let Jerry try to swindle me and I know how to find him. Let a dealer from another state get away with a “steal” and you can chalk it up to experience.

Card Shops allow you to build a local community of collector’s in a way that Trade Shows do not. You get to know your shop’s dealer and vice versa. You trust them and they trust you. Neither is trying to get over on the other. There’s too much at stake for both parties. Trade shows aren’t quite the same. I have been to most all of Mr. Belcher’s shows over the last year and the dealers never seem to remember me. Even though I always come in with my loud-mouthed, 4 year old, t-ball star who wants ONLY more vintage Ninja Turtle Cards.

Although I love any and every opportunity to look at, talk about, and purchase sports cards, I will never be much more than a consumer to the dealer at a trade show. When I hit the door in Clinton, MS, the bell rings, the dealer hops up from his seat watching SportsCenter, and heads to the counter. No matter what happens before I head back out the door to go home, you can always count on, “See ya next week, Jason?” to be followed with “You bet, Jerry!”

Most days, that’s more important to me than the cards could ever be.


Mario A. said...

June 19, 2008 at 6:07 am e

A bittersweet moment but I was glad to see them open their first hobby box!

jv said...

June 19, 2008 at 7:10 am e

Did they do a video box break? I must have missed it. I have contacted Patricia and she is happy to let TNB feature her essay. I’ll have it up tonight after work…