Guys and Gals, I’m sorry to be so lazy on new posts the last few days but my back is killing me. I don’t think I’ve ever been this sunburned. To those of you who may have read this post on WaxHeaven some time ago, again, I apologize. Until today I had assumed that everyone that had come to this site had made it here via Mario’s blog. After realizing I could view some very detailed statistics via WordPress Dashboard I found that many of you have found my site through various other sources. Regardless of how you got here, I appreciate your continued visits to the site.
To those of you who missed this original posting on WaxHeaven, I would like to duplicate it here for you tonight. I am posting it without photos as it was originally written without them. I have a second essay submitted for the newest contest at Sports Card Fun. As soon as the contest ends, I’ll have it posted along with a list of the winners. Enjoy!
The following is an essay that I submitted to www.sportscardfun.com for a contest. The Grand Prize was a hobby box of 2008 Topps. I placed second. Second Place prize was a pat on the back. I think I failed to place first because of the publicity it received at WaxHeaven prior to the contests end. My wife thinks it’s because I didn’t answer the question in the truest sense. You be the judge…
The essay question reads, “Why Should Kids Start Collecting?”
“As much as I hate to admit it, I don’t anticipate winning the box of 2008 Topps. It’s not that I can’t effectively and articulately pen a response to the question at hand. I can. It’s not that I don’t want the box. Trust me, I do. It’s that my answer is controversial and may not be exactly what you’re looking for.
Kids shouldn’t start collecting baseball cards. They currently do not have a single reason to. And I don’t think it has as much to do with the competition for their attention as some might think. The Sports Card industry has become a convoluted mess of inserts, game used memorabilia, and endless variations. It is no longer a hobby for children in much the same way that video games are no longer made for 8 year olds.
The “targeted demographic” for sports collectibles are those guys that started out buying up Donruss with their allowance. Those that can afford the price structure that the hobby has evolved into. Who’s purchasing the new ultra violent PS3 games? Guys that used to play Super Mario while listening to New Kids on the Block. The kids that made these industries boom are all grown up now.
This creates another question. What made ME start collecting baseball cards as a kid? I have to answer that by saying that I know what made me, until recently, stop collecting. Price. Undecipherable variations. Bloated sets that made it impossible to “collect”. Professional grading. The magic has been lost in the marketing.
I am 28 years old with extensive computer knowledge. I have subscriptions to all of the major price guides to include Beckett’s Online Database. Yet, I have wrestled for over 6 months to figure out which variation I have of a 2007 Topps Co-Signers Hanley Ramirez. I pulled a Babe Ruth 2007 Goudey Immortals Jersey out of a retail box. My wife didn’t want me touching the jersey. When did the monetary value become more important than running my finger across a jersey worn by the Bambino? I attempted to copy and paste a list of all the Manny Ramirez cards in existence from Beckett into a spreadsheet. My computer crashed four times before I gave up. How could I even begin to create a master set of all of Manny’s stuff when 25% or more are all “One-of-Ones”
Why is there only one 2007 Upper Deck First Edition, yet you have Elements, Future Stars, Premier, Sp Rookie, Spectrum, UD Masterpieces, UD Black, etc. Tell me who that’s geared towards? Look at the pricing for these packs and then show me a kid that wants to spend their only $10 bucks for the week to get 4 cards. Card Manufacturers need to change their intent, not their strategy.
Finally, what made me start back? Almost a year ago, I opened my old shoe boxes to see what I could sell on eBay. As I sorted through the cards “one last time” I was amazed that I could identify the players on each card before I ever saw the name. Guys like Hensley Meulens, Bo Diaz, Luis Polonia, Jeff Blauser, Phil Plantier, etc. That is what made me come back home.
I don’t know that the industry, based on the question, can be fixed. I do know however, a 4 year old t-ball star sleeping soundly in his bed right now that is going to help me put together a hand collated set of ragged 1990 Topps sometime in the near future. I won’t have to market anything. I won’t have a strategy for convincing him of how fun it can be. I do have faith that he’ll understand the enthusiasm and the magic in my eyes. I trust that my son will hear the faint whisper of a hobby tradition long gone.”
I’m kinda glad I didn’t win the first one. I would rather have a box of 2008 Bowman for this contest than the Topps for the first one.
Actually, since I’m pretty useless at posting right now, I think Connor and I will go and start that 1990 Topps Set. I have enough commons so we might just build one apiece…
Have a good night, everyone!