Saturday, January 27, 2018

2017 the year of meh

The French have this great word.  It's called ennui.  It's also now an English word as the English language is not above stealing words from other languages to express what needs expressing.

en·nui  (ŏn-wē, ŏn wē)
Listlessness and dissatisfaction resulting from lack of interest; boredom: 
[French, from Old French enui, from ennuyer, to annoy, bore; see ANNOY.]

That one word sums up my current mood about the sports card hobby.  As a matter of fact it sums up the whole 2017 for me.  I don't remember going into the year feeling this way, but as I sit writing this it sure hasn't left.

2017 was a big year of change for me.  Nothing as large as the birth of my son, or getting a new job, but there were definitely some big events.  Late in 2016 we put our house on the market and didn't get any takers so we hunkered down for the winter and in early spring 2017 put it back on the market.  We also took a nice trip to visit my family in Wisconsin, which turned sour when I had a gallbladder attack, and that eventually culminated in me having it removed.  But we sold our house and in June 2017 the stars aligned and we closed on our old house and upgraded to a much larger house.  The best upgrade was going from a small 2 bedroom house with one toilet to a 4 bedroom with 3 toilets.

What resulted was that my awesome wife let me take over one of the spare bedrooms for an office/man-cave/studio.  It also allowed me to bring everything out of storage and spread out.  And wow I've got a lot of crap.

 My first collecting passion was comic books, which started around 1985-86 and it's always been there.  I started dabbling in trading cards around the same time with few packs of Topps baseball and Garbage Pail Kids.  1987 is the year I consider my start as a sports card collector as the 87 Topps set was the first one I can remember trying to put together.  So 2017 marked my 30 year anniversary as a card collector.  And as I look around the man cave all I can think about is I have so much I don't really even want taking up space.

I'm getting a little off topic, but I am coming to a point, maybe.  I think over the course of one's collecting experience we evolve.  As with any endeavour as we learn and experiment our focus and tastes change.  I've always kind of considered myself a three pronged collector: a set collector, a player collector, and a team collector.  And as the year's have gone on I still consider myself all three.  I've always enjoyed the challenge of putting together a base set, I have my two main sports teams I focus on, the Brewers and the Packers, and I have a handful of players I focus on, most of which fall within those two teams, but I do also collect Frank Thomas and Reggie Jackson and I have spots for the Milwaukee Braves, especially Hank Aaron.  In 2015 when Topps lost their license for the NFL and we now had complete exclusivity of the 4 big sports leagues I really started to see my collecting focus and habits change.  Panini puts in a good effort to make a few baseball products to compete with Topps, but without the logos or even correct color schemes it's just not the same.  And I've had no desire to buy any football products this year.  I miss having a nice flagship set.  Sure there's Score, but that comes out before the draft.  There's Donruss, but I just feel the set is incomplete and way too small.  After 8 years of Topps exclusivity I feel the same way about baseball.  Topps continues to put out a decent flagship product, but honestly the last couple year's just feel phoned in.  The shift to hit driven products has been a big reason I've been pushed away from the market.  As a player, team, and set collector, these higher end products that offer few cards, but guarantee autographs and relics are not appealing to me.  Especially as a fan who's baseball team is always underrepresented.  These hit driven products really turn me off because I know if I spend 50, 100, 250, 25,000 dollars on the product there is very little chance I'd hit something I'd want to add to my collection and I'd only be opening the product to resell and you seldom make your money back.

I've found that I'm buying less and less product and really being drawn to just buying the few cards I want from ebay or getting cards through trades or sifting through the dime and quarter boxes looking for cards I want.  Last year the only set I tried to put together was Topps Flagship baseball.  I still haven't finished it.  I didn't even buy a pack of update.  I've attempted no football sets in the last 2 years and except for a couple random packs here or there and haven't bought much.   I've found my collecting evolving away from set collecting.  I've decided I'm not going to try to put together the 2018 Topps flagship set. I'll either pick up a hand collated set later in the year or a factory set and save myself a couple hundred bucks.

Before my son was born I had made a large effort to cataloged, sort, and store my Brewers team sets.  That got put on hold when I had to give up the spare room for my son and mothball most of my collection.  I still tried to pick up team sets for all the major releases, but just keeping up with what was coming out was about all I could do.  It's the same with my player collections.  I have 5 major player collections, Brett Favre, Reggie Jackson, Rollie Fingers, Frank Thomas, and Robin Yount.  My primary PC would be my Yount collection.  And it's the only one in the last 4 years that I've really bothered to try and add to.

So what's the point CB, who cares?  As I sit in my melancholy at the being of 2018 I decided since my collection was at my finger tips I'd do something about it.  I've been a member over at the Trading Card Database since 2009, but never used the collecting tools the site offered.  I've been busying adding images, updating and editing checklists, but never bothered to enter my collection into the site.  So I've slowly started working through my team and player collections, logging which cards I have, setting aside any cards that don't have images uploaded to the site and scanning and adding them.  Slow, very slow I started to come out of my collecting funk, but the evolution still remains.  And as I sit and write this I'm still contemplating what the new year will bring.

If you've read this far down and are still with me you are a saint.  The last couple years I've really slacked off on this blog.  2016 marked a low point for me in effort with last year not far behind.  I'm hoping maybe to find some inspiration this year to maybe make a little more effort in posting on the blog, and not just contest and trade posts, but actually taking the time to come up with a few good posts.  Posts worthy of the bloggers I read 10 years ago that eventually spurred me to start my own blog(s).  We'll see, I've said this before.  Thanks for reading and letting me rant.

CB out.


  1. I'm cataloging my stuff too right now knowing I'm moving in summer of '19. I haven't tried to put together a set in years for much of the same reasons though I'm thinking of taking a run at an Opening Day master set this year through ol' fashion pack buying and trading.

    I'm looking forward to the season. The NL Central is going to be tough this year!

  2. I thought the same thing about the majority of 2017 releases. Just not that inspiring, and not that great. It's happened before- I feel the same way about the releases of 2000 and 2001, and I'm right there with you on the hit stuff.

    For me, the year was saved by taking up hockey. That was great...and since there's literally 100 years to collect, there's plenty of stuff to keep me interested.

    By the way, you can't say you have a lot of crap until you have to get two storage units to store I have :)

  3. I haven't truly enjoyed my collection until last July. While I still can't devote what I feel is enough time (job...) the cards are beginning to reflect who I am as a collector today. I'm moving a lot of players out of my collection, adding vintage, buying less new product. Your Topps assessment is spot on. Perhaps I can begin cataloging by the end of this summer. Find the joy where you can and let the rest go - my motto lately.

  4. I was right there in the "Meh-world" due to 2017. And, humorously enough, I'm starting to get a smile back on my face by going through my Brewers collection -- all the duplicates and everything -- and entering them into The Trading Card Database. I'm going to scan as many of those police sets that I can that are not in the system already and otherwise get my whole Brewer and Milwaukee Brave collection on there.

    I'm right there with you on the state of the hobby. Hopefully we'll be able to rediscover the fun.

  5. It seems this was a real theme around the blogs this year. There’s been a lot of refocusing going on, including on my end. My purchasing of new product has slowed down to small samples of a few sets. I might be able to help out on the 2016 flagship build though.

  6. I had decided late last year to stop collecting every set I liked. You see, I too am a 3fer. Team set builder, set builder, and a PC guy. All on a large scale. One of my goals for this year is to break apart the sets that are not the main flagship of whatever brand with a few exceptions. And update my own catalog for my PC guys which is so time consuming. But I am making headway on that. I wasn't melancholy with my collection, but realized I had way too much when they are covering 25% of my floor space, all of the closet space, and 15% of my really big garage. Oh yeah, solid shelving collapsing. yeah I lightening the load so to speak. And here is the positive note: 1 month into this year I am making a lot of headway, and I'm already starting to feel better about my collection and it's future (I figure it will take me 2 years to clean up). I remember you being really excited when I sent you those GPK cards. Can't wait to see you get back there soon, from one Yount collector to another. :)

  7. Gonna wear my "Meh" hoodie tomorrow in your honor. Hope this year is much less "Meh".

  8. I hope the companies read your post and our comments. I'm just composing a post about how 2018 is gonna be a slow year (again) too. Exclusives and unimaginative designs and insert concepts are dragging the hobby down.

    I can't quit collecting ~ it's too engrained in my blood, but I can see that this is a chance to whittle down the want lists from previous years and consolidate a little on what (we) have.