Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Sick Stick

So I recently engaged in another trade with Robert from $30 a Week Habit. It was a small one where I wanted to get another J.T. Miller base card from 2017-18 Upper Deck Hockey Series 1 for my team set (since my copy has his autograph on it). But Robert, being the trader that he is, sent along a bonus item. Two of them actually.

One of them was this Masked Men 5 insert of Mike Richter. Richter is a goaltending legend who played his whole NHL career with the Rangers. Richter was an integral part of the 1994 Rangers during their Stanley Cup run, and put up new team milestones and team records with the Rangers. Richter's since retired and had his jersey number retired by the Rangers. He remains a fan favorite to this day. Naturally you'd think he'd be the best goaltender in Rangers history right? Well here in 2018 that's up for debate. Who could possibly go up against someone like Richter you ask? Well that man was also in the package from Robert.

The King himself, Henrik Lundqvist.
Lundqvist has basically carried the Rangers on his back for his entire career. Even a total newbie like me can see why everyone calls him a brick wall. Earlier this month Lundqvist recorded back to back 50-save games (gotta love that Rangers defense), and to date Lundqvist has broken a lot of the records and milestones Richter put up involving counting stats. With advanced stats coming into hockey there's probably a smarter way to compare the two, but I barely know the standard stats and I'll leave that debate up to people who actually know hockey.

What I do know is that between Richter and Lundqvist, the Rangers have had an embarrassment of riches at the between the posts for basically the last three (at least) decades. Kind of similar to the Yankees and their catchers (although it took a lot longer for the baton to get from Jorge Posada to Gary Sanchez than for Richter-to-Lundqvist).

I also really dig that stick relic in the upper window. It's super cool. The bottom window has your standard jersey cloth relic, which is also cool.

It could just be the novelty/newness factor that may (read: will) ware off in a bit, or it could also just be because Robert sent me a dual relic card of Henrik fucking Lundqvist(!), but I was pretty hyped when I asked me if I wanted this lol. I owe him big time. He does have an Ichiro collection now, and I do have friends in Japan, so...

Anyway between this and the Filip Chytil relic I got from Stealing Home, and the J.T. Miller jersey auto I picked up, I don't think it's a stretch to say that my Rangers relic card collection is FAR superior to my Yankees relic card ensemble. At least in terms of overall quality since every card packs a wallop.

Seriously, you could hear the fart noise sound effect the minute you saw this sad collection of cards. Then again, relics and game used equipment is not my forte.

What's not sad is the completed (again) Rangers team set from Series 1. Woof!

So big thanks to Robert for the awesome cards. Expect a mini-Zapping in the meantime as I wait for more pieces for the main Zapping.

And as always thank you (the readers) for stopping by.

Take care :).

Monday, March 19, 2018

Blogging vs Tweeting

So in my last post I included a small blurb about how interacting with social media isn't quite the same as blogging. Keen readers like Night Owl and Tony caught onto that and agreed. Today I thought I'd expand on that a little more. Weighing the pros and cons of both and comparing the apples and oranges. Not see which is better, but to show that both have different roles to play.

Now when I say Twitter, you could really replace it with any of the big social media sites. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Discord, LinkedIn, Mixi, Myspace, VK, it's all the same. In the end they're all sites that save and sell your personal info and use big data to try to manipulate you. But we use them anyway because you might as well be cast off on an island if you don't have a social media presence in this day and age.

Before we start, let me just say that these are based on my experiences with both being a blogger and a Tweeter. They'll probably differ from yours depending on how different your usage of your blog and Twitter accounts are from the way I use mine.

Unrelated Scan 1

So I think we should start with things that blogging and Twitter have in common, as well as what they don't have in common and see where things go from there.

The first thing they have in common is that both offer you a platform (of sorts) to say whatever is on your mind. Want to blog/tweet about baseball card backs of certain obscure cards? Sure, go ahead. Want to blog/tweet about things that have absolutely nothing to do with baseball or sports? Sounds great.

That said this brings up the first major difference between the two. Exactly how much you can say. I don't mean that as in you need to censor what you want to say (although you should really think through what you put out there on the internet, it's your inescapable permanent record). I mean it in terms of literal limits placed on Twitter not allowing you to use more than 280 characters.

With Blogger or WordPress of whatever the fuck people want to use, anyone could write entire novels about any topic they want. With Twitter you have to keep it to 280 characters. Of course you could create long Twitter threads but if it exceeds more than three chain tweets, the average Twitter user will tune out and think you're a moron for not just starting a blog.

This is why I think Twitter is better suited for hot takes and mundane thoughts that don't have enough meat on them to sustain their own blogpost. I mean I'm sure a lot of us with both blogs and Twitter accounts have had random thoughts pop up in our heads related to baseball cards, but we know that they could never carry an entire blogpost so we just put them up on Twitter. Granted maybe some of those thoughts get incorporated later into bigger blogposts, but the point remains that Twitter is better suited for being a wall where you fling shit against it and see what sticks. Whatever sticks may end up being able to beef up another blogpost.

Unrelated Scan 2

Another thing that blogging and Twitter have in common is that you can be a part of some really nice small communities.

We all have our own little collecting hub here on our corner of the blogosphere. Chances are we all have something similar on Twitter. The internet connects us to so many people now that it's very scary and overwhelming, but it can be fun if everyone plays their proper part. I think the blogging community here is as close as it's going to get to a good online community comprised of strangers with only one hobby being what connects them. It's not perfect but compared to the online card communities I've seen on message boards, yeah this is as good as it gets lol.

With Twitter, chances are the community will be a bit bigger. After all it's one of the biggest social media sites ever and not every collector out there has a card blog. That has it's benefits as you have more people to talk to and engage in conversation with (maybe trade/buy/sell some stuff you all need). But it also has its drawbacks because you're going to be dealing with a lot more people who only have a Twitter profile as a frame of reference. Can you really trust that person? Not just with your cards but with your address and personal info in general? This is where you have to use your brain, put on your adult pants and make adult decisions about who to interact with and who to stay far far away from.

Although once that's done you usually find yourself in part of a little clique. Whether it's with fellow collectors or just people who happen to share your interests. For reference, the people I interact with on Twitter the most are people who don't collect baseball cards at all. When I do interact with fellow traders it's usually about things that aren't cards at all (just ask Stealing Home). Card related matters usually either just end up being private Twitter DMs or just tweets telling people that their packages arrived so they don't have to worry.

Or at least that's just me. I don't use Twitter as a hub for my collecting life (that's what this blog is for). I use Twitter to keep up with #LuisTorrens news, Yankees news, news in general (I'm not proud of that but Facebook's algorithms keep screwing up my timeline) and various other things that interest me. Hence why my own Twitter feed is littered with garbage Yankees takes and Dark Magician Girl gifs more often than anything card related.

Unrelated Scan 3

I'm sure you folks can come up with even more similarities and differences between blogging and engaging in social media. For me it all just comes down to how much you can get out there with every push of a Publish/Tweet button, and the type of company you'll find yourself in.

Got any of your own stories about blogging and tweeting? Why not write a post or tweet about it?

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Friday, March 16, 2018

Why I Blog

Recently there's been a bat blog around spreading everywhere where you discuss what your current collecting projects are/what you collect. Well here on this blog, we opt for blog arounds that were created long before this blog was even around (or even before the writer behind this blog even cared about baseball cards) and get around to current blog bat around topics a good nine years after they're published.

So today I figure I'd tackle an old Bat Blog Around Night Owl did back in 2009, about why one blogs. I'd recommend you read Night Owl's post for yourself as it's very good (NO does write for a living after all).

I suppose for me I should begin with why I started to blog back on the very last day of 2013.

Before my blog was launched, I was an anonymous collector who was just known for sending people Sega Card Gens. I had just come back to the states and I had yet to really decide what kind of collector I was. Obviously I had a thing for prospects but the Yankees farmsystem back then wasn't teeming with fun prospects like it is today. So instead I was opting for entire teams like the Staten Island Yankees and I was actually trying to go the super-vintage (downright ancient actually) route too by building the T-206 NY Highlanders team set at one point.

I figured that I'd go after a reclamation project with a high ceiling (Dellin Betances) and an injury prone catcher (Francisco Cervelli) in the hopes of building very solid player collections. By the time I had decided to pull the trigger and press the "Publish" button, I was also thinking that I could set up this blog to serve as a log for my potential super collection of a certain up-and-coming Yankees stud I met in the minors who could really be the first prospect I go all in on as a supercollector.

Eric Jagielo.

Obviously none of that ever happened.

Even though Jagielo was the subject of my first ever blogpost, that PC never went anywhere and by the end of the 2014 I dropped him along with Betances who blossomed into a star after his bullpen transition proved successful, and Cervelli who eventually got traded to Pittsburgh.

Instead this blog turned into a hub for what eventually did turn into the supercollection that I would build for years to come...

...mi Luis Torrens colectión!

And I've never looked back since.

Along the way I've adopted new players and teams that I collect. Some have been dropped (remember Takuya Kinoshita? lol), while others just remain dormant due to the sheer lack of cards (#SummerOfThairo), but through it all I've had a solid core of people at the center of it.

This blog has also kept track of my TTM's, IP's and whatever I decide to do on a whim (my Clone Breaks, New York Rangers, occasional forays into Yu-Gi-Oh!, etc...). Which is an added bonus.

So that's why I started blogging and why I keep blogging. To serve as a log of where I've been as a collector and where I'm going.

I also keep blogging because this blog really connects me to all of the collecting friends I've made over the years. My blogroll here is where I catch up on all of the posts I've missed out during the day. Sure a lot of you can find me and contact me on Twitter or email but it's not quite the same.

I'm gonna go on a tangent here but I've found that there is an added benefit of blogging where people will think of you/your blog based on who you bring up the most, and you in turn also think of players that you know other bloggers like. Admit it, you all thought of a certain someone when you saw that card above. I know I sure did.

Even if the bloggers aren't outright super player collectors, they still can find themselves being represented by who they've said on record to be their favorite. The more obscure the better. Off the top of my head I can recall the following...

P-Town Tom - Dan Vogelbach
Night Owl Cards - Ron Cey
The Lost Collector - Tino Martinez
Bob Walk The Plank - Jason Bay
San Jose Fuji - Kurt Suzuki
JayBarkerFan- Josh Willingham
Collecting Cutch - Andrew McCutchen
Drew - Luis Severino
Once A Cub - Tony Campana
Dan - Paul Goldschmidt
Ryan G. - Buck Farmer
Brian - Kennys Vargas
The Junior Junkie - Ken Griffey Jr.
Off Hiatus Tony - Robin Yount
Dutch Card Guy - Bert Blyleven
Play At The Plate - Ivan Rodriguez
My Cardboard Habit - Matt Harrison
Metallattorney - Jason Varitek
Raz - R.A. Dickey
Tim Wallach Collector - Tim Wallach
Johnny - John Elway
Kin - Russ Davis
$30 A Week - Joe Sakic
DefGav - Hoyt Wilhelm
Nick The Dime Box King - Hoyt Wilhelm (CHC era)
JediJeff - Hoyt Wilhelm (CWS era)
ARPSmith - Hoyt Wilhelm (NYG era)
Snorting Bull - Hoyt Wilhelm (STL era)
Tony Burbs - Hoyt Wilhelm (CHC era)
Stealing Home - Hoyt Wilhelm (LAD era)
Angels In Order - Hoyt Wilhelm (LAA era)
The Card Papoy - Hoyt Wilhelm
Nachos Grande - Hoyt Wilhelm
Mark Hoyle - Hoyt Wilhelm
Most other bloggers - Hoyt Wilhelm

This is helpful and can add a bit of a boost to our collecting lives for when we come across cards of these players.

Do the collectors need it? "Probably not but it's cheap/I already own it so I can fill up their next trade package!" This has often saved many a bargain bin dive or pack for me where normally it'd just be a waste of time/money but it offered me filler cards I can send to whoever I know is a fan of the person on it.

Dupes are a first world problem in the hobby for sure but when it's your favorite player then it's also one of those "good problems to have" where you're going to appreciate every copy that you receive for free. If you won't take my word for it, ask any of the bloggers I mentioned above. Even the ones who say they're not hardcore player collectors.

This face of the blogchise effect has helped me more than I could've ever imagined.

This purple On Fire diecut auto came to me from Gavin over at Baseball Card Breakdown. Get this, the card is limited to 25 copies (don't worry it's not he X-Mas card or else it'd be back in Gav's hands). Still, 25!

This On Fire printing plate came to me from The Card Papoy. From France! A plate! A 1/1!

This black On Fire diecut auto came to me from Bob Walk The Plank. This one is numbered to five. FIVE!

An Update printing plate from Wes aka JayBarkerFan from Willinghammer Rising. Another 1/1!

And the very first Luis Torrens autograph card I had ever obtained, courtesy of Raz of the Raz Card File. Little did either of us know that this blog would be changed forever shortly after this became mine.

Along with countless other cool items I've received over the years. Torrens or otherwise.

I don't blog to get stuff, but this community is as nice as it is cozy and with a surprisingly wide net cast all over the country world, there's a good chance someone is going to find something and offer a big helping hand. In turn I also try to do the best I could to make an impact on everyone else's collections. Even though I usually end up failing miserably in the process.

So a quick and long overdue thanks to all of you you've made blogging and collecting in general a much funner experience than I could've hoped for. One way or another, you're all a reason why I keep blogging.

It's been a fun four years to date, here's to many more in the future.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).