Friday, September 12, 2008

New Kids On The Block

Getting into any hobby or area of expertise is always a challenge. Then, even after you have endured the training phase, there are always new things to learn. This can be especially frustrating if the training part of the new venture has left you with a bunch of stuff that is irrelevant to a lot of the elders. I think that the hobby we have chosen falls under this description. I get emails EVERY DAY from new people in the hobby, some who are just starting, some who are coming back after a long absence, and the first words are always to the tune of "wow, I had no idea it was like this..." You know what? I agree with the feeling. Its is shocking that there could be this much wrong with a hobby that has been around for over 100 years. Granted, around 1996 a lot of things changed with the first jersey card, maybe even 1993 with Finest, or 1989 with the creation of UD, but that doesnt mean that the widespread dumbfoundedness of new people is any less tolerable.

Just to give you an idea of what I am talking about, here is what happened to me, and I am sure a lot of people who returned to the hobby did the exact same thing:

Around 2001, I was about to go off to college when I discovered an old shoe box filled with Shawn Kemp cards. He was my favorite player growing up, and I had everything of his - even the fugly shoes. I was curious what they were worth, so naturally, I picked up a Beckett from the newsstand and started my hour long quest with a calculator. After coming up with a number I went to eBay, because I knew that TWGM was the place to sell this kind of stuff. Plus, I needed a ton of money, and the Beckett gave me considerable hope. What I saw on eBay was fucking appauling, as the number from Beckett was off by 95% in the WRONG direction. I couldnt understand how something could be 95% wrong and still be considered a price guide.

Either way, I didnt think much of it, and took my cards to the local shop to see if they wanted them. I knew that I didnt, and I knew I wouldnt get much, but I thought I would get some. I got 5 bucks, about 1/100th of what I had spent as a kid! With that, I took the money and bought a pack of cards and a burger. It was a tasty burger and the pack contained a Mark McGwire jersey card, much to my happiness. I had heard about recent revelations in the industry, so I thought I had something...

...I didnt. But I was hooked. Over the next few years, I casually bought stuff here and there, mostly with the local players. Due to limited funds, I didnt have much, but it was still cool to have autographs of my favorite players. My favorites were the Sweet Spot autos, because I thought is was beyond a great idea that they had put the leather of a ball in the card and got it signed.

Soon after I bought my first Sweet Spot auto, I bought my first sweet spot box. I dont think I could have had a worse pull. Something like Geoff Blum or some shit like that. Beckett had it at 25 bucks, but that was still much less than I had paid for the box. So, I went on ebay, sold my card for 2 dollars - yes, that is correct - and stumbled across something that I had never seen before, hot packs. I thought, why buy the whole box when you can buy the hit for less? I bought three and waited for my packages. When they came, the packs looked weird, but I didnt know anything, so I opened them. I got a Jacque Jones, and two pitchers I had never heard of. Needless to say I was crushed, so I started searching for info on who these people were. I came across the BMB, and low and behold, I was litterally lynched for my purchase. No one understood how I could be so stupid.

NOTE: Ill admit, I constantly write about these stupid people on here a lot, and just to let you know, I was one of them. Call me a reformed Joe Collector (the term is still retired, but it fit here).

After a while, I learned about fake patches, trimmed cards, grading tendencies, and all the other scams in the hobby. Most importantly, I learned about the biggest scam artists in the industry (Beckett), and I didnt feel so bad about before.

This process to get to an acceptable amount of understanding took about a year and a half. Thats a long fucking time, people. Why do you think it takes that long to get aquainted with how the business works? Thats easy, as people are presented with tons of information they believe to be correct, when in reality, it is a shell of what the actual info is. People develop expectations based on what they consider trusted news sources, and those expectations are crap if your news sources are Beckett, Tuff Stuff and the Mainstream media. If you think I have a superiority complex because I have this blog, you are dead wrong. This blog provides expectations that are closer to what they should be, but it is definitely not all of what it should be.

Let me tell you, I know I am overly critical of stupid people, and Im sure some of them dont deserve it. Im sure some of them are new just like I was, and I am sorry to those people, especially if I savaged you and you didnt know better. Yet, I know that for every new person that didnt deserve it, there were four that did - so a continued "fuck you" to them.

Lastly, if you are new and you are reading this blog, dont hesitate to contact me via the link on the right. Also, be sure to check out the following posts, as they explain a lot of the problems your expectations may not have included. That is the most important thing - expand those horizons of thinking. Remember, correct information is always at a premium, and will be worth more than any of your prized cards.

The First Post Here and Explanation Of The Exquisite Scam
Say no to MOJO
The First Explanation of Why Book Value is a Scam
My Take on Jersey Cards
A Few Comments On Busting Wax
The Grading Service vs The Grading Business
The Overwhelmingly Craptastic Printing Plate
A Comment On Ebay Tendencies
More Book Value Bullshit
Joe Collector Makes His First Appearance
Five Reasons Why The Hobby Is Good And Why It Is Fucking Awful
My Take on Hot Packs and Pack Searchers
What to Expect When Watching Breaks on YouTube
Ebay 1/1s are the Devil
My Beckett War Cry - If You Read One Thing, Read This
Why Manufactured Letters Suck
Maybe a Good Way To Approach A Card Show?


  1. I feel like SCU has saved me a lot of heartache. I found it early on in my return while surfing the interwebs trying to find out what the hell a "refractor" was. Who knows what kind of stupid crap I would have done/ would be doing if I hadn't run across this blog.

    This is no exageration: I'm trying to get all of my cards entered into an access database. Without SCU I would probably be doing it at a snails pace because I would be sitting there with my Beckett and entering in the "value" of every card. That's exactly the type of thing that I would do. My god, what a giant waste of time that would have been.

    So, thanks Gellman.

  2. Great post.

    I hate the fact that the 5 monster boxes full of my baseball heroes from the 80's and early 90's that is taking up precious storage space in my already too small home would probably get me $50 if I'm lucky....even though I probably spent every dime I earned as a kid on them.

    I won't even buy wax boxes anymore because I don't want to store the "base cards".