Grand Cards: 2010 State of the Blog Address

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2010 State of the Blog Address

I had no intentions of doing a comprehensive “State of the Blog,” so to speak, but with the State of the Union on tonight and the fact that there has been quite the shakeup in this collector’s world over the last few months, I felt it would be appropriate. Yes, I know that I can be long-winded at times so I will try to restrain myself here. [ed. note: to no avail, having just finished writing]

The State of the Blog is strong. I started writing here about one year and one month ago with a simple mission: to talk about my experience as a Curtis Granderson and Detroit Tigers collector. What has surprised me is that many of you have chosen to listen. In the last year I have had over 20,000 visits here, from over 7,800 different visitors. What’s more, over 60% of the people who have stumbled across this blog have decided to come back more than once. In fact, my visitor distribution stats show something rather awesome—yes, 38% of people have visited only once. 5% of people have visited just twice. But if you come back a third time, odds are you’ll become a repeat visitor: 14% of visits are from people who have come to this site over 201 times! Cos-tan-za! So to everyone who has read this blog, whether it has been just once, or every time I pop up in your RSS feed or on another blogger’s sidebar, thank you. I hope that you’ve enjoyed my various ramblings, and I appreciate that you’ve chosen to spend some of your precious, internet-browsing time (or slow work days) reading what I have to say or looking at the pretty pictures. The state of the blog is strong, because of you.

Yet we are faced with challenges that threaten to derail what we’ve built in this past year. We have faced crisis these last few months, but did you know that the Japanese use the same word for crisis as they do for opportunity? Please, please tell me, that at least one person just went “Yes, Crisitunity!” in their heads. Anyway, this hasbeen a crisitunity, and not one that I expected to happen so soon.

When I started writing this blog I wanted to track and preserve the career of Curtis Granderson via little cardboard pictures. I truly believed that I would be able to spend the next three to four years watching the heart and soul of the Detroit Tigers franchise develop into a national star and a beloved hometown hero. That dream came crashing down abruptly at the Winter Meetings and I was left dumbfounded—searching to explain away the trauma for baseball reasons, or financial reasons, or any reason at all and got…nothing. I felt like the Tigers made the wrong move—I still do—but I can’t justify dwelling on the past.

It’s time to move on and find new ways to keep this site fresh and fun. For one, this means branching out and accepting the fact that I think Curtis Granderson is one of the few players in baseball who can transcend team lines. He is a lovable Yankee. With his media exposure poised to explode, I dare you not to love everything that he stands for. That said, my days of collecting Granderson cards are over.

I dabbled with the idea that I could simply try and collect all of Curtis’ cards that show him as a Tiger, but quickly realized that I’ve been trying to do that all along and it was already nearly impossible and prohibitively expensive, and that now I’d be competing with a new generation of Granderson fans as legions of NY collectors attempt to snatch up cards showcasing his humble roots. I can’t compete with that. But I can do what I’ve really wanted to do all along. I will attempt to get images of—and create galleries for—every single Curtis Granderson card ever produced. Yes, I know this is impossible, but so is being a player super-collector. Consider this my way of living vicariously through collectors with more ample means. In so doing, I want to continue to be a source for information on Curtis Granderson cards, his general goings on (to a degree), and sing his praises as a player and person to high heaven.

But in my heart I am a company man. I’ve lost favorite players before—and even acknowledged early on that Granderson was perhaps just the “next in line.” The constant has always been, and will continue to be, the Tigers. That’s where my collecting interests have always been and that’s where my passions lie. Over the last few months I have started crating galleries and checklists to record the Detroit Tigers in each 2009 card release. This will continue. It will continue into 2010. I will also begin working backwards, to the best of my ability, to do this for releases of years past. This is a substantial undertaking—and one that may ultimately prove too big for my britches—but it is one that I’ve truly begun to enjoy.

To me, this blog is a resource. Yes, you get commentary on cards and baseball and this and that, but I like to make a contribution to the greater good as well. Since I got back to collecting a few years ago, I have been consistently disappointed by how difficult it is to get reliable information on cards, checklists etc. Sources are disparate, checklists inaccurate and unknown/oddball/stealth cards abundant. I want to clear that up. Not for everyone, mind you, but for the small yet devoted subset of Tigers collectors out there. We only have so much time and so much money—why not come here to see what’s available and browse the galleries to see what you like.

And while the appeal here is primarily to Tigers fans, I invite the rest of you to look as well. Come and find a card you like, or a parallel you didn’t know about or a set that you hadn’t considered until you see how they look grouped together. The world of card collecting is big and complicated. I’m just hoping to make things a little simpler.

It’s time to reach out to fellow fans, collectors, bloggers and so forth. I’ve gone from a rabid trader to near-isolationist over the course of this year. This is largely the result of my money supply squeezing to a drip that eliminated my ability to buy packs, boxes or non-essential items. Whether that will change this year, I don’t know. However, I want to make the effort to reintroduce myself to the community. Expect new contests on the site, a renewed trading interest, and more commentary about Tigers cards but also the team in general. To that end, this is really just an odd-duck niche Tigers fan blog. I hope that fans of the team—even those that couldn’t care less about cards—can find something that you like here.

So where do we stand in 2010? How are things going to change? I’d like to present a list of my goals for this year:
  • Streamline the collection. You know the feeling, yes? This time it includes a partial liquidation of my Curtis Granderson collection.
  • Complete my annual “master set” (which is really a modified master set that allows me to avoid difficult to find or expensive cards e.g. Serial numbered under 100 without feeling bad about myself) of Topps Detroit Tigers , and continuing to fill the holes in my Topps sets going all the way back to the start.
  • Find other cards I like and collect those too. A&G is a standby. I’ve like Topps Heritage a lot. National Chicle looks like a winner, by and large. I’ll take the (presumed) loss of Upper Deck as an opportunity to fill in holes in those old sets. There’s a lot out there that I can choose from.
  • Crete photo galleries of all Tigers cards (parallels excluded) of every card release of 2010
  • Continue my “M in the MLB” series that tracks the careers of University of Michigan alumni in professional baseball
  • Place a renewed emphasis on developing “Grand Galleries” to catalog all the Curtis Granderson cards that I can find
  • Continue to write about whatever comes up and hope that you’ll continue to read it
It should be fun. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? This blog is fun for me. It is a hobby, a distraction, a thing that I like to do. As long as it remains that way I’ll continue on. I’d love it if you’d stick around while I do.

But there’s one more thing: What do you think of the blog? How’d I do in year one? What do you like? What not so much? The reality is that this site isn’t much without the people who read it and I’d like to do what I can to keep you around. Any thoughts you have, just throw them in the comments. In the mean time, let’s kick off 2010 with a bang. I think I already found my chase card for the year: [Update: Got it!]

2010 Topps #LLR-GB Hank Greenberg/Ryan Braun (#44/50)