Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Getting the Sports Card Blogroll Up to 2019 Standards...and Is Blogging Still a Thing??!

A Twitter discussion happened a few days ago regarding the status of blogging, specifically blogging about the Hobby.

Is it still viable? Is it still popular? Are people still doing this?

Or as ALLTIMEGREATS.BLOG asked:


Somehow, thanks to Mario, the man who writes Wax Heav...I mean The Baseball Card Blog (I hope you got Ben's blessing to use this name Mario), I wound up getting involved in the conversation:


Night Owl wrote about this last week (he's has taken the mantle as the most prolific and popular blogger, with tons of readers and commenters). You want to read his take? Here you go!

Nachos Grande, another long-time card blog, followed Night Owl's lead and did his own research, which you can read here.

(But before you read what they have to say, finish mine first...or go read their stuff and come back...PLEASE!!!)

So I did a bit of research. I always made it a habit of keeping tabs of the number of blogs I added and removed over the years. When I created the Sports Card Blogroll on July 7, 2008, I started with 112 blogs. Many of these sites I found through the blogrolls of dayf the Cardboard Junkie and Mario (again...thanks to his Sports Card Blog Directory).

I promised I would figure out when the most blogs were ever on the Sports Card Blogroll. That would have been in July of 2012, when there was a whopping 387 blogs listed before I did my monthly maintenance.

I haven't made any updates to the big Blogroll in a while, and I have to tell you, I'm really sad.

Presently, there are 215 sites listed on the active roll. The following sites will be removed from the Blogroll tonight:


That's 29 blogs that being removed (hold on...I will explain shortly). That brings the number of active blogs down to 186. That's more than 200 blogs down from six years ago (not the number of blogs that have ever been placed on the SCBR...you're looking at over 500 blogs that made it's way onto the active roster at one point in time).

The Infinite Baseball Card Set blog was created by artist Gary Joseph Cieradkowski. The site combined his passions for baseball history and art (he did create a card set...beautiful cards...don't own any, but I do remember reading reviews). He has a new site now, Studio Gary C, which combines all of his artwork, and I am going to add his baseball card section, which continues his Infinite Baseball Card Set project, and will move his old site to the Retired, but Relevant section of the Blogroll. (I better be getting that book Gary...or if not, I'll have to find it somewhere).

The Sports Card Blogroll Hall of Fame adds one new member to its ranks: Orioles Card "O" The Day. For over 10 years, Kevin, the writer of the Orioles baseball card blog, highlighted a card from his vast Orioles card collection, giving the reader a glimpse of the player, and his contributions to Orioles lore. From 2008-2014, he would post more than 300 times per year, the first four years posting EVERY DAY!!! While there is no reason why he stopped (we can all speculate...it's the ORIOLES after all) maybe he'll get back to it. I hope he's okay. But his last post was in May, 2018, and the site has reached more than six months of inactivity. As one of the pioneers in the Hobby Blogging Community, and one of the first team-centric Hobby bloggers, his Orioles Card "O" The Day will now be enshrined into the SCBR HOF.

Yes, I will have to say that the popularity of blogging has been on the downside. But, as I stated in my contributions to the twitter discussion:

There are those who are still contributing on a daily basis: Night Owl Cards (who I will have to check his blogroll for sites that I don't have), Wrigley Wax, who writes about the cards in his Cubs collection, The Chronicles of Fuji, The Shlabotnik Report, and 182 others (including this humble, little blog). We're still around, and we're still posting about the Hobby. We may not be (okay, most of us might not be) making any money off blogging, but as I tweeted, we're really writing for ourselves. If people happen to read what we're saying, then it's a bonus.

It (blogging) has become a Hobby in of itself. We all had our reasons to get into this. Some got into it to trade with others. Others wanted to share their opinions on the state of the Hobby (good or otherwise). Some wanted to stir the pot and the notoriety (good or otherwise) got them the exposure they wanted. Others just wanted to show off their collections and what the cards mean to the writer.

As with many trends, blogging has hit its plateau. During the height of popularity, I had hoped that the SCBR would one day reach 500 blogs on the list at one time. It never made it there, but the Blogroll still stands as a way for people who want to read different viewpoints about the Hobby of Sports Card Collecting.

On a final note, I do want to thank Sports Card News for bringing up the topic. And for indirectly giving me a nudge to get my site up-to-date.

As always, if you or someone you know has a blog that is about the great Hobby of Sports Card Collecting, and you want it added to the Sports Card Blogroll, please send me an email at bdj610@hotmail.com, send me a tweet (you can find me @bdj610), or leave a comment on the blog.

You know, I meant to change the design of the site just to make it a bit more modern. I guess I better get to work.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Sunday, January 6, 2019

New Year Pack Break: 2018 Topps Gallery

Today was a great day to be the parent of a Special Olympian.


Quick backstory:

My son has been a part of Special Olympics, representing his high school since his sophomore year. As a soph, he took home a silver medal in ramp bowling, a silver medal in the 4x100 m snowshoe relay, and a gold medal in the 100 m showshoe race. As a junior, he earned gold medals in the sectional, regional, and state Olympics in ramp bowling (you had to win gold in the sectional to get to the regional, and then win gold in the regional to get to state finals).

Today, he and his high school's Special Olympic team earned a combined 18 medals, 10 golds. My son and four of his mates will be heading to the state finals later in February to compete in the IL Winter Special Olympics.

I am very proud of my son. I find it ironic. Many years ago, when he was little and we didn't know why his development was delayed compared to his sister, his doctor actually said, "Don't expect an Olympic athlete out of him." Guess he proved the doctor wrong, huh?

So back to the point. I brought a pack of 2018 Topps Gallery with me, just in case we had some time to kill between races. Topps Gallery, or at least the last two years it has been put out into the market, has been a Walmart-exclusive product. This is similar to Topps Fire being a Target-exclusive item. I guess Topps figured out a way to expand their product catalog without hitting the Hobby wall of 17 products per year (I've lost count, but I'm pretty sure that this is correct). It's a beautifully designed set, with all of the cards looking like paintings that belong...well...you get the idea.

So what was in this 12-card pack? Will I finally...FINALLY...get a Cubs card? Here goes:




  • #102 Ian Happ, OF, Cubs
  • #74 Nick Pivetta, P, Phillies
  • #5 Christian Yelich, OF, Brewers
  • #38 Victor Robles, OF, Nationals
  • #51 Andrew McCutchen, OF, Giants
  • #116 Shohei Ohtani, P/DH, Angels
  • #H-18 Ozzie Albies Heritage, 2B, Braves
  • #123 Salvador Perez Canvas Parallel, C, Royals
  • #110 Evan Longoria Canvas Parallel, 3B, Giants
  • #46 Luis Severino, P, Yankees
  • #54 Christian Arroyo, SS, Rays
  • #84 Cal Ripken Jr., SS, Orioles



Thoughts:

First, finally, a Cubs card!!! And what a player to start the pack...the guy that started the 2018 season with a first-pitch home run.

Second, OHTANI!!!

A very good pack, in my opinion. Can't go wrong when you get both of the Giants' new acquisitions (even if McCutchen was traded off to the Yankees). What are the odds of getting two Christians in a pack (the MVP to boot). Got another Severino card, and then the Ripken at the end? Great pack.

I might have to open something from Target to balance out. Maybe a pack of Fire.

Decisions, decisions.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Friday, January 4, 2019

New Year Pack Break: 2018 Topps Allen & Ginter's

Work has been crazy busy as we headed into the New Year. I may have been with the food broker for a year, but I am still figuring things out and realizing that I still have a lot to learn about this side of the specialty foods industry. Now, this does not mean that I am having a hard time. Not in the least. But as head into year two of this journey, there will be more responsibility given to me, and I am looking forward to the challenge.

With that said, the focus on doing a pack break during my lunch break is going to be a bit of a challenge as it turns out that I didn't have one (or yesterday, depending on where in the world you're in). But in between shifts, which means upon returning home, changing into my pharmacy scrubs, and heading to the part-time gig, I did have a bit of time to do a quick pack break. And what better way to spend 5 minutes than to open one of the three packs of 2018 Topps Allen & Ginter's that I bought at a Target a while back.


Need to make this quick. What was in this pack you ask?
  • #296 Taijuan Walker, P, Diamondbacks
  • #176 Claire Smith, Sportswriter
  • #268 Jose Berrios, P, Twins
  • #303 Hyun-Jin Ryu, P, Dodgers
  • #FLN-25 Corsica Flags of Lost Nations
  • #WGB-2 Bora Bora, Tahiti, World's Greatest Beaches

Quick thoughts:

Again, no Cubs cards, and only three player cards (all pitchers). But to have a card of the first woman to win the Spink Award for journalism in Claire Smith is nice. Also, as a big fan of flags (go away Sheldon), the Corsica Flag is a nice one to have. The 25-card set is nice, and the tidbit of information about what was the country of Corsica, an island that was "won by France in 1769," offers a brief snippet of it's brief history.

There is a three-card bonus pack of parallel mini cards that came with the 3-pack of A&G. I'll probably open that later. I can already see what's in the pack, so that's not going to be a surprise. But at least I'll have something to open when I'm fresh out of packs.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

New Year Pack Break: 2018 Topps Series 1 Jumbo Walmart


Happy New Year everyone. We are at my sister's house right now celebrating our family Christmas. The belief, my mom always says, is that your can have Christmas with your respective families, but NEW YEARS IS MINE!!! It is going to be different now that my dad is gone, but he was certainly here in spirit as prayers were made with him on our minds. It won't be the same, but we will carry on.

But in the spirit (see what I did there) of getting back into the swing of things on this humble, little blog, and before the food is served, what better time is there to do the pack break that I promised in my last post now. More people are coming in, and the tables are being spread where I am presently sitting (on the floor), so I am going to have to move to the couch.

The first pack I am opening in 2019 is from the first product of 2018, Topps Series 1. This 36-card jumbo pack came from Walmart, and should include one exclusive Kris Bryant Highlight card. Which one is in here is anybody's guess. What is inside this pack? Well...
  • #323 Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers
  • #290 Salvador Perez, C, Royals
  • #83 Howie Kendrick, OF, Nationals
  • #311 Yulieski Gurriel, 1B, Astros
  • #117 Kendrys Morales, DH, Blue Jays
  • #140 Mookie Betts, OF, Red Sox
  • #198 Marcus Semien, SS, Athletics
  • #270 Jackie Bradley Jr., OF, Red Sox
  • #303 Luis Severino, P, Yankees
  • #273 Ozzie Albies, 2B, Braves
  • #139 Zach Davies NL League Leaders, Brewers
  • #114 Cody Bellinger NL League Leaders, Dodgers
  • #34 Luis Severino AL League Leaders, Yankees
  • #218 Khris Davis AL League Leaders, Athletics
  • #105 Daniel Murphy, 2B, Nationals
  • #305 Miguel Andujar, 3B, Yankees
  • #TS-91 Brandon Woodruff Topps Salute-Rookies, Brewers
  • #MLB-19 DJ LeMahieu NL Fielding Awards, Rockies
  • #83-63 Kenta Maeda 1983 35th Anniversary Blue Parallel, Dodgers
  • #LTM-CS Chris Sale Legends in the Making, Red Sox
  • #KB-17 Kris Bryant Highlights, Cubs
  • #167 Dansby Swanson, SS, Braves
  • #181 Garrett Cooper, 1B, Yankees
  • #271 Cam Gallagher, C, Royals
  • #307 Daniel Murphy NL League Leaders, Nationals
  • #156 Milwaukee Brewers Team Card
  • #48 Boston Red Sox Team Card
  • #219 J. P. Crawford, SS, Phillies
  • #191 Chris Archer, P, Rays
  • #243 James McCann, C, Tigers
  • #297 Kevin Kiermaier, OF, Royals
  • #232 Nate Jones, P, White Sox
  • #187 Chad Kuhl, P, Pirates
  • #310 Jason Kipnis, 2B, Indians
  • #47 Hunter Pence, OF, Giants
  • #17 Robbie Ray, P, Diamondbacks




Initial thoughts:

Lots of star power in this pack. Salvador Perez, Dansby Swanson AND Ozzie Albies, Mookie Betts AND Jackie Bradley Jr, 2 Daniel Murphy cards, 2 Luis Severino cards. This is a good pack, even without an auto or relic card.

Other than the expected KB highlight card (and it was KB-17 to boot), there were no Cubs cards, although there was at least one White Sox card.

I did start this post at my sister's. And I did actually open the above pack there. However, once the Karaoke started, I had to get out of the living room and wound up playing Mario Kart on the Nintendo Switch for the rest of the night. The pictures were taken after I got home.

But at least I have the pack breaks off to a flying start. Which pack am I going to open next? I don't know yet. It all depends on what I grab when I head back to work tomorrow.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

It's the End of 2018, and It's Been Quite a Year!

It's 27 minutes before the 2018 ends here in the Central Time Zone. I'm drinking sparkling white grape juice before I break open a shot of Bailey's with Coffee (or is that supposed to be the other way around). I look forward to what 2019 will bring, but am reflecting on what happened this past year.

Lots of highs.

I saw my daughter graduate high school, accomplish her goal of dancing the "senior dance" with the friends she grew up dancing with throughout her childhood, and begin life as a college student.

I saw my son become a two-time gold medalist in Special Olympics, come out of his sister's shadow to become a leader of sorts in the frontline section of the marching band and with his peers in special education.

My wife and I celebrated 20 years of martial bliss, and as we grown, the more my love for has as well.

I found the courage to challenge myself in new situations professionally. Working for a food brokerage after years for food distributors and learning the pharmaceutical trade. Both fields have their own unique set of circumstances, and I do still have a lot to learn. But I am grateful the experiences and people I have met this year.

Lots of lows.

My dad passed away. Life for our family will never be the same. I still think of him daily.

This blog has not seen much activity because of everything that has been going on.

But regardless, 2018 was quite a year.

Even with the inactivity on the blog, it was a good year Hobby wise.

I mean, Topps' deal with MLB Properties as the exclusive baseball card company was extended (certainly people will disagree with that as a good thing, but it's a good thing for me).

I achieved the annual goals of completing the eponymous set plus inserts, along with Allen & Ginter's and Gypsy Queen, the 32 team sets, and MiLB Pro Debut. That's another, oh 3,000 plus cards and then some.

Last year, I bought a six-inch binder to hold 1,976 cards from 2017. I thought I'd do the same now.



This six-inch binder holds the following sets from 2018 Topps:
  • 702 cards from Topps Series 1 and 2
  • 300 cards from Topps Update Series
  • 5 Topps Rookie Variation cards (from the factory set)
  • 3 miscellaneous advertisement cards
  • 4 Topps SP cards
  • 10 Topps Now Top 10 cards
  • 50 Superstar Sensation cards
  • 50 MLB 2017 Award Winner cards
  • 50 Instant Impact cards
  • 50 Longball Legends cards
  • 32 National Baseball Card Day cards
  • 100 1983 Topps 35th Anniversary cards
  • 24 1983 Topps 35th Anniversary Rookie cards
  • 75 1983 Topps 35th Anniversary All-Star cards
  • 50 1983 Topps Update 35th Anniversary cards
  • 249 Topps Salute cards
  • 30 Opening Day cards
  • 50 Future Stars cards
  • 90 Legends in the Making cards
  • 30 Derek Jeter Highlights cards
  • 30 Kris Bryant Highlights cards
  • 30 Cody Bellinger Highlights cards
  • 30 Aaron Judge Highlights cards
  • 2 Topps Update Series SP cards
  • 25 Don't Blink cards
  • 50 An International Affair cards
  • 10 Storybook Ending cards
  • 30 Postseason Prominence cards
  • 20 Hall of Fame Highlight cards
  • 20 Bryce Harper Highlight cards


Okay, so carry the 1, and....

That's 2,201 cards, and wait...

Two thousand, two hundred, one cards.

That's 225 more cards than 2017. Topps managed to add more cards in 2018 than they did the year before. No wonder these binders are getting heavier.

Remember those packs that I bought during National Baseball Card Day? Well, first I wanted to do a pack break week (or two, depending), then life happened and I just decided to wait until later. Then, I had planned on doing a baseball card pack Advent Calendar back in December, then Peoria happened, and I just decided to scrap it. So maybe, just maybe as we ring in 2019, I'll try and open those packs to begin the new year as we wait until the 2019 Baseball Card season draws near. I'll open a pack at the New Year's party I'll be going to later today with the family. What I'll be opening is anybody's guess, including my own.

Speaking of 2019, it's been a tradition here on this blog, so...

Goodbye 2018!!!


Hello 2019!!!


Goodbye 2018 Topps Design!!!


Hello 2019 Topps Design!!!


It is now 2:27 am, over two hours since I first started writing (in between celebrating and about two more shots of Bailey's). May all your collections grow to new heights. Let's hope Topps makes it a bit easier on us insane set collectors. Thank you for letting me into your computers this past year (when I was able to at least). I hope to be able to share more of my collection with you in 2019!!!

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama