Friday, November 6, 2015

No Experience Necessary

I had only been back into the hobby for a year or so, when I decided to try my hand at putting on a card show. It was 1992- the glory days in the hobby, as far as card shows go- and there were about two per month in our area. It might not sound like a lot, but when you consider the how much smaller the Boise area was back then, it was actually unbelievable. Surely there would be interest in one more.

I had no experience in organizing and promoting an event, but how difficult could it be to find a venue, advertise in hobby publications, shops and newspapers, and collect table fees? Turns out, it wasn't that difficult at all. In today's hobby, I'm sure it would be much more challenging, but remember: these were the glory days. 

I had quite a few connections in the local card scene, from the card shows I had attended and set up as a seller, as well as friends that owned card shops (one of whom sold some of my stuff on consignment), and so I had a number of resourses to draw from in selling the tables. The most difficult decision I would face was where to hold the show. I decided against doing it in the larger cities of Boise or Nampa, opting instead for Caldwell- the place I called, and still call, home. I really don't remember why I chose the smaller town, other than probably the logistics were easier and rent would be much more affordable. But once I decided on Caldwell,  there was only one place to even consider for the potential location: Trolley Square.

Trolley Square had its origins in the early 80s, when it housed a bunch of small shops. You had your shops that sold jewelry & hair accessories, party stuff, a candy store, a floral shop, a clothing store, and my favorite (as a 13 year old jr higher)- rock band accessories such as buttons, pins and wallets. It later housed an Adventure Land video store, a law office, counseling office, health district office, as well as the room that I wound up renting. This room had been used for catering luncheons, banquets and conventions. It was the perfect place to hold a show and was easily accessible from the freeway. 


It's not uncommon for managers or general managers, for that matter, to be hired in today's game without any prior experience. Every team seems to want you if you're a young Ivy League grad with no prior experience as a GM; established guys seem to have a more difficult time getting the call. Likewise, are you a former mlb player without any managerial experience? No problem, we'll hire you to manage our team, as long as you're tight with the GM. 

Now, managerial hirings being done based on the 'buddy system' has been around for decades, but the young, inexperienced GM hirings have not. 

Despite having no front office experience, Atlanta hired a forty-four year-old Bobby Cox as its general manager following the 1985 season. An Ivy League grad he was not, but Cox had been a baseball lifer and had plenty of on the field experience- most recently as the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays at the time of his hiring. The move turned out to be a stroke of genius by owner Ted Turner, as Cox would oversee the rebuilding of the franchise's minor league system. 

And it was that minor league system that provided the team with key components for its decade and-a-half dominance. Hopefully recently name Braves GM John Coppolella will have similar success.

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