Wednesday, December 30, 2015

It's That Time of Year Again

I tried to convince myself and my readers last week that I am not lazy when it comes to working out- but I have since come to the conclusion that I am in fact lazy. What brought upon this revelation? Work. You see, my boss came up to me right before the Christmas holiday weekend and handed me a stack of evaluation forms for myself and my staff because, you know, it's that time of year.

The employee evaluation is something that I dread. It forces me to take a long, hard look at the work of those not only in my department, but myself as well. In other words, it forces me to exercise my brain; I can't just operate on auto-pilot. If that's not bad enough, I then have to sit in a meeting with the employee and review the evaluation- while the boss observes. It seems so redundant. 

So if it's that time of year in the workplace, then it must be that time of year on the blog, too, where I evaluate the blog and my collection. And just like that work evaluation, this too is kind of painful; it requires me to exercise the brain and then conduct an evaluation in front of an audience. Only a much larger one. 

I don't get paid enough for this.

The Blog

I have found this to be a difficult time to dedicate to the blog. In fact, this year had the fewest posts since 2011. One reason is that, as I referenced above, writing can be a difficult thing- especially when a long day at work saps your energy and you'd rather just veg out and passively take in a game or tv show. And once we subscribed to satellite tv after about a 4 year break, I watched a lot of stuff in the evenings. I often felt like I had reached the point of having nothing new to bring to the conversation and contemplated just shutting it down. I'm glad I didn't, but it was something I wrestled with.

The second reason had to do with enthusiasm, or lack thereof, for my team. Atlanta stunk it up this year and honestly, that affected my interest in collecting Braves cards- which, as you know is central to my collection. I hope that doesn't sound like a fair weathered fan.

The Collection

Here's where things get a little more interesting.

One of the changes I made in my collection this past year was starting to collect Topps base cards of the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks and the Buccaneers have been my two favorite teams going back to 1977. I have a few Bucs players I PC'd back in the day (and a couple of current players whose cards I have added to my collection) but I had ignored Seahawks card the past twenty-three years (other than a few Zorn and Largent's). So there's that.

Braves- well, as I mentioned above, the dreadful season took it's toll on my interest in Braves cards- but what really killed it was the complete deconstruction of the roster. I understood the reasoning behind getting rid of players such as Heyward, Upton and to a lesser extent- Kimbrel. But trading away Wood and Peraza and then my favorite player, Andrelton Simmons... it hurt really bad. In fact, it has killed my interest in PCs of current players.

Speaking of PC's... Dale Murphy has been the one constant (along with Chipper, but to a lesser extent). I picked up many key cards to my collection this year and am getting to the point where many of those missing are either Tiffany's or OPC's- which I'm still undecided about.

Where Do Go Now?

As I looked back and took an inventory, so to speak, of my involvement in the hobby, I came to a realization that there's one thing I really miss: putting together the annual Topps set. Before I ever became a Braves fan in 1981, I was first and foremost a baseball fan. And one way I connected to the game was through baseball cards. Topps baseball cards. It helped me to know who the players were- not just the superstars. In recent years that has but all but disappeared and I'm now more of a Braves fan than a baseball fan. That, to me, doesn't seem right because baseball is bigger than one team. I'm not abandoning my loyalty to the team, it's just that I want to go back and finish some of those sets from my youth- and put together the other sets released since then. Part of it to, I am convinced, is due to the fact that every year I get older and those years in the review mirror keep getting farther behind. This adds some kind of continuity to my life, I guess.

 All of that to say that after some deep soul searching (at least at the cardboard level), I've decided that the focus of my collection is undergoing a shift, from Braves-centric to Topps complete sets. For one thing, there's really not much left to add to my primary Braves collection (Topps Team Sets). I do enjoy the vintage stuff, but I'm not as connected to those old Braves teams, so anything prior to '81 is going on the back burner- as far as importance (and most of my needs are pre-'73). Space for complete sets has always been an issue, but I've conceded to doubling-up cards in binder sheets so that should go a long way in saving space. I've had some harsh things to say about the Topps company and current products but I'm putting those things behind. The reason I abandoned putting sets together in the first place was due to horrible collation (and too many parallel and inserts) in 2010 which caused me to be short of an Update set after opening two boxes. I also was pretty upset that we will see the first full-bleed flagship product coming out this February (I'm a traditionalist. What can I say?).

This will have an affect on the blog, although at this point I'm still not sure how. I thought about reviving the Baseball Picture Cards blog and retiring The CardChop- but am not sure that's the best thing to do. More likely, I will continue on The CardChop but change the look (not to mention content). For my fellow Braves fans and collectors- I will continue to feature cards of Dale Murphy, Chipper and others.

As I start this new journey, I will be putting up my wantlists on the 'Wantlist' page (how original)- in the way of spreadsheets. If you're looking for ideas for trade material, this is where you will find it.

In one way, I'm really excited about this breath of fresh air, but I'm also thinking it may be more challenging in posting. Why- I don't know. I guess it's because certain changes are hard for me; I have my comfort zone, and this requires a step outside of that.

Thanks to all those of you who have read the blog over the years and I look forward to continuing in the hobby and the community that we share an interest in.


  1. As a Reds' fan, I feel your pain in terms of your team trading away all your favorite players. I have a feeling that collecting Reds' cards next year won't be any fun at all. I'm already sad about that.

  2. As a Cubs fans, for the past few seasons (until this year) I too felt that pain when it came to roster turnover. It seemed like every week there was a new waiver claim or minor league signing in the starting lineup. It's a rough go. Here's hoping that the rebuild catches on quick in Atlanta. That Dansby kid was a nice steal.

  3. so many things for me to comment on, so let's break it down like this:

    a. 2015 was a slow blogging year for me too. i hope to turn things around in 2016.

    b. i find it hard to pc current favorite players too... since the a's and padres tend to dump all of their talent on a routine basis.

    c. borderless = stadium club, not their flagship product (at least imho)

    d. keep up the great blog... and happy new year!

  4. You were the author of the Baseball Picture Cards blog? I never knew that.

    I'm a set collector at heart, too. I have no plans to shift my focus, perhaps because I don't see anything in 2016 that I will want to complete. (This year's Heritage will be wonderful but stupid short-prints).

  5. I'm updating my spreadsheet with your new interests. I love the game; it comes first for me too. This is reflected somewhat in my player collections. Hope I can help with those sets along the way. Happiest of New Years!!