30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Building Connections

The older I get... the less social I become.  I started down this path as I transition into my 30's.  That's when I lost the desire to meet up with friends at the local dive bars, attend concerts, or go to other large social gatherings like weddings and Christmas parties.

Upon self-reflection, I think it has to do with feeling burnt out after trying to accumulate as many friends as I could in high school and even college.  These days... it's all about quality over quantity when it comes to friendships.

Without getting to deep into my personal life... I'll just say that I can count on my two hands the number of friends I consider to be a part of my inner circle.  Sprinkle in my immediate family and I have plenty of social and emotional support to last a lifetime.

Then there's the collecting community.

I'm exactly the opposite when it comes to all of you.  I enjoy reading and commenting on your blogs.  Plus at this point, I don't think I would write four posts a week without the interaction with all of you.

It's actually kind of weird how social I am among the blogosphere compared to my "personal" life.  Maybe it has to do with the fact that we're not meeting face to face and in a sense... I'm hiding behind a keyboard.  Actually... that's not entirely true.

I've actually had the pleasure of meeting up with several bloggers over the years: Dan @ The Other World, Brady @ St. Louis Cardinals' Cardboard, Ryan @ Japanese Sumo Wrestling Cards and Menko, and Rod @ Padrographs.

I only met Dan once, but that might change after the pandemic ends and we're able to attend card shows again.  Brady and I used to meet up once or twice a year at the Serramonte Mall Show, but it's been at least two years since we've sifted through dime boxes together.  Ryan and I have hung out twice: once in Southern California and once up here.  He's also the only blogger I communicate with on a regular basis and we're hoping to hit up another card show at some point in the future.

And then there's RodA few years ago, one of my best friends moved up to Portland and ever since I typically visit her at least twice a year (well not since the pandemic).  Anyways... two summers ago... I reached out to Rod and met him at the bookstore he used to run.

In fact there are a bunch of bloggers up in the Pacific NorthwestRod, Gavin @ Baseball Card Breakdown, Kerry @ Cards on Cards, and Kevin @ The Diamond King.  The goal is to one day make it back up north and eventually have a little blogger gathering with those guys.

In the meantime, Rod manages to stay in touch through the mail.  Two weeks ago, he sent out a very thick bubble mailer containing a ton of cards including my two prizes from his recent contest:

Topps Project 2020 #71 (by Ben Baller)

His contest utilized a draft format and I was awarded two picks.  He had a ton of cool prizes to choose from including ten to twenty different Project 2020 cards.

I used my first pick on this Ben Baller rendition of Rickey Henderson's 1980 Topps rookie card.

Topps Project 2020 #97 (by Andrew Thiele)

There were a bunch of interesting cards, including a variety of autographs and a Willie Mays card by Sophia Chang... but ultimately I went with this McGwire with my second pick.

I selected this card, because up until now I've been focusing on Gwynn and Henderson Project 2020 cards and ignoring Big Macs (outside of the Blake Jamieson).

Rod also tossed in a bunch of bonus items including this Dave Stewart custom he had autographed at a private signing:

On Tuesday, I listed my favorite Black MLB players and Stew made the Top 5.  He never pitched for the Padres, but he was their pitching coach during their last trip to the World Series in 1998.

Rod opened a bunch of packs for Christmas, including a ton of 2020 Allen & Ginter... which is a set I've been working on.  He helped me with three of the non-sports insert sets I'm building:

This chicken completed my Down on the Farm set:

2020 Topps A&G Down on the Farm #DF-CH

He also got me six steps closer to wrapping up the Reach for the Sky! and Digging Deep insert sets:

Next up are some singles for my Japanese and Oakland A's PC's:

And rounding out Rod's generosity are two memorabilia cards that inspired me to open up about my social life inside and outside of the hobby:

2003 Playoff Prestige Connections Materials #C-47 (#'d 153/400)

2003 Playoff Prestige Connections Materials #C-48 (#'d 042/400)

If you talked to my closest friends or family members, they'd most likely tell you how I like to keep my inner circle small and they wouldn't be lying.

But it's really nice to have an outlet like my blog and this hobby, because it's allowed me to make a lot of connections with other people who enjoy collecting pieces of cardboard with pictures of pitchers, chickens, and artwork on them.

Thank you Rod for this very generous prize/care package!  And thank you to each and every one one of you who has taken the time to read any of my posts and connecting with me by leaving comments.  They're truly appreciated.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!


  1. When I see that FUJI byline, I automatically click on, it's always great to read your posts.

    I also have no desire to go out at my house. Tomorrow, when I turn 61, It'll be just Tracy and I together.

    Good Job. 👍

  2. That’s some nice stuff. Like the stadium club inserts and the Hudson jersey. Do you like green, yellow, or the standard white/gray when it comes to getting an A’s jersey card?
    It is on my collecting bucket list to meet up with some bloggers in person.

  3. There's a big difference between my real/online selves as well. I'm not the most social person in real life, but the social aspects of the blogging community (commenting, trading, etc.) have kept me coming back for almost a decade now. It's a wonderful place.

  4. Great stuff. Any time Zito and Hudson show up on a card together, it's awesome!

  5. I'm like that too, my social life peaked in my 20s and now I have no interest in hanging out at bars, going to concerts or any of that stuff.

    I've come to appreciate the value of friends and family much more too. And I also feel that way about the blogging community. I really appreciate your comments on my blog, its always nice to see that a friendly face is reading! And I always enjoy coming hear to read up on your latest, its a fun daily ritual for me to check if you and a few other regulars have updated anything. Since I don't have much office banter at work these days due to Covid its become my new version of hanging out in the coffee lounge and chatting!

  6. You spend the first half of your life trying to accumulate as many friends as possible...as the second half of your life trying to get rid of them all.

  7. Swing and a Pop-Up is absolutely right. It's only natural to shed your social side as you get older, only the relentless extroverts behave the way they did in their 20s when they're in their 60s. This is why people settle down and find a significant other and raise kids and all that other stuff. The teens and 20s is for connecting. After that, who cares?

  8. Your post stopped me in my tracks when I saw that Dave Stewart phone card. I may need to get in touch with Rod about that.

    Also this was a great read. I think your inner circle seems pretty typical (Dunbar's number) as is your social path.

  9. I was never one to really interact with people. I've been social distancing by choice since I was a teenager. Being on Facebook and Twitter just reaffirms that thought. My group of close friends is four or five, sometimes I wish it was more but that's just not my personality.

    In real life I'm a lot more boring than I seem on Cardboard History (not that I come off as exciting on there) and I'm nowhere near as organized as you all think I am. I may have to show my storage unit to disabuse people of that notion, lol.

  10. Although I did miss going to Dodger games last season, I do like being a homebody. I tend to be a quiet guy and I'm totally comfortable with it. Seems that many of us in the hobby have a LOT in common.

  11. Great post. Thanks for letting me in to this cool community!

  12. Really good prize package!

    I think burnt out is a good term. I'm feeling a bit that way with work and...being around my kids haha. But I do prefer "me" time right now versus being around others, although that's not really done these days due to the virus. But if I had the choice, I'd rather relax on the couch than go out somewhere.

  13. Definitely enjoy hanging out and chatting. Let’s get over this COVID crazy and hit up some Del Taco as soon as we can. Thanks for being a fixture in the blogging world!

  14. "Selectively sociable" is the technical term for it. Characterised by a few deep friendships that really matter. I'm like that too.

  15. Yep, me too. But yeah, meeting fellow bloggers is always fun, and I look forward to a blogger meet up with you someday.

    Great bunch of cards from Rod!

  16. I have never met another blogger but probably won't. My social skills have gone away and having friends doesn't matter much to me anymore. At least local friends. I prefer to just have a few of the friends I have met on here and they are much more quality friends then I have ever met here. I prefer, especially now with Covid, to just stay away from people. I have become even less social now and don't even feel comfortable around anyone. I try to avoid places when I can.

  17. The blogs are pretty much my only social interaction outside of work; I don't even have a social media account. In addition to the Pacific Northwest crew, I've noticed a midwest (Michigan-Illinois) contingent, and a cluster of us in the NY/NJ area. If the pandemic hadn't cancelled the 2020 National some of us might have met up in Atlantic City last summer. :(

    Those Reach For The Sky cards are really sharp, and the Connections relics are great. Mulder-Zito.. Hudson-Zito... is there a Mulder-Hudson card in that set?

  18. i've really enjoyed meeting up with bloggers, including the portland crew. as for friends, my closest friends are ones i've had since jr. high, and i am still in close contact with them. i have only a couple of friends from college that i keep in touch with, and post-college friends that i consider to be close friends are fairly small in number.

  19. john sharp - thanks. appreciate the kind words. hope you had a great birthday!

    jeremya1um - if it were up to me, i'd love to see more green or yellow swatches, but ultimately... i'm not that picky.

    nick - the blogging community is truly a wonderful place. it's kinda crazy that it has been a decade already.

    the bucs stop here - kinda bummed they didn't create a mulder/hudson card ;D

    sean - i sure miss eat lunch in the staff lounge with my friends. the whole zoom thing just isn't the same. and you're right about appreciating the value of friends and family more. i feel the exact same way.

    swing and a pop-up - lol. sad, but true. although... i don't actively try to get rid of friends. it's just that with some, we grow apart and eventually lose touch.

    johnnys trading spot - okay

    night owl - glad i'm not alone. although i missed out on the whole raising kids things.

    steve at 1975baseballcards.com - rod is a cool guy. i'd definitely reach out to him and see if he has an extra laying around.

    billy kingsley - four or five close friends works for me too. organized or not... if you ever wrote a storage unit post, i'm sure it would be interesting.

    bbcardz - i've been called a homebody on more than one occasion and i've never argued with that statement.

    cincicuse bill - the more the merrier.

    the lost collector - yeah, rod sure went out of his way to grab some nice prizes. and relaxing on the couch is one of my favorite things to do.

    sumomenkoman - i'm definitely down for some del taco. hopefully things start going back to normal soon

    jongudmund - i like that term. and the handful of deep friendships i have mean a lot to me.

    defgav - it'll happen at some point. can't wait to get back up to portland when things finally settle down and gets back to normal.

    matt - covid has made most people less social out of necessity. i'm definitely not a social butterfly, but i am looking forward to being able to go out and see close friends or even walk around a card show

    chris - maybe one day i'll make my way out to the east coast in time for a ny/nj blogger meetup, but that's way down the road. no mulder/hudson card. they did make a chavez/tejada card though

    gcrl - that's awesome that you got to hang out with the portland crew. i'm looking forward to hanging out with them myself. when it comes to post-college friends, most of them are fellow teachers. i've had a fair share of them, but it's hard to stay in touch when you're not at the same schools.