What's going on? Not just a great Marvin Gaye song. I've been in the hobby a long time, I've always said there is no pension plan or if there is one it's what you have left when the ride stops. That's why enjoying the hobby is of the upmost importance. Every once in a while someone will contact me that is contemplating "leaving the hobby" because it is no longer fun for them, I'm no hobby pyschiatrist but I try to see if there is another way the hobby can be fun again so we don't lose them, much of the time their minds are made up.
Every once in a blue moon I use to think(not seriously) about what it be like for me if I left the hobby, sold all my stuff, how much money would I have after selling everything? Would I miss it? Would it affect my mind set or well-being? Would I regret doing it? About a year and half into the launch of "Sports Card Nation" podcast, the show had taken off and was still growing and I did honestly ponder the thought of selling everything and doing the show "pure", Was anyone doing a hobby podcast that had experience but no cards, I could do it completely from a clean unbiased perspective but after some serious thought I realized that any bias or opinions don't get shipped out when the cards do, so the point was moot. So here I am 43 years after that first 1979 Topps Baseball pack.
Speaking of Topps...they are gone, in a technical sense. The hobby is a different one in it's current form, we have breaks, fractional buying of big time mostly un-acquirable cards, oh and the "invisible card" errrr NFT's market had taken off too, cards that looked like they were drawn by your elementary school son or daughter but rather drawn by an adult sold like hotcakes, and part of the hobby has taken on a freak show like appearance rolling into town where people acting zany, crazy actually trumps any knowledge and people follow like mindless lemmings, The craziest person we had back in the day was "Mr.Mint" Alan Rosen...while he is no longer with us, he's never looked so normal comparitively. Yeah I suppose I sound a little like the old man on his porch but I'm still Newman on my stoop.
Why am I writing this..Like many others I care, I care about what direction we are heading, I care about the future of the greatest hobby, speaking of it being the greatest hobby I want it to retain that title. 2019-2021 was arguably the greatest run the hobby has ever went on, the kind where a basketball team runs off a14-0 spurt and the flustered opposing coach has to call a timeout to try to figure out "what the heck happened and what can we do". Is the hobby taking that momentous run and now turning the ball over, clanking shots and throwing up air balls where the game is turning back the other way? Guess it depends on what day you ask me.
Like most I was stunned when the news came that Fanatics had received the baseball licensing to produce cards from both the league and players union. Being a Brooklyn guy the inner kid in me was wounded. Soon though I was cautiously optimistic, we are going to see a fresh take, design will be ratcheted up and more. My mind opened to new possibilities, however what I've seen in the interim has made me more pessimistic, I did not like Rubin's hire of Josh Luber and Luber's behaviors cements my feeling, you are who you sleep with and Backyard Breakers are poor bedfellows. Did anyone vett that collaboration? Is Luber just a loose cannon with free reign to do as he pleases, with the off chance that Michael Rubin reads this, I urge you to reconsider that hire. I think it's always a bad sign when someone puts themselves ahead of the cards and Luber is the poster boy for that.
I'm not leaving the hobby, matter of fact I wrote a majority of this on a plane headed south to Dallas to attend the DCS, catch a AA Rangers game, attend Dr.Beckett's Content Creator Dinner and hang with some great friends...too many to name in fact. I've been buying mostly vintage in the last year, one because I love it, two because it's more "innocent" then the shiny new stuff of the hobby "gone Hollywood", so as I approach Dallas the trip has reminded to focus on the good...the good people doing good things, the good friends who made this trip possible and everything else along this hobby journey and the great cards already made. My vintage want list has gotten longer and I for one will enjoy the pursuit.