**WARNING: This post was written at 4:30 in the morning, under the influence of too much coffee, and a wandering mind. It is long, and probably doesn’t make sense. I am posting it anyway. **
The short answer is “I don’t know”. The long answer is something far more complicated than that, and I’m hoping that writing about it will maybe help me figure it out. Prepare to take a trip to the center of my mind. I know, I was shocked when I saw how long this post was too. You’d think it’d be a shorter journey.
Despite the fact that I just had a blast at the 2010 National Sports Collectors Conference, I am once again struggling with the existential reasoning behind why I collect. It’s something I try to not think about whenever possible, but impulsively spending large amounts of cash (to me) on only a handful of cards, tends to make ones mind wander a bit.
There is one thing I do know for sure, and it’s that after 3 years back in the hobby, I have become jaded. My hunger for cards has become insatiable, literally. 3 years ago, any Orioles card made me happy, but now, after having amassed a monstrous collection, I am no longer amused or entertained by the simple things. I have become a spoiled little brat, who expects every card to be of a superstar player, autographed, with a jumbo patch and numbered to less than 25. That might be because I have a very large, and very unorganized collection, which means I don’t even know what I have, but I definitely know what I don’t have. As a result, my collection has gotten the better of me, and my house. There are cards everywhere, and I wonder if my lack of collective focus is the current thorn in my side. Do I really need to collect ALL Orioles cards, or player collect like 15 different O’s? Do I really have to try to build all these crazy insert sets that I’ll most likely never finish? Should there really be 16 boxes of base cards on the shelf in the computer room? I’m starting to think the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “No, you jackass!”
I think this means that along with developing an organizational plan, I’m going to have to give up some cards as well. Is there anyone out there who would be interested in some Orioles hand me down GU/auto cards? From now on, I’m only collecting the O’s Hall of Fame guys, Nick Markakis, and Adam Jones. Oh, wait… and maybe some prospects. I have a lot of Hobgood autos, and I am working on that Michael Flacco ’09 Bowman rainbow. What about Matusz & Arrieta, I have to collect one of them too right? At least one? You’d figure the O’s suck so bad that this should be an easy decision, right? Wrong. No more “guys with beards” collection either. Thanks to the 1970’s, that collection could go on and on. Oh, crap, I forgot about the vintage team sets binder. Yeah, I’m going to keep that project going too. That should still give me enough to hunt for, so my A.D.D. self doesn’t get bored.
Did you hear that traders of the blogosphere! I am no longer your crappy O’s cards dumping ground! No more Miguel Tejada relics or Daniel Cabrera autos. No more packages of 80’s Orioles base cards. You’re going to have to find some other O’s fan to dump them on. It shouldn’t be too hard, there are at least 6 of us who run blogs.
It’s ridiculous that I could have possibly collected anything more than that. Without limits, it’s no wonder I’m left searching for the answers to existential questions that can’t possibly be answered.
Um… I collect Baltimore Ravens too… right? And some old Colts? Crap. We’ll save that one for another day. The Ravens collection isn’t out of hand just yet, but if anyone wants to start a Dwayne Bowe collection, please contact me. I have the perfect starter set for you, including a bunch of hits.
Base cards? I know this one is going to be a long shot, but anyone out there interested in building a set, and looking for a starter? Pretty much most anything baseball from 2006-2009 I have in spades. There’s a TON (like 1000) 2010 Ginter doubles around here too, if anyone wants to send me a want list or two.
The other thing that’s been getting me down lately is busting wax. The ends just don’t justify the means most of the time, and after seeing how many awesome singles I could buy for the price of a ONE high-end box/pack of cards, I’m thinking that buying and selling individual cards may be how I attack the hobby from now on. It’s going to be tough, cause there’s almost nothing I enjoy more than ripping packs, but at the rate I’ve been going, I’ll need to rent a storage space just to hold my collection of Eric Chavez and Sammy Sosa relics, not to mention all those base cards from sets I am never going to build.
We all know that last one is not going to happen. If you wanted to bet me that there’s probably a box of cards already on a UPS truck somewhere, on its way to Baltimore, I would owe you some money.
Ok, so after all of that, I’m still not sure why I collect cards, but at least I have an idea of how not let the thought drive me crazy from time to time. I think as collectors, we’re all trying to fill a hole, or scratch an itch of some sort, and I think the experience is a unique one for all of us. You can spend as much or as little money as you want on it, and there are no limits. We are free to collect whoever, and whatever we want. That’s something you certainly can’t say about everything in life.