Saturday, March 21, 2020

Closing Up Shop

So here's the thing about this hobby of ours. It's supposed to be a fun way to occupy one's leisure time. But what happens when our 'leisure time' increases tenfold but our access to sports cards is practically cut off? 

Earlier this week I got an e-mail from Burbank Sports Cards with a 15% off coupon:

My plan was to wait until the weekend (and the next credit card billing cycle) to fill my cart with $30 worth of singles. Unfortunately I didn't make it that far. By Friday morning Burbank Sportscards - along with every other non-essential business in the state of California - had been ordered to close.

Which brings me to option #2 - Cardbarrel. This was sort of a last resort; I've completed nearly all of the baseball sets I was working on, and they don't sell cards for any other sports. However I do have a tentative plan for a new franken-set that's related to my All-Time Teams series. Cardbarrel could help with that project, and I could always pick up some Red Sox singles or boost some player PCs.

It looks like the site is still doing business, even though they're in New York and that state is also under lockdown. I started filling my card with whatever singles I could think of, but before finalizing my order I e-mailed Mehmet, the proprietor of Cardbarrel. I asked him if he's still filling orders at this time. Haven't heard back, so I'm not sure if I should go ahead and place an order. What would you do?

Here's my LCS, Attack of the Baseball Cards:

It's hard enough getting there under normal circumstances. I don't think I've been there in at least five years, but I still get their e-mails on the off chance that my brother-in-law wants to go to Pack Wars. I wonder if they did more business today than usual..or less?

I know it makes no sense to non-collectors, but if you're reading this you might also feel that having new cards to flip through and enjoy is helpful in times of great uncertainty and/or stress. A lot of you are much more prepared for this than I am. Perhaps you've built up a pack stash for this exact reason, or you made one last run to Target, Wal-Mart, or your LCS. I was never able to get out there, and it feels unimportant but also unsettling. 

COMC certainly helps fill that void. I've got over 80 nice cards sitting in my inventory and I'm usually able to add 1-2 cheap cards per day, thanks to Challenge credit. Also I was able to make three more TCDB trades this week. I sent those envelopes out this morning, with much more concern than the usual 'don't wreck the cards' thought in my head. Some folks don't want to receive any mail at the moment. I'm not one of them, but out of respect for those who are concerned I won't send away for my COMC purchases or make any more trades until the Coronavirus is completely contained.

I do still plan to have a Free Stuff Friday exclusive event soon. However I will only send cards if and when the participants are comfortable with receiving them (and of course I will take precaution.) Oh, and one more reminder that my All-Time Teams posts are listed on the Your City, Your Team tab at the top of my blog. If you get bored you can catch up on the series. (And if I get bored I'll fix up the previous posts and release the remastered versions!)

It seems certain that the 2020 MLB season will be an abbreviated one - if it happens at all. I've wondered what will become of the NHL and NBA seasons; they've still got about a month's worth of games before the playoffs. Assuming those leagues get the "all clear" to continue by May 15 or so, it would be terribly unfair if the regular season was declared 'finished' as-is. I'm not even sure if you could cut the regular season back to 76 games without affecting the integrity of the postseason races. 

My suggestion would be to play out the regular season as scheduled but make all of the playoff series best-of-5. That would trim about a month off the schedule without creating any inequitable results like the ones produced by baseball's split-season in 1981. How would you resume an interrupted NHL/NBA season, or plan an abbreviated baseball season?

Perhaps I'll explore some potential NHL/NBA playoff scenarios in a future post, along with a list of legends who have likely played their last game if the season does not resume.

I had planned to take a blogging break in April, but it seems I've got plenty of post ideas even if there are no new cards to show off or sports to discuss. There won't be a 'closed' sign at The Collector for quite a while!

Thanks for reading, and take care out there!



  1. I placed a cardbarrel order yesterday, I did get a "processing" email like I normally do, not sure if that means much long term though.

    I also purchased season tix for the Twins this off season for the first time ever, that's no looking like the safest bet now! I think I might reduce the interleague schedule if I were MLB commish to get a reduction on the total # of games.

    1. That's a good idea. Honestly I'd say to have no interleague games, but the fact that there's an odd number of teams in each league makes that impossible. Yet another reason why that should never have been allowed to happen! Beyond that, it's really hard to say what the schedule should look like when we have no idea how much time we're working with. I think they'll be lucky to just get a couple of months, so maybe just make it all one big tournament?

      I don't think there's really any chance that the NBA and NHL resume this season at all.

  2. Cardbarrel is still adding new stock, there was an update today and I would assume if they weren't shipping they'd be something on the website. You could also send Mehmet a twitter DM I have luck there.

  3. I'm planning on putting a Card Barrel order through soon -- I'm usually able to fill my needs from newer sets at card shows, but of course all the shows in town have been (rightfully) cancelled lately.

    I'm really interested to see how MLB approaches the 2020 season. I'd rather they simply try an abbreviated season like they did in '95 rather than an '81-style split season.

  4. Glad you're not taking any sort of extended break from the blog. The title of this post had me wondering!

  5. I haven't bought much new product the last few years and to fill the void I've been reading what others have ripped open on the blogs. I didn't think about how collectors have now been cut off from new product.
    On a good note, I was able to get my Sportlots Box order shipped. Maybe I'll have to start contributing more content!

  6. It's funny, I try, and fail, to take a few weeks off from the blog -- meanwhile you plan, and fail, to try and take some time off next month... I think we all need to start realizing that we're not gonna have anything better to do for a while, so we might as well sit back and blog!

  7. I just discovered two boxes filled with mystery packs that I purchased last year from a buddy. That should keep me busy for a few days... if not longer.

    As for your question... it depends on how much time is left after the suspension is lifted. I like your idea of 5 game series. Heck... I'd be down for even 3 game series (with the exception of the finals). As for baseball... I'm hoping they're able to at least play an 81 game season.

  8. There's a whole lot of uncertainty going on right now in virtually every aspect of our society. From schools to covid-19 testing to, yes, baseball card shops being open or closed. While I understand the closing of non-essential business, many collectors, myself, included, would love to purchase/rip some new cards right about now.

  9. It's the strangest thing..I spent all day yesterday scrolling through Cardbarrel and adding nearly 200 cards to my cart - but I didn't actually submit my order. I watched a movie, went to bed, and when I woke up this morning I didn't feel the urgent need to order cards like I had all of last week. I'll probably finalize the order at some point (dont want to waste all that work) but it's as if the shopping itself was enough to satisfy me.