Starting to sell some sports trading cards

My sports trading card collection grew larger than the cabinet door side of my Scandinavian Designs Alva credenza [1]. The first things from my collection to get listed on eBay were a couple boxes of complete card sets. They both received bids and will sell about 4 days from now. I did decide to list one BGS graded card as well to get back into the selling process. My strategy for the auctions was to do no reserve, starting at $1, and free shipping listings. Each of the auctions included a number of photos taken with my Google Pixel 7 Pro smartphone. 

Footnotes:
[1] https://scandinaviandesigns.com/products/alva-credenza

Thinking about baseball a bit

We have had some rather cloudy weather in Denver for the last couple of days. It plunged the temperature from triple digits down around 40 degrees pretty quickly. Right now I’m looking out the window and wondering if it is going to rain. My weather app says it is just a couple hours of fog that will be lingering this morning, but it feels like it will rain. We attended the Colorado Rockies vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks gave on Friday where it sort of lightly rained the entire game. Yes, that game ended with the Rockies winning 13 to 10. During that deluge of run scoring we got to see a 9 run inning from the Diamondbacks offense. Which to be honest is pretty remarkable within the scope of a major league baseball game. We had seats that were just far enough back to be under the ledge of the section above us which worked out really well given that it was lightly raining.

One of the things that we heard a ton about while driving home from the game was the new rule changes that are coming for Major League Baseball (MLB) for the upcoming 2023 season [1]. Apparently, we can expect bigger bases, rules to control defensive shifts, and probably the more impactful introduction of a pitch timer. I’m not exactly sure why bigger bases really matter. The change to the pitching clock will probably be the most important element included in these changes. Some baseball games go quickly, and other games are more glacial in nature. This effort to introduce the pitch clock is designed to help reduce the overall length of the game and increase the pace of play. It sounds like the pitch timer might speed up the pace of games by about 30 minutes. Basketball as a sport and a game easily supports the introduction of a shot clock as it becomes a constraint on the offense. This timer is a bit different and for some pitchers it is going to be something that at time is truly devastating.

Any time a pitcher is dealing with a bit of discomfort or potential pain or just gets intro trouble and is rattled on the mound the pitch time will just keep moving along. You have no time to just try to work some things out as you try to control the game from the pitching mound. I think this change will end up strongly favoring the batter in 2023. It may just help create a degree of plate rhythm for batters that will have a major change to on base percentage and ultimately batting averages. My guess would be that we will see a lot more hitters crossing the 300 club in terms of batting average. If we see anybody break into the 400 club, then that will give you a pretty good indicator that the rule changes fundamentally changed the balance of the game.

Footnotes:

[1] https://www.mlb.com/news/mlb-2023-rule-changes-pitch-timer-larger-bases-shifts

The day after watching the Royals play baseball

Today was a travel day. We drove from Kansas City to Denver. It was the day after watching the Kansas City Royals play baseball against the Cleveland Guardians. While we had a wonderful time at the old ball game the performance on the field was questionable. They lost 13 to 1 on a hot summer day during a Saturday afternoon home game. The box office receipts were for 17, 024 tickets. Things at the stadium did not feel 45% full.

The Royals game from July 9th

Thinking about sports trading cards

Yesterday, at the Target store I picked up two boxes of the 2021-22 Upper Deck, “NHL Star Rookies Hockey Trading Card Blaster Box.” This one is a nice box of sports trading cards to pick up as it has exactly what it says it has in the box. Those boxes each contained 25 star rookies from around the league. It’s not a wild box of trading cards to break open where something super valuable might be in the box. This is a predictable box to open like opening a complete set box. In the late 1980’s and 1990’s opening packs of trading cards was a big part of my adventures. A lot of those cards that were opened and sorted are sitting behind me right now in my office. Unfortunately, the vast majority of those cards were from what they call the junk wax era of the hobby. Overprinting did help get the cards into every grocery store and make the hobby accessible to anybody at a very low price point. 

These days getting sports trading cards is a very different proposition. I have active collections of ungraded Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Chiefs autograph cards. A lot of them are on card autographs, but sometimes I just buy them for the look and end up with on card stickers. Those cards for the most part I keep in a binder that I can look at from time to time in my office. My larger active collection these days includes graded George Brett cards. I have been slowly building a complete vertical of common George Brett cards in PSA/BGS. I generally don’t chase the insert and one off cards, but sometimes they are very tempting. All three of those collections are very targeted and are not the kind of thing you would get from opening a single pack of trading cards. For the most part my current collecting efforts involve watching and participating in auctions. Generally, I’m just hoping things sell at the lowest possible price point. 

My bidding strategy is highly transparent. On eBay I generally will just place a single bid for the maximum value I’m willing to pay for the sports trading card up for auction. That pretty much means that my bids to wins ratio is not very close. I put a lot more bids in on items as the first or a very early bidder and sometimes I win that auction and most of the time somebody else outbids me to win the item. That is an outcome that I’m perfectly comfortable with occurring. It lets me pretty comfortably watch and understand the bottom of the market. As a hobby, this is one where I don’t really want to be in the top end of the market. Some of the sales at the highest end are shocking. Please keep in mind that I’m a buy and hold collector of sports trading cards. I still have the vast majority of cards acquired during my collecting efforts. When I get cards graded it is generally just for my personal collection to make long term storage better. 

When the grading card companies lower prices I’ll submit a block of autographed cards mostly to have them authenticated and put in storage capsules for my personal collection. I just like having graded cards. They do take up more space at about a 1:20 ratio compared to just raw cards in a box. However, I enjoy bringing them all together into a collection. That is the value they have to me as a set of things. For the most part they are just a reminder of memories of specific players and moments in sports that bring me some type of joy. They are the kind of distraction that a solid hobby brings you from the normal routines and practices of day to day efforts.

A very welcome Friday

Last night watching the Colorado Avalanche play hockey required me staying up way past my bedtime. Thank goodness that it is already Friday and the weekend will be here shortly after a few hours of working. Playoff hockey has a different level of energy in the building from the fans watching the Colorado Avalanche and from the players. It’s intensity personified. Things during the game get very loud and people get really excited about watching the game and cheering on the Avalanche. I’m more reserved, but that does not mean it is not an experience to appreciate. The game last night ended up going into overtime which was way past my bedtime. My day started at 0530 hours the next day of course. The day has just happened to start off a little bit slower than it should have started. 

Overall my personal website seems to be functioning pretty well after the move to the new server. The hosting company completely changed the configuration and server. The amount of traffic to the site is not overwhelming by any measure, but the increase in speed in terms of loading times is noticeable to me. We will see if Google scores it differently across the various indexing efforts. An independent loading time test is always a good way to figure out if an improvement occurred. The heaviest part of the page is the banner image for sure. Removing that image would speed up the overall loading times of course, but that would be less fun so for now it is staying up top to provide an esoteric boost for the overall page. 

One of the writing process related things I try to avoid is exactly what just happened. I pull up one of these word processing documents in Google Docs and try to work from start to finish. Just now I stopped after the last paragraph and went and set up a new post on the weblog with keyword tags and all the goodness. Obviously, that is a disruptive act as it takes me out of the flow of writing. It generally spells the end of the writing event that was occurring and shortly after that I end up posting whatever was written. The order of events should be to conclude the writing routine of creating words before trying to prepare for publication. While I’m considering bad writing routine habits I have been publishing without proofreading again for the last few posts. Instead of taking the time to go back and read the content and do a little bit of grammarian style wrangling, a copy and paste exercise to publish the words occurred. 

Overall my writing has reached a point where the first draft is not terribly off putting in terms of quality on the first pass. That does not mean that I have reached a point where editing is not required of course. Even with the helpful suggestions from Google Docs along the way a few things slipped into my stream of consciousness that could be improved with a little editing. I can say that the active suggestion and editing elements of Google Docs have improved over the last year. They can be a bit distracting if you are really in the groove of writing at a solid pace of trashing the keyboard. Generally, I end up going back to catch and fix the things that pop up along the way which creates a series of little disruptions in my writing routine. It would be better in terms of writing flow to work with all of them at the end of the creation process.

Oh graded card prices

Right now I have 9 open bids on eBay and that always seems somewhat exciting. Right now the sports grading card services have raised prices and reduced outputs. Part of that happened due to the pandemic and the other part was due to the sheer demand in the market that outpaced capacity for grading. That means generally the graded sports cards that I spend time bidding on have gone up in price recently. It seems like the sports card collecting hobby has gotten a little bit out of control. I generally just watch the rookie card prices of George Brett and Joe Montana. Sometimes I look them up in the Market Movers application from Sports Card Investor. 

People are generally sending in more modern cards for grading and a few high value cards vs. the mass of general player cards that I slowly collect. One of my side collections has been to generally pick up the complete catalog of George Brett cards in graded form. Right now I’m focused on working my way back from 1975 to present. However, the prices have been slowly escalating and it is somewhat interesting. For the lower graded cards I could pick them up slowly over time, but right now for some reason it seems like all the graded cards are getting purchased at a premium. Not only is that very possible due to the decline in grading, availability, and market factors, but also it is possible that another collect is building up the same set and bidding against me all the time. It would only take two of us to generally raise the card values on the market floor of a very targeted collection of a specific player.

Is now a good time to buy trading cards?

Earlier today I was wondering if now would be the right time to pick up some additional sports trading cards. Right now people are at home (maybe for the next 30 days) and will probably have the time to put up auctions on eBay for sports cards. Posting things on eBay involves taking pictures and writing explanations. My prediction is that the number of sellers will outpace the number of buyers and prices will be favorable. It is also entirely possible that people might turn to their hobbies for solace and the prices might slightly rise or remain flattened. I’m probably going to get into the market and buy some graded George Brett cards, Royals autograph cards, and maybe some Kansas City Chiefs autograph cards.