Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Where Does Your "Fandom" Lie?

EDITOR'S NOTE:  My wife is out of town for the rest of the week training for her new job and I've run out of interesting things to watch on Netflix, so I'm going to riff on a thought that crossed my mind just now.  You have been warned.

Initially, the title of this post was "Baseball Fan or Baseball Card Fan?" but it wasn't hooky enough.  Then I thought I could expound on the topic and go with "Are you a Baseball Fan who collects cards or a Baseball Card Collector?" but that title was too long.  So I went with a general question to trick you into clicking over to my blog from your blogroll.

Which brings me to the main point of this post.  Which of these sentences best describes you?

    Because I am a "baseball card collector first and a baseball fan second" kind of guy.  And I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority in this regard within the sports card collecting blogosphere.

    In all honesty, I'd consider myself a sports spectator/observer/enjoyer but would never use the f-word as an adjective to describe me.  No, not that f-word!!!??!??!!  This f-word: fan.

    Don't get me wrong, I love me some sports.  I've spent my entire life playing sports.  Basketball, baseball, football, golf, skiing, hiking, biking, hunting, rollerblading, etc., etc., etc.  I've done it all.  I'm just not a die-hard fan* of any of them.

    *Although I'm a die-hard golfer, I'm not even close to a fan of professional golf.  I have no idea who the current #1 ranked golfer is.  I don't remember who won any of the majors this year.  I'm not sure if this is a Ryder Cup year or not.  Weird, huh?

    I watch many of the major sporting events -- NFL playoffs and SuperBowl, World Series, March Madness, College Bowl Games, the Olympics, PGA Majors -- when I can, but the SuperBowl is probably the only one that I consider "must-see TV".  Its just not one of my priorities.

    I don't watch SportsCenter (mainly because we haven't had cable for over three years).  I rarely listen to sports radio.  GolfDigest is the only sports magazine to which I subscribe (and I'm pretty sure that subscription has recently lapsed).  Even the Royals blogs on my sidebar only get the occasional glance.  Deadspin is the only sports-blog that I have in my bookmarks and I usually only go there for the Drew Magary articles, because they are funny.

    I don't understand Sabermetrics.  I don't play fantasy football or baseball.  I don't know which teams are currently playoff contenders and which are the cellar-dwellers.  I have no idea who was signed or traded now that the NFL lockout is over.  And, worst of all, I have no real motivation or intention to search out that information.

    I don't go to many professional sporting events because they are usually too far away and/or too expensive.  When I do go to professional events, I always have a great time, but I've never had one of those moments that creates a life-long fan.  Maybe I never will.    

    Truth be told, if Luke Hochevar was a quarterback I'd be collecting football cards.  Or if he was an NBA point guard, this would be a basketball blog.  I got back into cards because of him.  And, just like my John Stockton collection a decade ago, when Hochevar cards are no longer being produced and/or I've tracked down all of his cards that I can afford, I'll probably stop collecting baseball cards (at least until his younger brother makes it to the bigs).

    I collect cards for the sake of collecting.  I love the hunt of finding a card I don't have.  I love working out a trade with a fellow collector.  I love the thrill of opening a bubble mailer or a fresh pack of cards.  I enjoy the collecting of cards more than I enjoy the cards themselves (which is probably why I rarely read the backs of the cards with any vigor or enthusiasm).

    I'm not sure if it was nature or nurture or a combination of both that has made me this way, but, in the words of Popeye, "I am what I am and that's all that I am."

    So, what about you?  Feel free to vote in the above poll and I'd really love for comments explaining your position in the comments section.


    Ryan G said...

    I know I'm a card collector more than a fan, because I can look at cards and tell you if I have them or need them, but I couldn't tell you who's leading the standings, who has more home runs, or what pitcher threw the last no-hitter (okay, that I know, Ervin Santana). I'm a little better at it this year than most, partly because I have more time, and partly because involvement in the blogging community has made it a bit more important to me to know what's going on. Plus, the ESPN Sportscenter app tells me everything important I need to know. I have my favorite players for my personal collection, but to be honest I don't live and die by them.

    I don't care much at all for sports other than baseball, but I'll go to games or matches and enjoy myself. I like going to baseball games, especially in new stadiums for the different experiences, and in minor leagues because it's easier to be closer to the action and involved in the game.

    I also know I'm a collector more than a fan because I stopped collecting baseball cards in '98, and I stopped following baseball at the same time. But while baseball dropped off my interest list, I started collecting non-sports cards, a big part of my current collection. Plus I have other smaller collections (hey, another post idea for sometime this week). So even if baseball hadn't walked into my life in '89, I'm sure I would still be collecting something.

    night owl said...

    I've always been a baseball card fan first and card collector second. My fandom comes and goes, but I don't think I could collect if there wasn't some sort of interest in watching the game.

    Very little interest in the other sports though. Only keep up on them because of my job.

    SpastikMooss said...

    I put myself as somewhere in the middle, but then I read your post and so much resonated (especially the paragraph about no Sportscenter and Drew Magary articles) that maybe I am more a collector first. I know humorous cards brought me back and then a few player collections kept me addicted, and my blog probably would be more baseball themed if I had played more baseball video games than football video games as a kid.

    All that said, I think with baseball I'm cards first, game second. With football I'm game first, cards second. Baseball I'll catch the occasional game over drinks. Football, if I have cable, I will watch all Sunday every Sunday until the Super Bowl.

    Colbey said...

    I'm a card collector first. The reason I say that is when I first started collecting baseball cards I really didn't care for watching much baseball...or any sport for that matter.

    I'm also a huge fan of non-sports cards so if all the major sports went on strike or lock-out I'd be fine collecting Garbage Pail Kids or comic related sets.

    As I've gotten older I do have a better appreciation of major league sports and I enjoy watching them much more now than I did as a kid. This also brings a new appreciation to card collection as I have a better "connection" to the players on the cardboard.

    Pirates Treasure Room said...

    I am definitely a fan of the game first and a card collector second. I've always loved watching the games whether it was a Pirates game or some other team. I find that there are players on all 30 teams I like watching (even the Yankees, Brett Gardner is the man). With card collecting I find myself sticking with just the Pirates or players who have played for the Burgh in the past.

    This is a really interesting question and I'm curious to see how the rest of the blog world responds.

    BTW thanks for following my recently started blog. (shameless plug)

    Spankee said...

    I voted none of the above. I always collected cards as a kid, but then again I typically collected anything I could get. I have always been a big sports fan. I got back into cards when guys I grew up with started making the pros. I don't really fit into any of the categories because I my sports enthusiasm has little to do with my card collecting, but I am a fan of both.