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.