Wednesday, February 20, 2019

New YouTube Channel - SumoMenkoMan

One of my 2019 goals was to expand the sumo wrestling card reach to YouTube by starting a BBM box opening channel.  There are several channels out there already, but I wanted to bring an English-language perspective to opening BBM cards and boxes.  Plus, my son wanted some practice and experience with editing videos so he was some extra motivation to give it a go.  Since there are only a few sumo wrestling sets released every year, the channel will focus on Japanese BBM cards in general (Pro Wrestling, Basketball, multi-sport, etc...)  Maybe a few boxes of baseball, but since there are some great Japanese baseball card resources out there already, I'm not sure it'll be much value added.  I appreciate the support and I am always open to constructive feedback or any advice.  Thanks for tuning it!


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Blog Bat A Round: What's your Card Hobby / Card Industry Score?

I think mine is H8.  Intrigued? Read on!

Blogging is extremely important in the sports card hobby.  Why?  It seems to be the only/most effective/purest/best perspective look at what the backbone of this hobby is all about, what we want, what is missing, and the general frustration with the hobby/industry tension.  You want a great read on this topic...check out Collector's Crack State of the Blog.  The fact is, card companies are so far removed from the hobby base (no, gamblers and speculators are not part of the hobby base) that it's hard to imagine them really caring.  You want to know how bad it is, check out this recent post by The Collective Mind.  In a capitalistic country and economy, the card manufacturers are chasing the easy, non-sustainable money.  Gamblers' and speculators' money is too loud!  Card companies have to work through wholesalers, then either group breaking companies or cards shops, and then in many cases the unwanted portions of the products (base cards, non hits) has to work through the speculators and gamblers to get in the hands of the hobbyists.  The easy money is to cater to gamblers and speculators.  Seems dumb to ignore the group that is your long-term survival net....and a lot of overhead costs passing through all these people that the hobby base doesn't want and hates.  It's a weird system and all I can picture is the card bubble bursting at some point and the hobbyists putting our arms around all of the card industry (not just the card companies) and softly saying "I told you so, now let's fix it."

How does all this have to do with your Card Hobby / Card Industry Score?  Let me explain really quick.  One thing that has been unintentionally creeping into the hobby/industry is groups and entities mispresenting where they stand in the hobby/industry which leads to confusion on what is good about the hobby, what they can do to fix the hobby, and what things they can affect for continued growth.  Why is this happening?  The main reason, in my opinion, is that people are breaking the proven rule of "Where you sit is where you stand."  People are trying to be something they are not and the hobby/industry is letting them, because they are confused about where we all sit.  There is no scoring system or visualization to all this.  The lines have been blurred.  To help clear up this confusion, I built a Card Hobby / Card Industry Scoring System with an explanation of each area.  Some might call it irrelevant, not needed, interesting, or even controversial, but I think it is important to know where others stand in this hobby.  You are either A) a pure Hobbyist, B) a Pure Industryist, or C) part of the "grey" area in between.  In fact, the majority of us are in this grey area. 

The bottom line, though, is the further left you are toward an H10 Pure Hobbyist, the stronger and more relevant voice you have within this hobby.  Keep blogging.  Don't let the gamblers, speculators, eBay, COMC, Card-Grading Companies, Card Shops, Group-Breakers, and Industry ever speak on your behalf.  Ask them what their Card Hobby / Card Industry Score is.  Tell them what yours is!  You are the voice!

Blog Bat A Round: What is one thing you'd correct about this scoring system?  What is your Card Hobby / Card Industry Score?





H10 Pure Hobbyist: This the foundation of the hobby.  These are the set builders, blog content creators, TCDB scanners, traders, and pure enthusiasts.  Profit is not in their vocabulary and they do it for the love of sorting, cataloguing, and collecting.  Part of the Hobby Base.  (Best Example:  Billy at the Cardboard History is pegged at H10!)

H9 TCDB: One of the best tools for the Hobby Base which relies on crowdsourcing.  You can trade, catalogue, sort, blog, discuss, chat, and connect with others.  Part of the Hobby Base.

H8 Part-Time Seller for Sustainment: Hobbyists who dabbles in selling part-time to recoup some of their collecting costs.  H8s are an important part of the hobby since they are married to the hobby, but dabble enough on the industry side to understand some of the issues.  Part of the Hobby Base.

H6 Part-Time Seller for Profit: Hobbyists with more focus selling part-time to sustain and grow their collection via profit.  H7s are an important part of the hobby since they are married to the hobby, but participate enough on the industry side to understand the issues.  Part of the Hobby Base.

H5 Long-Term Speculator: Collectors who are expecting to make a long-term profit on their cards with an eventual selling of their collections.  Speculators are a niche subset of the hobby, but important because in this capitalistic economy, their money currently sustains the industry and keeps the card companies in business.

H4 Gambler / Short-Term Speculator: Collectors who look to make a quick profit through card flipping and participating in online box breaks.  Gamblers/Speculators are a niche subset of the hobby, but important because in this capitalistic economy, their money currently sustains the industry and keeps the card companies in business.

H3 Full-Time Dealer: Dealers whose livelihood depends on making a profit buying and selling cards.  They are usually very in tune with the hobbyists and gambler/speculators, but are married to the card industrial complex.  They are along for the ride with little input to Industry, but can speak somewhat on behalf of the hobbyists and gambler/speculators.

H2 Card-Show Organizer: A person bringing together hobbyists & gamblers/speculators, dealers and industry but is more in tune with dealers and the industry than with hobbyists and gambler/speculators.

H1 Hobby Journalist: A journalist who reports on the state-of-the-hobby, but also brings in Industry topics for a fair perspective.  (Best Example: Ryan at Sports Card Radio)

0 Agnostic: My wife

I1 Industry Journalist: A journalist who reports on the state-of-the-industry, but also brings in Hobbyists for a fair perspective (Best Example: Eric from the Fat Packs Podcast)

I2 The National: A group bringing together hobbyists & gamblers/speculators, dealers and industry but is more in tune with dealers and the industry than with hobbyists and gambler/speculators. (Best Example: The National)

I3: COMC/eBay: Another venue to bring together hobbyists, gamblers/speculators & dealers, but focusing on set builders and singles.

I4 Auction House: Another venue to bring together hobbyists & gamblers/speculators, but focusing on the higher end cards.

I5 Card-Supply Company: Hobby agnostic, for the most part, but a big part of the card industry supplying protective and storage products for cards.  The more cards out there, the merrier!

I6 Card-Grading Company: Hobby agnostic, for the most part, but a big part of the card industry supplying a third-party grade and protective case for cards.  The more cards out there, the merrier!

I7 Card Shop: In theory, this is a one-stop-shop where you can get all your cards, supplies, reading material, and submit for grading but focusing on set builders and singles.  Card shops are a mere allocation extension of the wholesalers. (Best Example: Mike's Stadium Sportscards)

I8 Group-Breaking Company: A mere allocation extension of the wholesaler focusing on higher end cards, hits, and gamblers/speculators.  (Best Example: Doug and Dan from MoJo Breaks)

I9 Wholesaler: I get the role of card wholesalers, but in this day and age of the internet and reliable shipping, are they even necessary anymore?  A mere allocation extension of the card manufacturer. (Best Example: GTS Distribution)

I10 Pure Industryist:  These are the card manufacturers.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

European Handball - I just can't get into it

I feel like I have a pretty diverse interest when it comes to sports, but when it comes to European Handball, I just can't get into it.  Even as an Olympic sport it is isn't my jam.  There is something about it being a game that focuses too much on the offense and scoring seems way too easy.  Pull up YouTube and let me know what you think.

 


European Handball, described as a mix of soccer, water polo, and basketball is extremely popular over here in Germany.  There are tons of local clubs and the German Handball Bundsliga, or DKB, organizes the teams and players as well as controls merchandizing.  DKB issued a license this year to Victus GmbH to manufacture these stickers which is something I can get into even if I can't get into the sport itself.  Issued in paper packs with 5 stickers to a pack (see above), this method of distribution and manufacturing is popular here in Europe as collectors like to stick their cards in albums rather than plastic sleeves.  I don't have the album unfortunately.  Let's take a quick look inside this pack:


Card 1 (#184) is of Hendrik Pekeler, a 2016 Bronze Medal Olympian and winner of the 2017 World Staring Contest.


Card 2 (#437) is a mascot card of Viaduck of the SG BBM Bietigheim team.  (Wait what, BBM??)


Card 3 (#19) sparkly trophy card.


Card 4 (#494) A team photo of the Second Tier team Handball Sport Verein Hamburg.



Card 5 (#9) This looks to be the last sticker of a 9-sticker puzzle of the championship team victory celebration.  The guy holding the trophy looks a lot like Tony Romo, but it can't be since he is on a championship team.....zingggggggg.






Obligatory scan of the back.


There you have it, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this set!