Saturday, March 14, 2015

Discovering the world of Baseball Bloggers

I am quite the busy person.

I know seemingly everyone says that these days, but I truly feel like I have very little time to sit down and write up posts like these.  I work "part-time" (how they consider working an average of 32-35 hours a week part-time is beyond me, but they do) at ESPN doing a variety of work from live statistics for sports to web-site maintenance and layout for  I am also a certified baseball umpire and basketball official for our state boards and will umpire and ref high school games whenever I get the chance.  On top of that, I work one day a week at my LCS to essentially fund this and my board/card game hobbies.

I am quite the silly person.

Even with all of the above, I decided that it would be a wonderful idea to pick up tutoring locally.  My mother has done it for the past 5 years and has been happy with it.  I've always been good at teaching and working with the little young'ins, and one of our family friends recently got sick and asked my mom for help with AP Physics and AP Calculus.  Even though she went to school for engineering, she had no desire to try and re-learn all this material, so I told her I could help out.  I'm 25 and recently-ish graduated from college with an actuarial science major and physics minor.  I KNOW THIS STUFF!!!!!!  I CAN HELP!!!

All good, right?

Well... not exactly.

Because this munchkin was in our town's school system, I had to get officially certified (apply for the position, hand in a bunch of HR crap, get finger-printed at our police department, ect.).  Fine.  Not a problem.  So I hand in my paperwork and schedule my fingerprint for this past Tuesday, the 10th.

Friday, the 6th:

My phone rings no less than 3 times asking me for help with tutoring individuals for a variety of reasons and subjects.  This is outside of the individual who I originally signed up to do this for (in fact, as of writing this post, I have yet to meet with him).  Since we're between high school seasons for basketball/baseball, I have had slightly more time, so I told them that I could help ONE of these individuals.  They set me up with a student who is in the middle of switching schools and has to catch up in biology and english.  Awesome.  Now I get to rack my brain for information regarding genotypes, phenotypes, Punnet squares, and Fahrenheit 451 (which is a book that I probably read the first 40 pages of and then gave up and Sparknotesed the rest).

That is not to say I haven't appreciated what I'm doing so far.  The student I'm working with definitely needs my help and I'm more than happy to give it to him.  In fact, every now and then it makes me think about taking up math or science teaching later on in my life.  We shall see.

In any case, baseball cards.  I enjoy writing (as you can probably tell if you've already read the above), and I think I'm decent enough at it to have a blog that is at least mildly interesting (probably a success if you've already gotten here!!!!!! YAY!).  I've wanted to start a blog for a while, but I didn't want it to just be about my life.  I think that's dumb (I'm not quite funny enough for that, plus, who would be my target audience???).  So I had to pick a subject that had plenty of material to write about and one that genuinely interested me.  Hence, this blog of BANGIN BASEBALL BITS!  Hooray!

For the past month I've been durdling around the internet reading up on other baseball blogs and trying to figure out which direction I wanted to go.  I came up with a couple revelations:

Successful blogs seem to have the following:

  1. Posts everyday (or very close to everyday).
  2. Lots of pictures
  3. A central theme that keeps coming back
  4. A connection to other bloggers
#1 isn't happening for me.  No way, no how.  First of all, I enjoy sitting down and writing more lengthy posts and that takes way too much time to do everyday.  Second, I don't think I could devote a block of time to this everyday.  At least not yet.  So for now, I'm putting my goal at 1-2 substantial posts a week.  I think that is more than feasible for me.

#2 could also be problematic.  Along with noticing lots of pictures in other blogs, I also noticed that everyone seemed to have a scanner.  In the (somewhat) recent post regarding my box break of Topps High Tek I had pictures taken with a camera.  I personally don't think they look terrible, but all the scans I've seen definitely are much more clean, so perhaps I'll have to invest in one.

#3 I can do.  Allen & Ginter and Atlanta Braves and pitching.  3 easy subjects that I love.

#4 Well hopefully this will grow.  I recently made a huge trade with blogger Nachos Grande who seems to be quite a popular baseball card blogger.  More on that trade later.

Something I've also discovered recently due to my perusal of blogs (and yet another reason why I haven't posted in a while) is this site called Zistle that some people seem to use to catalog their collections.  I'm pretty sure I like the site quite a bit.  I've been uploading my Allen and Ginter collection to it.  My only hesitation with it is that the site seems to not have a whole lot of people on it, so the trading feature doesn't seem all that useful.  We shall find out.

At the very least, once complete, this will let me link people to my collection on Zistle instead of giving them my huge excel spreadsheet that can be confusing for others to read (though I will absolutely keep it for myself).

OH!  ...and here's the obligatory picture that I NEED to have for a successful blog:

I give you what is now the core of my Bravos (minus Freddy Freeman).  This is all we got for this year folks.  Hold on tight!


  1. Fellow actuary, Zistle-user, card-blogger here. I saw the link from Greg Zakwin's site and came over to check yours out. Welcome to the blogging world!

    Regarding Zistle, the trading has actually picked up quite a bit in the last year. I have over 40 trades completed on there, and I'm not quite in the top-10 of traders. It really depends on what you are looking for. Zistle is great for trying to fill holes in old base-set collections and pick up miscellaneous cards from your favorite team. If you are looking for something particular (especially if it is new, rare, or high-end), you're probably not going to find it on Zistle. If you are just looking for "Any Braves that you don't have" (or in my case "any Royals that I don't have"), you're much more likely to get some good trades going there. I have made trades there as few as 3 cards, and as many as 250 going each way.

    Take care,
    -Josh D.