(Not) Live from the 2018 National Sports Collectors Convention: Wednesday

What is this?

Living in nearby Pittsburgh, I had every intention on going to the National this year. I’d never been to one and, as I’m only about two hours away, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. Things, though, were just too hectic and getting away for even a day wasn’t too reasonable. I could have done it but I’d just realize that once I got there I’d be upset for not being able to stay longer.

The good news is that, in this day and age, you can follow just about anything in real time. That’s made possible through Twitter and I thought I’d try to capture the event from the tweets that were posted and live vicariously through some of you fine people. The plan is to do this every day this week but don’t sue me if I bail on this dumb project out of boredom.

With that said, here’s the recap for Wednesday.

(Insert overly dramatic and self-absorbed open here)

Flat Earth Tweet

Oh, crap. Wait, hang on. We got a Promoted Post in the middle of the #NSCC18 timeline. Let’s start over.

Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

This is the National. And that means taking chances, right? I mean, if you’re going to do this thing, you’ve got to do it without the modern conveniences of runways and stuff. This is not the time to get squeamish about unconventional travel. If you have to walk, you’ll do it. Unopened 1986 Topps boxes and free t-shirts that will shrink upon their first trip to the dryer await us so we musn’t tarry. Chop chop, my good man. To the National!

We Here

Okay, these articles are going to be trash so I’ve got to start with at least one real visual as a preface of sorts. Thankfully, the Collectable folks have our backs.


If we’re going to do this, we need to do it right. The absolute first thing we’re doing is hitting the concessions. It’s been a long trip for some. I know. I’ve seen like 3,843 shots of airplane wings from window views. Nope. Not jealous, definitely not.

Sacrifices have been made. Monthly budgets are about to be obliterated beyond reason all in the name of buying stuff that none of us really need. Arguments will be started by angry spouses once next month’s credit card statements reach the mailbox. But we don’t care about any of that right now. Right now, it’s time to eat. Just make sure you’re not too awestruck in your surroundings.

Eh, could be worse. Frankly, if this is the worst thing to happen to you this week, you’ve done pretty well for yourself.

Man About Town

So, look. I could have started this anywhere, really. There was lots of standard National-ly stuff going on, after all. Sure, you’ve got your early, heavily discounted wax boxes. Your selfies with celebrities. Your hastily-displayed overpriced singles in cracked dealer cases. The pageantry of it all and whatnot. But none of that’s why you’re here. At least it’s not why I’m wasting my time doing this. Nah, I’m starting with this guy.

Now, we can go a lot of different directions here. Me? I’m giving this a thumbs up. Obviously, riding a bike around the world’s largest sports card convention isn’t going to be possible when the weekend hits and things really get going. But it’s Wednesday and some dealers haven’t even unloaded all of their merch yet. This is the ultimate YOLO example. Heck, there’s virtually no reason not to do this. Shoot the moon, I say, young traveler.

What Can Brown do for You?

I mean, we’ve all done it, right? Who among us hasn’t made an untimely purchase only to realize we’ve perhaps bitten off more than we can chew?

Me? Oh yeah, I’m in that boat. I once went to a mall show and proceeded to buy a collection of about 300 vintage Sports Illustrated magazines. I got a great deal on them and somehow wasn’t concerned about actually taking possession of them until the dealer kind of gave me a blank stare that translated roughly to, ‘Okay, when are you going to get this crap out of my booth?’

Making such a mistake there wasn’t too bad. It was a small show with few patrons there otherwise. But if this happens at the National where you’ve got like another 100 booths to visit, you could be in big trouble. Or could you?

We got you.

No ATM? No problem!

So it’s the end of Day 1. If you’re not sticking around beyond this, you’re fine. But here’s the thing. You know there’s that one dude that is crashing for the entire show through the weekend. Maybe he came with a grand. Maybe five. Whatever. The dollar amount isn’t all that relevant here.

What is relevant is that, my man is broke already. He found too many good deals that he couldn’t pass up and wanted to get the jump on everyone else. Maybe it was his 22nd Ohtani rookie. Perhaps it was the autographed commemorative Wade Boggs Hall of Fame 7-11 cup. Quite possibly it was the unopened case of Mark McGwire 1998 special edition Beanie Babies that was half off. As a result, now he’s stuck, trying to peddle the PSA 10 Sammy Sosa 1990 Score rookie in his cargo shorts that he brought as insurance in case, you know, this exact scenario happened. The problem is that dealers are already extended themselves and not interested in buying until they sell some more items. At least that’s what they tell him.

What’s a guy to do? First instinct is to ask his friends there for help. But it’s the freaking National. In the words of Art Carney in the Christmas episode of the Honeymooners, everyone’s busted right now or is about to be as soon as this thing’s over. There’s a time to borrow money from friends but this isn’t one of those.

Options? Anyone? We’ll it’s not Vegas, but it’ll do.


Maybe tomorrow will be better.

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