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

So yesterday, I toyed with the idea of discontinuing these posts, unaware of how long I wanted to keep this going. But I figure I’m basically halfway there so, why quit now? Plus, there was too much weirdness going on at the National again to ignore.

If you are late to this party, you need to start with Wednesday’s recap then also the one from yesterday.

On with the show.

Turn that frown upside down, mister

As someone with a marketing degree, some things really annoy me. It’s like any other profession, I guess. Like, if you mow lawns, doesn’t it bother you to see some novice out of there, hacking away, cutting the grass all haphazardly and random as if they couldn’t care less? I mean, I’m not an obsessed lawn guy but I know you folks exist.

I see things that just don’t always look right. Not only are they not right, they’re blatantly and patently extra obnoxious because they’re just so wrong.

The details are small, but they are important.

So, look – you’re having fun, right? Right?!

Nah, not really.

Impossible is nothing!

YOU’RE BEING RIPPED OFF

In searching through the #NSCC18 posts on Twitter, I’m constantly amazed at the bizarro, random stuff that’s there. Some of it is related to other, similar acronyms. Some of it is just dumb people trying to get over by posting inherently unrelated content but using a hashtag that know people are actively searching for.

But beyond that silliness, most of it is related to the promoted posts. Now, these are people paying good money to have their stuff show up in, what they likely assume, are highly targeted areas. You know, people that are interested in that stuff. To be fair, sometimes, the demographics are a match. For example, the Keystone Comic Con has one and I know there’s a halfway decent crossover between comics and card collectors. But I can assure you, most of the ones in my feed are almost entirely nonsensical, unrelatable pieces of garbage.

Today, this one caught my eye.

Now, this didn’t catch my eye because of the content. I’m not a car nut or anything but it’s perfectly fine, I guess. And it’s not some weird one telling you how the sun isn’t really 93 million miles away. What was interesting was that this ad, which doesn’t reach me at all, showed up an incredible four times in about the span of like 100 tweets or something. Four impressions, completely wasted into thin air, never to be seen again. I can’t tell you a single time I’ve tweeted about cars and have no idea why I would get this one unless the targeting was limited to something as banal as the ol’ and entirely unreliable 35-44 demographic.

This is not for you people. I only mention this to let the fine @CDLenard2 know that his/her impressions are being wasted.

Duped (Again)

Hey, look – it’s that Stephen Curry guy from yeste … ah, crap.

What’s that smell?

Now, look. Things are starting to pick up. I’ve never been to one of these things but can only assume that Friday and Saturday are probably the largest days of the show. Yesterday had good energy and all, but today, it’s got to be undoubtedly more crowded as people took off to make a three-day weekend.

More people means more crowding. More crowding means more cramped and, ultimately, less desirable conditions. Less desirable conditions and more cramping means we get to know a lot more about certain people than we probably care to. To this point, the only people you’ve likely had to get up close and personal with are the people you sat next to on the plane.

So, okay, jettisoning that thought for a minute but keep it on the burner because we’re going to need it shortly.

A few of you have been around the National for the last couple of days and are used to this drill. You’ve got your routine and, if necessary, a checklist of things you need before you leave each day. The last thing you want to do is leave your hotel room, take a shuttle to the site, show up and realize you forgot something important. Money? Check. Cards to trade/sell? Check. Ball cap? Check. Fanny pack and extra fanny pack in case the zipper breaks? Check.

For the love of everything sacred, please, please, please don’t forget the most important thing of all: Your personal hygiene checkup.

Choose Wisely

One thing that I’m getting a good feel for at the National are the fashion trends. Now, these aren’t so much trends as they are disasters, but you do you. I mean, I spend my vacations in Mexico walking around with a Stetson on. Not for everyone and, yeah, pretty obnoxious. I get it. But there are quite clearly three types of people at the National.

First is arguably the most common. These are the people that do not change their dress code at all. You do not concern them but they are also unwilling to look like a complete and utter fool for the sake of comfort. This is business as usual with no change from their everyday routine. If I had to guess, I’d say this is probably around 55% of the crowd. Just eyeballing from afar and such.

Second, we’ve got the person that is dressing comfortably at all costs. This person also does not care what you think of him/her but has taken it a step further. I can’t express how little you matter to them on virtually every level. You will be out of their lives by the end of the day or, at worst, the weekend. Like, you won’t even remember them so why should they care that you see them rocking a neon green Vans mesh hat, sweatpants with 18 pockets, or special orthopedic shoes that are ridiculous looking but the most comfortable things on the planet? I’m going out on a limb and saying this is about 40% of the attendance.

Finally, you’ve got the attention seekers. Now, these are people with the clothing designed for one purpose – to cause a reaction. Maybe said apparel is politically motivated. Perhaps it’s a rare gamer worth thousands of dollars. Maybe it’s akin to one of those stupid t-shirts you see at the beach with an overprint of a cartoon body of someone in really good shape.

Whatever the case, it’s to draw a reaction. Now, said reaction is not necessarily the important thing. Rather, it’s that any reaction is elicited. You can categorize this where you wish.

I’ve seen dumber thi … no I haven’t

I’m mostly doing this as a humorous bit but there is some real-world stuff going on at the National. No, I’m not talking about things like petty theft where a kid gets caught up and, I don’t know, tries to steal a $5 Griffey 1989 Topps traded card. I mean, like real stuff.

Okay, so look. This type of stuff is prevalent in the hobby and it’s one of the things that’s given it an ugly name. I don’t really do autographed stuff so this is a non-factor for me. But there are people spending hundreds and even thousands of dollars for legit pieces, so it’s kinda important.

Much of it isn’t on the up and up. Now, I’ve always kind of chuckled when I read the reports that estimated something like 90% of all autographs are fake. Stop with that nonsense. Who’s faking a Jeromy Burnitz autograph? Or Rich Gedman? Or Kevin McReynolds? You can go on and on. Most baseball players, while extremely talented, are largely inconsequential in the grand scheme of autograph collecting. You’re telling me that even half of all Steve Jeltz autographs are fake? Stop. Those items aren’t forged nearly as much for the simple reason that they’re barely worth the item they’re printed on. Certainly no offense to those guys (I loved me some Burnitz), but come on. Their signed, uncertified cards could probably be found in most dollar boxes and such.

The ones that are being forged are the big fish. Ruth, Jordan, Gretzky, Trout, etc. Others as well. Hundreds of others. Are 90% of those fake? Maybe. But to unequivocally state that almost all autographs are fake is animated hyperbole. Not true.

Here’s the thing with this guy. Let me give you a scenario. You are a very recreational computer hacker. Like, okay, you’ve never hacked any actual computer system, but you’ve read all kinds of great manuals on how to do it if you had to do it. Maybe you’ve experimented a little with your PC. Maybe your ultimate goal would be something crazy like trying to bypass the security on your neighbor’s Wifi – I mean, you know that dude is crazy, you’ve just got to dig up the evidence. That sort of junk. Nothing too nuts.

Now imagine you find yourself a little strapped for cash. You knew you shouldn’t have bought that Peloton but you just couldn’t resist. Clicking the ‘My Account’ button your bank’s home page over and over isn’t going to magically show a larger balance. At least it hasn’t in the half hour you’ve been trying. You’ve got to do something. Anything. This is like a Choose Your Own Adventure deal. What do you do?

Find some extra work? Nah, too hard. See if you can get an advance from your job? Not viable. Wait, I got it. Hack into the Federal Reserve Bank. I know, seems over the top, right?! This is kind of what that is. If this guy was going to pull this off, he should have tried at a much smaller show that wouldn’t draw attention. Instead, he sought the National because it’s where the most collectors would be and, ergo, where he could get the most sales. Problem is it’s also where many of the foremost experts on autographs happen to be.

You honestly can’t make this stuff up.

Don’t write checks you can’t cash

We’ve all been there, right? Maybe you ran your mouth off intentionally because that’s just who you are. Or maybe a few drinks got into your system and you couldn’t help yourself. Whatever the case, we’ve all written checks we regretted later.

Sometimes those checks are literal. Like, the adrenaline got to be a bit much and you figured you’d have the money by the time that dealer went to cash your check for that PSA 10 card you knew you had no business of buying. But this opportunity might never come again, you thought. Yes, there are physical checks that get some into trouble but most of the time, those suckers are in the form of running your mouth.

We all like to feel important. Maybe gain accolades from somewhere or some person. And most of us are starstruck. We can’t leave celebrities alone and Twitter has only made this worse. Now, at any given point, celebrities are within earshot. Most of the time they won’t respond but hey, shoot your shot, right?

Now, HQ Trivia host Scott Rogowsky is in Cleveland. He’s doing photo ops, signing things, and generally just being the great guy he, by all indications, seems to be. Will he get back to you? Nah, probably not. But whatevs. We’re just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks here. Nothing meaningful will come out of …

Wait, what? This is happening. Wow. Congrats, and all, Choco people. You did it. You got Rogowsky to show up? Props for that. Get yourselves ready. Shine up those dishes because we’ve got a real-life celebrity showing up.

But Rogowsky needs an answer. I mean, it’s almost 10:00 p.m. and he needs to know. Is the offer still good?

Choco excitedly confirms.

I can’t believe this is happening. This is legit, you guys. Rogowsky, stand up guy that he is, follows through and shows up.

But, Houston, we have a problem.

Oh, come on, people. Button it up.

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