Welcome Trollites to the Collective Troll’s 299th Post!!! The number has risen pretty quick with all of the group pack breaks of late, but that has really only accounted for less than 20 posts… Anyway, for this momentous event I am going to take a quick (who am I kidding, really LONG) break from the group pack rips to do something a little different here. I did have a bunch of “Card of the Day” posts planned for this week and weeks upcoming, but they will remain on hold until this pack ripping is done and over with. No regrets here. I just had no idea how much time it would take to post the results of 84 packs (most with 14 cards in them). I know I can speed them up by limiting the number of cards that I scan, but I feel like if I pull a HOF player then I NEED to scan him. Same goes with a goofy picture or a really great action shot or a card of one of my childhood favorites. Any of those cards I just feel like I NEED to share them with the world, with the entire Blog-O-Sphere…Oh, speaking of Blog-O-Sphere (try not to slip on that smooth segue folks) I wanted to use this non-pack-ripping, milestone post to talk about the first ever, 1st Annual 2009 Blogger Awards. The brains behind these awards are two awesome bloggers in their own rights-Drew from Drew’s Cards and Alfredo from My Past Time…I Love It! Drew is the gracious host of the awards. He accepted and tabulated and organized all of the nominations and he is processing and tracking all of the votes. This is 100% confidential by the way. Only Drew and the person voting know who votes for whom and it will not be made public as to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings. Hosting the awards is a ton of work and Drew has a ton more ahead of him and unfortunately there is no reward or award for hosting the awards, so I want to take a moment and say THANKS DREW!!!!!! I would love to take up a collection of Nick Swisher and Robby Cano cards to send your way to say thanks after this is all said and done (don’t want them to be misconstrued as a bribe), but for now I just want to thank you for graciously volunteering all of your time and efforts so that the great blogs out there can receive their proper recognition. You can view all of the nominees and categories for the 2009 Awards right here. There is a vote for athlete, coach and sports moment of the year and there are votes for top products in both football and baseball as well. You can vote for your favorite insert set of the year, your favorite autograph and there are also a slew of categories celebrating You Tubers. It’s all on the front page of Drew’s blog. You can also vote for the regular Blogger Awards there, too. That is what I am going to talk about right now. A big part of blogging for me is connecting, communication and trading with other collectors out there. Like a lot of folks my introduction to card blogs involved scouring the want lists and trade lists of other bloggers out there. Eventually I started a blog of my own, but in the beginning I was just a reader named Troll who traded with bloggers. I think I started out as a pretty good trader. Folks seemed pretty happy with what I was sending and in the beginning there were a lot of people who were pretty excited to be able to get rid of all of their Devil Rays cards and get something in return for them. After a month or two, I ran out of cards and I didn’t have the funds to replenish them, so my days as a top-flight trader were very short lived. Being the best trader isn’t easy. These guys have like 30 deals going on at once. Keeping everyone’s cards together, going to the post office everyday, keeping everyone happy but keeping your collection happy, too, is a crazy balancing act and not everyone can do it. The five bloggers nominated for the Trader of the Year Award never seem to run out of great cards, they respond to trade offers quickly and they are mega super generous and trading with these top-traders is always a great experience. Before I name the 6 deserving nominees, I want to give a shout out to two of my favorite trading partners who for whatever reason didn’t make the final cut. These two have spoiled me this past year, filled my mailbox and my collection. They have sent me way more amazing stuff than I could ever pay back (but I will! Someday) and I wanted to thank them here on this post. It is funny, but both of them are Blue Jays fans (that is why I seek Jays cards in trades, to pay these 2 back!) and amazing internet friends. I get (almost) just as excited to get an email from them as I do when I get a mind-blowing package. They are Duane, who lives on the republican highway of central Ohio. He is a Jays fan and an Allen and Ginter mini maniac-he runs the blog Democratic Roadkill. The other super trader is Joe L from Upstate New York. He is a Jays fan and a Bills fan and a hockey fan of some team, too. He also collects Grady Sizemore and a class A great guy. He runs a blog, but doesn’t update it, ever-it’s called Cobb and Halladay and I thought he might update it now since the trade, but who knows… Either way these two guys definitely deserve an Honorable Mention (which is what I am giving them) as Trader of the Year because they represent everything a great trader should embody. So do these five nominees. I will say that all of these categories are very tough to pick from. I have traded with all 6 of these guys, some of them MANY times. They are all super generous, have great stuff and aren’t afraid to share it. They are collectors first. They aren’t dealers; they don’t make money on their cards. They love this hobby and they make everyone who trades with them love it even more. Okay, here are the nominees…First up is My Past Time… I Love It. Alfredo runs this blog; he is a rabid Florida Marlins fan with a long list of players he collects. He has a TON of cards and will always have the distinction of being the guy who finished off my 1978 Topps set. Next up is Ryan’s Memorabilia Blog. Mike (Ryan) is a Baltimore Orioles super collector and lover of all things Cal Ripken, Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer and all of the great Birds. I collect Brian Roberts and he has tripled my Roberts collection and I still owe him. The next nominee is another O’s fan and fan of all things bearded. I have only traded with Beardy’s Baseball Blog a couple of times. He has also hooked me up with plenty of B-Rob cards, but I remember him most for efforts in this years Gint-A-Cuffs which totally hooked me on that product. Number 4 on the list is a great friend. We worked out quite a few trades before he started his blog-actually I sent him one package and he sent me about 10. This guy is an amazing friend, a GREAT trader, a huge Texas Rangers fan and a very deserving nominee. Oh yeah, I am talking about Brian from Texas and his blog Play at the Plate. Next up is my buddy Chris and his blog Nachos Grande. He was one of the first bloggers I traded with before I started blogging myself. He is by far the most organized collector in the entire blog-o-sphere. He has amazing often updated lists and is very easy to trade with because you always know what he has and what he needs. He is also the only person out there who rips Topps Heritage as obsessively as I do, so you can imagine we have worked out quite a few SP for SP trades. The 6th and final nominee for this very important Award is the mysterious Mojo Hand. I can remember posting a whole bunch of refractors as trade bait a few months back. I had never communicated with Mr. Mojo prior to that. He had commented that he wanted them all. Okay, whatever I thought. Then I got an e-mail from him with a photo attached of a bunch of autographs and relics he was offering up. Holy crap, I jumped on that trade. Since then I have come home to a few emails from the mysterious Mojo Hand saying he pulled a hit with my name on it. I love that! He also gets points for being a super collector of my cousin (in-law) the legendary Cat Osterman. This was a hard one to choose. I ended up picking 2, ending my vote in a tie. All 6 of these guys have trading down to a science and all of them have seriously upgraded my collections.
Another Award is for the Most Creative Blogger. This is another biggy (actually they all are) because card collecting walks a fine line and to many outsiders this hobby can be seen as boring. Of course outsiders think we are all fat, bald, geeks, nerds and freaks, too. Anyway, it isn’t hard to come across as mundane when writing about a flat piece of cardboard. It takes a whole bunch of creativity to keep things interesting. I personally spend between 5 and ten hours a day reading and writing about baseball cards (I know, I need to get a life!) and if there weren’t creative and interesting people writing these blogs, I would be pretty bored and would probably stop. Fortunately there are a ton of amazingly creative bloggers out there that keep things fresh, exciting and interesting. At least 4 of the 5 nominees for this Award have the savvy to keep you coming back and wanting more. The nominees are: I’ll start with Beardy’s Baseball Blog. He is the 2001 Ichiro in this awards picture. He is nominated for Rookie of the Year, Blog of the Year (MVP), Best Trader and Most Creative. He deserves them all, too. Beardy is hilarious. He writes a great blog, he knows and loves the hobby and the sport and he keeps it fresh and funny. The next three nominees I will group together because that is how I found them all. Months before I bit the bullet and started a blog with a silly name I was just a regular blog reader. There were 5 blogs that I read every single night after I got home from work (I used to work during the day). I tried a lot of others, but there were 5 in particular that really stood out to me. They all had a little something extra, some savvy and creativity that I never before experienced in this hobby. Keep in mind at that point the few cards I had were packed away in the garage. I was not collecting nor did I intend on collecting again. It began as casual reading to kill some time while my wife was at school, but it turned into a reading obsession. Those 5 blogs are what roped me back into the hobby, what made me want to spend all of my time in front of a computer and spend all of my money on cards and postage. I don’t know whether to hate them or thank them, but those five special blogs (which are still 5 of my favorites) are White Sox Cards, Dinged Corners, Cardboard Junkie, Autographed Cards and the Night Owl. Three of those 5 are nominees for Most Creative Blogger. They all rock and it isn’t because they have better cards than everyone else or because they have some sort of fancy degree-it’s because they make collecting fun and interesting. They love to collect and they love to talk about it and it shows. They see past hoarding and move on to something deeper and you never know what they will write about next, but you know you want to be there to read it. Anyway, the 5 nominees for Most Creative Blogger are: Beardys Baseball Blog, The Night Owl, Cardboard Junkie, Dinged Corners and The Collective Troll. Hopefully you have paid a visit to that last blog I mentioned at some point in the past. You may have been bored to tears by those long and drawn out posts or you may have laughed at the implosion of his favorite team, the Tampa Bay Rays. Yes, I was nominated for that award, but I am not going to suggest that you vote for me. I know it sounds terribly cliché, but it is seriously an honor to be nominated. I am honored to have my name mentioned alongside those 4 amazing blogs. Beardy, Patricia, Greg and Dayf are all AMAZING writers and put together amazing stories that leave me in amazement. That said, PLEASE, please, pretty please with a refractor on top, go over to Drews Cards and vote right now for one of these fine nominees. The more readers and bloggers who voice their opinion and vote, the more meaningful these awards will become. There are other awards to discuss-The Rookie of the Year, The Coolest (Best) Blog Design, The Biggest and Best Boxbreaker of the Year and the biggest one of all-the MVP, the Blog of the Year. I am gonna have to save my breath on those for another time because I can’t afford to be late to work again. Just please head on over here and vote! These are peer awards, reader’s choice if you will. If you are a blogger or blog reader, then it is your choice and you should make that choice. Excluding myself these nominees are the cream of the crop and they deserve the recognition for all of their hard work-so go and show your appreciation and vote, PLEASE!!!! Regular blogging will resume tomorrow. Until then, vote. In case you were wondering the relevance of the cards shown in this post-they are all Award Winners. Cy Youngs, Rookie of the Year and MVP winners (and they were all recently scanned on the computer I am using). I love a good tie in. All of the nominees that I listed so far are linked so you can check out their blogs and make an informed decision. Oh, if you are wondering why I made a big deal out of post #299... First, I miscounted and thought it was 300. Second, it is a two part post. #300 will be up by morning with the rest of the nominees. Have a happy! Happy collecting! Troll out.