“Hey, Tony! What Have You Been Up To?!”
Well thank you, dear reader. I am glad you asked. As you may have figured out by now, I like to collect things. From what I have learned, those within the ballhawk community seem to have a predisposition to collect. The obvious collection usually involves baseballs, but often times this is not the first collection started by eventual ballhawks. My first collections were six-fold, baseball cards, Ninja Turtle action figures, Micro Machines, LEGO, coins, and pencils. It seems that the vast majority of little boys back in the 80s and 90s collected baseball cards at come point, but I still have my tens (hundreds?) of thousands of baseball cards still kept in safe-keeping at my mom’s house. I have little to no use for them now, but if I were to crack open those boxes and look and smell those cards, I’d be right back in my grade-school mentality all over again.
As for the Ninja Turtles, Micro Machines, and LEGO sets, those eventually fell by the wayside, as nearly every kid is groomed by society to give up such childish toys. Of all of these “toys” I wouldn’t mind sitting down for a few days and building sweet things out of LEGO pieces (I’d probably also like to shoot a few Micro Machines using the Micro Machine air-craft carrier holder – bonus points if you actually remember one of these, but that’d keep my busy for all of 5 minutes).
The coins? Sure, I started strong on the state quarters (thanks grandma!), but that got boring and the flooding of the market with these coins made them worth, let’s see, 25 cents. I’d love to own some coins from the Roman and Greek empires, maybe a few pieces from BC, but that’s expensive and not a fascinating as my other passions.
Pencils?! Yeah, I collected a few shoe boxes of pencils. It started with a cool vending machine at school that cost 35 cents and you got a cool pencil, usually with an NFL quarterback on it (I remember getting a couple John Elways back in the day). My mom noticed that I liked getting these pencils and would pick up other (what she thought were) “cool” pencils. Sometimes they were cool, like the ones that changed colors based on your temperature, but most of them were just hokey designs. Then my grandma, who is a pack-rat at best, hoarder at worst, started giving me some of the super-old pencils she had (1930s – 1960s) and then kept picking up seasonal pencils, similar to the hokey ones I got from my mom. I just wanted to have a cool (albeit small) NFL pencil collection, and it turned into a collection of any and every pencil (sometimes pen) that still trickle in today.
So those were my “Past Collections”, onto the “Current Collections”…
- Baseballs – Self-explanatory, see previous blog posts.
- Game-Used Baseball Memorabilia – What started as winning an autographed Matt LeCroy jersey back in 2005 remained harmlessly dormant until 2011. Once I ended up getting a pair of Michael Cuddyer gloves and a Luke Hughes (Drew Butera model) bat at the games, I was hooked! I primarily want to collect Trevor Plouffe items, due to the namesake of this blog and because he has been so kind over the past year or so. All of these items will find a great home in my mancave, which will be Twins themed! (Ticket stubs included)
- Doctor Who DVDs – This may not seem like a “collection”, but this is no ordinary TV show. What started as a crazy idea back in 1963 has morphed into an identifying staple for the British culture. Not all the episodes survived (if you want the explanation, look it up, TV back in the 60s is fascinating and CRAZY), but the overwhelming majority survived, especially once the 3rd Doctor took over. Yes, The Doctor “regenerates”, he is currently on his 11th incarnation. I currently have 120 of the “Classic Series” releases (1963-1989 & 1996 TV Movie) as well as all 7 “New Series” box sets (6 “seasons” and 1 “specials box”). By 2013 they plan on being current with all of the “Classic Series”, as they have been releasing them in waves since they have to restore many of the older episodes. (Sorry for the tipped-over DVDs, those are the ones I have been able to watch, and I’d rather not lose my place, so I didn’t bother to tip them back up for the photo.)
- Concert Memorabilia – When I go to concerts I try to get in the front row. I want to really see the action, be front and center to take it all in. Often times during the show the musicians will toss a guitar pick, or a drum-stick into the audience, those are the items I like to get my hands on. Then once the show is over I usually wait up by the stage and try to get any picks/sticks that weren’t launched into the crowd, as well as my personal favorites, THE SET-LISTS! These set-lists give a great visual transcription of that show. For me it’s a great way to re-live that concert.
- Autographs – I got many baseball autographs, but I do not go after them as much as I have in the past, now that I am busy trying to snag balls. I do still try to get some musicians’ autographs, as well as comedians after they perform.
- CDs (music) – Here is the big one, my pride and joy, the biggest collection of them all, MUSIC! I am not quite sure how many CDs I have, but I know that its in the thousands. My favorite band (historically, not currently… yes there is a difference) is Weezer, and I collect EVERY CD that they put out, not just commercially available, but radio promos, test presses, singles, and other random goodies. At last count my Weezer total was well over 100, so I would guess its around 150 (maybe more).
So that was the long way to get to my original point… “What have I been up to?”
I have been reviewing all of my CDs, every single one that I have displayed in my room (which accounts for about 75% of my collection, the other 25% are old ones that I rarely listen to… think Hootie & the Blowfish). Each year I do a March Madness bracket and select 128 bands (or another tourney-friendly number) and give these brackets to my friends. We fill them out and see which bands are peoples favorites, it’s just a fun ice-breaker for those who love music. With that being said, I felt like I have focused too much on my “Top 10″ list for each current year, but I’ve never really reviewed the overwhelming majority of my albums.
So what are we talking about here? I will review every single album and EP (no singles or promos), catalog the album, artist, release date, my grade for the album, and my favorite and second favorite songs. Once in a spreadsheet, I will have a nice record of my favorite albums and be able to dissect the data as I please (which artists have the best career grade, which albums are my favorite based solely on album grades, etc.).
Go ahead, call me a nerd, but I am doing what I like. Find those hobbies and interests and run with them! Though my collection of CDs is ever expanding, I currently have a list of about 1,100 to review. I have reviewed close to 200 of these albums already, and I only started this project in November!
Now that you know what I have been up to, I ask you, dear reader, what have you been doing this off-season? What’s your fix during a baseball-less winter?
(My thank you list is short, though very wide. THANK YOU to every musician. I envy your talent and bravery. Although I may be making a list that critiques your talent, in no way are my opinions the ‘harsh truth.’ I am only trying to figure out my favorites, not spread dirt or hurtful comments that insult your talent and effort. With that being said, there are a handful of artists that those statements do not apply: Nickelback, John Mayer, Metallica, and Justin Beiber all come to mind rather quickly. I kid, I kid… or do I?)