Hey there. How've you been? I mean really - how have you been?
It times like these I feel like I have to ask, but I ask beyond pleasantries, I am expressing a genuine interest. After thirty years of trying to avoid people and conversations and close relationships and poorly lit parties I've softened in my days, and in my most recent count of near-isolation, that tallies about 373 days, I've grown at times apathetic but also more compassionate than ever I ever expected and can hold eye contact longer than before and can now take a breath, think of something other than my own comfort and say...how are you?
Take a free moment for self-reflection. Assess. It's unhealthy keeping your head down and your face covered and your jaw clenched for so long. Breathe (safely). Take a clean breath. Stare at the sunset, any bold celestial object or a bird in the yard or your dog's muzzle and relax.
Welcome back, Plain Gray Swatch.
This blog was most active in the days from 2011-2015. Those days were different than whatever we find ourselves in now, certainly much simpler and cheaper, there was a lot more toilet paper available and for the most part I think we all slept a lot easier at night. In our little world, only semi-corrupted with exclusive licenses and on the precipice of a motley of color-coded parallels and disorganized card isles, it was simply an easier time than today. There were no shortages of the paper products we adore, no lines or knife fights to flip unlicensed memorabilia on the online auction site. Things were easy, indeed, but were they better? And in our ongoing theme of self-reflection, were they necessary?
I'm inclined to say no, at least for me 5-8 years ago. A quiet young 'professional' still able-bodied enough to play three baseball games every weekend, a new apartment in a new/old city and a new dog and a tree to sit under and drink the first craft beer I could ever afford, no it was all so unnecessary and luxurious and simple.
It doesn't feel like that anymore. At times the constant refreshing online retail outlets or ebay saved searches or waiting on PayPal payments or repurposing bubble mailers can feel like a chore or even worse - a second job. All just to sustain, sustain, sustain. For many it's become a job. The past year has forced many out of work, into the relative danger of the public to buy children's play things and flip them online for a 5% profit an unspeakable risk, riding this wave with will eventually crash and disperse across the beach of human interest, like every other wave that came before it and every one that will follow.
Yet, through this ongoing slog of the current human condition, there's something else, an additional appreciation of the way things used to be, the reason many of us ended up in this space in the beginning. The chase. The rookies.
This isn't my card. As a Bowman Prospects 1st Bowman 1st Edition Firsty Firsty Lasty Lasty a lowly civil servant like myself cannot possess such a piece of cardboard. This would first require a reduction in amount of groceries. Three less tanks of gas for my truck. Five legs from selected pairs of jeans, which seem impractical enough as it is.
Or I can just wait it out a few days, weeks, months - however long the current fad lasts.
Austin Martin was The Toronto Blue Jays' first overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, or what symbolized it, this past June. Many expected AM to go 1-2 after He of the Arizona Sun Devil Power, Spencer Torkelson, who went to the Tigers. But Martin slipped, with some concerns for his defense or whatever nonsense the Orioles and others managed to cough up in defending their own picks, and my favorite college player to watch ended up on my favorite professional team and that just floats right by me.
Since June I've tracked down Austin Martin cards here and there, mostly through Panini Prizm Draft and Leaf Metal Draft, the first a sign of just how much Panini could do - with or without the license - and the later a crime against nature but appreciated nonetheless. Bowman Draft proceeded without the young Floridian in late 2020, but word broke recently that he'll make his licensed debut in 2021 Bowman "First Edition" - which is, I don't know...extra first, or some other nonsense.
I've been looking forward to this one for many months and to be frank, I don't care for it.
The card is busier than my Wednesday meeting schedule. Despite this it's overwhelmingly colorless and devoid of heart, typographically mediocre and thoughtlessly photoshopped. It feels like a malfunctioning local news app set on bright mode. Like the endless concrete of an abandoned Rust Belt downtown. It just sold for $125.