“Ball Boys” Debuts on ABC

I briefly mentioned the new ABC show “Ball Boys” a couple of days ago when CBS declared the hobby of sports card collecting “dead”. I finally got a chance to check out a replay of the show and I wanted to share my thoughts.

My first thought was that this seems exactly like “Pawn Stars”. The “characters” and even the show setup seems just like the show it was based off of.

Set at Robbie’s First Base just outside the city of Baltimore, the show features a father and son who own and operate a sports card and memorabilia shop. The cool thing about this show for me is just seeing all the sports memorabilia and autographs this shop has that they get to deal with as well as overzealous people coming in trying to cash in on items that aren’t worth what they think.

While I’m not a huge fan of reality shows with this sort of set up, I could find myself watching this show because I am into the industry and love seeing pieces of sports history. Plus I can dream about owning some of the items they will show off someday.

It’s in a weird time slot on Saturdays at 3pm, but I love that it’s on network television and showcasing some of the interesting parts of our hobby. So check it out if you got some time on a Saturday afternoon.

Response to the CBS Report on Card Collecting Dying

If you missed it this morning, CBS had a small segment on the baseball card industry and how it’s “dying”. You can view the segment here if you missed it.

The segment features the creator of a card show in Parsippany, New Jersey and how it was once a playground for collectors of all ages. Now, it’s barren with the same few “middle aged white people” there every show.

First, where the hell is Parsippany, New Jersey? And why would I ever want to go there?

Next, there is more than a single reason why collectors, even younger collectors, don’t attend these card shows anymore. And the reasons aren’t cell phones, girls, and video games. One would be the creation of the internet. The internet is like a 24-hour a day card show where you can find and buy pretty much whatever you want without having to leave the comfort of your own home. That’s gotta be where all the non “middle aged white guys” are.

The only shows worth going to anymore are the ones held annually where dealers from across the country come in with their top inventory and manufacturers are in attendance. Over 4 days last year, the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago drew 30,000 people in attendance including several thousand children, especially on the Sunday where children get in free. And guess what, there is a lot more product there then what I saw on video in that CBS segment, better product too. How is 30,000 people going to a single show in Chicago evidence of the hobby dying?

I could go on more into price of products, greed, asking prices at these card shows, hobby shops, etc. but that is something CBS should have done before putting together a half-assed report on television.

Yes, the hobby has taken a hit with the number of collectors since the high points in the 80s and 90s, but it’s far from a dead national past time. Every hobby has it’s peak of interest and that was it’s time, but it’s still going strong today. In fact, modern card values are selling for a pretty penny. We’re seeing sales in the 10 to 20 thousands of dollars for single cards on the secondary market. Again, how is that evidence of the hobby dying?

When people stop buying vintage cards and stop buying new products to the point where there is only one manufacturer left, you can tell me the hobby is dying. But with Upper Deck, Panini, Topps, ITG, Leaf, Benchwarmer, etc. still creating and selling trading cards, you can’t convince me of something that isn’t true.

For that terrible reporting CBS, I’m going to have everyone check out this early review of “Ball Boys” on ABC. It’s basically “Pawn Stars” but with sports memorabilia. Looks…interesting, but I’m not into television like that, but maybe you’ll like it.

What are your thoughts on the CBS piece?