Unwritten Rules and Respecting the Hobby

Scan 139

Fernando Tatis’ grand slam on a 3-0 pitch while the Padres were up 7 runs on Texas the other night set off a firestorm among those who are self-proclaimed ‘old school’ baseball men. Among them was Rangers manager Chris Woodward, a former journeyman infielder whose career once included a stop in the Pacific Northwest.

Initially I was going to feature a card of Woodward in this post but then realized he did so little during his two years in Seattle that he doesn’t even have a card as a Mariner. So Jarrod Dyson it is. More on him later.

But for now, let’s look at some stupid ‘unwritten rules’ in the hobby, shall we?

Flip It!

Like the stoic, old-school ballplayers who despise any kind of showing of emotion (especially when a hitter flips the bat), the ‘old-school’ collector sees no room in this hobby for those who enjoy ‘ripping and flipping.’ “You’ll never catch me selling off any cards,” they proudly state. But they don’t mind trading off those cards that don’t fit their collection or PC. Lighten up, Francis. It is possible for one to be a collector and sell off cards that don’t fit their collection. Besides, it might be the only way you get that much needed card for your collection.


How many players have you heard over the years admonish others who don’t “respect the game” or “play the game the right way” (whatever that means)?

I’ve actually seen collectors claim that the only legitimate way to collect a set is to purchase packs and then trade for the rest of the cards needed to finish off the set. Mind you, it wasn’t “this is the way I enjoy collecting sets” (after all, Mr. Tightsphincter doesn’t enjoy anything), but this is the only acceptable way. Straight outta 1952, this guy.

 Seeking Perfection

It didn’t take place in the 8th inning, like when Ben Davis’ broke the sacred rule sixteen years earlier, but Jerrod Dyson pulled off some shenanigans of his own against Tigers ace Justin Verlander in the pitcher’s bid for perfection on June 22, 2017. Laying down a perfectly-placed bunt in the bottom of the sixth inning, Dyson became the first base runner of the night for the Mariners, who at the time were trailing the Tigers 4-0. And while there were still 11 outs needed to secure a perfect game, some still had a problem with it. Verlander wasn’t among them. The bunt started a rally for the M’s, who would score three runs and knock Verlander out in that sixth inning. They would go on to complete the comeback, winning the game 7-4. I guess winning the game was more important to them than being no-hit.

Likewise, there is a vocal group of collectors who seek, nay DEMAND, perfection from Topps when it comes to retro sets such as Heritage and Archives. Any deviation from these unwritten rules results in an outcry in the blogosphere, Twitter and the various forums.

  • Fonts must be the same as the originals
  • Card stock must be identical as their forebears
  • Colors better match the swatches from yesteryear

Players and managers who bemoan the breaking of certain ‘unwritten rules’ do so because they feel threatened. They see the norms being challenged and they hate it. Personally, I don’t feel threatened by the fact that Topps doesn’t pull off an exact replica of the originals. After all, when I hear an artist do a cover-tune, I don’t expect them to play it note-for-note as it was originally recorded.  

One thought on “Unwritten Rules and Respecting the Hobby

  1. Pingback: Everything must be considered – SABR's Baseball Cards Research Committee

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