Five Years ago today I was a young, thirteen year old baseball card collector, racking up cards from everywhere and wanting to share it with the world. I had no idea that I'd get into customizing, Stadium Club, or any of the stuff I've immersed myself in now.
The custom above was my first-ever custom, from June 2009, after many failed attempts at blog series'. I figured it'd be nice to put new players in old designs, so I followed a tutorial, threw Derek Jeter into a 81 Topps design, and posted it. Now, honestly, compared to the stuff I've been producing lately, it's really subpar. Like, for example, here was a 1981 custom I made last year:
But, as today's the blog's fifth anniversary, I wanted to look back at the five previous years of the blog, and all the things I was talking about back then.
You'll see it in my writing, in my customs, and in my content that I clearly had no idea what I was doing. I was a kid, I was too young, and I banked so much on the fact that nobody was reading, so I felt like I had so much freedom. Around the end of the year I got some followers, and a few trade offers, so I was beginning to get big.
A lot of the posts this year are just me trying hard to be funny, or reporting one-sentence long news stories, or something. The content isn't great, and it's cringeworthy by today's standards.
The only thing that stayed constant were the customs. I didn't use too much filter on them, so they're just the straight photos, but in terms of doctoring the original cards, I had the right idea. The ones I did for 'Year by Year' and the postseason are honestly some of the best of that year.
This was also the year that both my teams played each other in the World Series, and I got to go to Yankee Stadium to watch them. It was an okay first year of blogging, but it was nice to be a part of the sphere, and have people like Dayf, Canuck and Night Owl occasionally comment on your posts.
First of all, that logo. I dunno what I was thinking. I thought it looked pretty cool, and I thought it was a swell enough idea. Some bloggers weren't amused.
2010 was the year that I became more of a regular blogger, and did more of the normal blogger stuff. I made trades. I ranted. I took part in a blogger worst-autograph tournament (thanks Drew!)
I also started doing a lot of open ended editorial-type posts, which took on some pretty nice topics, like the uselessness of Bowman, the addictiveness of ToppsTown, and the fact that everyone despises my team.
My customs were more improved, as I added more filters and just did more work on them. The quality of my writing improved as well.
By the end, I was talking about heartbreak as a fan of two teams unceremoniously booted from the playoffs within two days. I think that the moodier I got back then, the better my posts were.
Like with last year, some of the best stuff was during Year by Year.
2011: Finding the Sweet Spot
I think that 2011 was the year I really settled into the blogosphere. I had an ill-prepared blog contest, bought and ripped some vintage Stadium Club, had some trades with big time bloggers, and started churning out better posts.
One of the more viewed posts of the year was one about how pretty much every team had its haters, so the Yankees weren't free of blame. It soon became an omnibus of all the bloggers' teams of hatred. Reminds me, I should probably update that post.
I started accumulating some pretty nice fans in 2011. One in particular, a Dodger fan, gave me a lot of ideas for customs, as detailed in this post. That same fan ended up leading me to Brent Lillibridge, the first (and only, that I know of) actual ballplayer to actually like one of my customs. He made a custom of mine his Twitter photo. I will take that to my grave.
I had some nice road trips in 2011, going to Indians, Pirates and Nationals games, as well as staying in Meredith, New Hampshire for a week. Also, I went to the Super Bowl, but that's another story.
I think this was the peak of my popularity before I went back to being a regular fringe blogger like I am now.
Overall, in 2012 I think I finally hit my stride, and started writing and customizing the way I do now. I learned to control the filters so that I stopped having so many overdone customs. Also, I had more well-written posts, and more well-formed ideas.
2012 was the year that Archives came back, but basically just as a way of copying my set. I had a very angry rant here about how they were stealing my idea. I also had an angry rant about the 2012 Topps gimmicks, which was even more hate-fueled than the Archives one. I had a lot of emotional posts this year, as you can see.
2012 was my biggest year in terms of customizing, as I produced more customs in 2012 than I did any other year. None were real newsmakers, though the Chipper Jones one is a favorite.
I won a contest over at Thorzul's this year. Honestly, I'm drawing a blank on anything else that happened that year.
Toward the end of this year I was buying Stadium Club boxes, and customizing football players. I was tussling with Topps and still making great baseball customs. Everything I really wanted to do, in my blogging career, I ended up doing in 2013, so it was really a success in my eyes.
You could argue that it was a lot of the same stuff. Making customs, going to lake George, buying cards, telling the world how awful Topps is. For a month I kept getting boxes of football products from a mysterious contact to rip. I think I ripped more actual hobby boxes of products in 2013 than I did in any other year.
2013 was a great year for me even though it wasn't really too different than the other ones. But it really exemplified how I write more than the other years. I think I'm in in my prime, unless in five more years I become as good a blogger as Night Owl or Dime Boxes or something like that.
To make a long story short, I never did anything on this blog for popularity, for accolades, for followers. I did it mostly for myself, but also for the rest of the world to see my opinions. And I didn't think it would last this long. I didn't think it would last a month.
I'm just glad it lasted part March 2009, and into February 2014.
Will the blog last ten years? Who's to say? Certainly not me. I have no idea what's going to happen to me a year down the line, let alone five. I'll blog until I'm done, and I'll know when I'm done.
Thanks for sticking with me, by the way. For reading when I had nothing to say. And, thankfully, when I had too much to say. I really appreciate it.
Five years, stuck on my eyes
Five years, what a surprise
We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot
Five years, that's all we got...
P.S.- If you were expecting me to pick my favorite custom in all my years of making them, I'll say this- I'm not one for picking favorites...
....but this one