Klein’s Korner: An Early New Year’s Resolution For The Hobby – The last six weeks of the year are wonderful for everyone if processed properly. The first is we begin by being thankful for being here and sharing good times with friends and family. Then a few weeks later we conclude by working our best to ensure everyone gets something they truly appreciate to begin the next year. That is especially true for the younger ones among us.
Some of you have followed the joys of having the energetic five-year old we were gifted with for several weeks. I’m both sad and relieved to report he went home a couple of weeks ago to his mom and his older sister who was absolutely miserable without having him around. Of course. while everyone who knew me was surprised how well we bonded, I knew I could do the parenting bit. He came here as a Cowboys fan and I would never interfere with that here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. However, the one aspect I failed in was we would watch the occasional baseball game and he is now a Red Sox fan. As a life-long Yankees fan, that was the biggest gut punch I could ever imagine.
But, his path to becoming a Red Sox fan was real simple. We watched a couple games on television and he was fascinated by those “Red Sox” and wanted to wear red colored socks going forward. Now, there is a pleasure when things are really simple. For example, one other great lesson I learned was patience while waiting to pick him up every afternoon in the car pool lane. One really does not have much to do with a car in park and no cell phone usage, etc. So most of my down time was spent listening to Julie Mason and the Press Pool on the POTUS Sirius/XM channel.
Now the show is very interesting but one of the articles she referenced one afternoon was one written about millennials not voting the midterms. This was an article in New York magazine featuring 12 such people. One of the impressions I received was we are making it difficult for people to vote. Now, one can have a discussion about how informed someone should be before they step into a voting booth but anything which makes this process more difficult is not one I’m totally in favor of.
After the young one went back home, I had more time to perform one of my favorite November activities which is to interview Early Decision candidates for Columbia University in the City of New York. Now when I started interviewing 20 years ago, one picked up a phone, hoped the number was correct and arranged an interview. Today, the process is almost all electronic with just a small personal touch. But the whole concept flummoxed several of my friends because to just arrange an interview you seemingly needed a PHD in web site usage to give yourself candidates. And in case you think I’m making this up, here was what I received in an email last week:
“We’ve interviewed 15% of applicants so far. Select an applicant in any region by simply joining that region. Also, remember that video chat and phone interviews allow you to meet with applicants from all over the world! We know there have been some challenges with the new ARC platform, and we are grateful for your patience. Those issues have been corrected so please log in today to ARC and request applicants.”
I completed one interview after this email and there was confirmation that my report was submitted. No, you still have not solved all the issues.
I tend to rail to my friends at Panini about the seemingly 17 different colors in every Prizm product and how confusing that is for me as an occasional buyer. Now, in Panini’s defense, they tell me their focus groups want and appreciate all those variations. But if you are coming into the hobby and open a box, how the heck do you tell the difference? The good news on this, and I will stress this is actually a side benefit of the case breaking phenomenon is a significant growth in stores at least here in DFW. While a couple of years ago we were down to maybe five stores within an hour of me, we are now at 10 stores that I can think of and I may be missing a couple. That growth is truly exciting. And for those store owners who are now on the front lines, one of their missions is to be the point people to explain what are some of the nuances of this hobby. This photo is the wall of “Commons” at Triple Cards in Plano.
So, in an early New Years resolution for the hobby: Let’s work on making the hobby more accessible for all concerned. I hope we never get to the point where to be involved is too daunting or you need a PHD to figure out a new product which you open a box. So I’m waiting for 1/30/19 and will have fun with the first Topps baseball box of 2019 and any Panini and Upper Deck unopened box I open in 2019 as well.
For more from Rich Klein, follow him on Twitter @sabrgeek.