Sunday, March 29, 2015

Group Trade/Box Break: Subjectively Great

With my recent job change, I have been attending a number of networking events. Networking can seem painful at times -- being the new guy means you are never sure whether the person you are talking to is a good person or a schmuck.  

Being the new guy, though, means I have to put more work in at these events. I want to make a good first impression on people so that they will be happy to talk to me at another event, to introduce me to someone that they think would be a good contact, or to think of me when they need a lawyer.

While the interpersonal dynamics are different online, there is not that much difference when it comes to the blogging community.  It takes time to build up a network, to build up trust in others that you will be as generous as they are when it comes to trading, and that you can be trusted to be honest and, frankly, to be the person you say you are.  As in the "real" world, it can take a long time to build up a good reputation, and that reputation can be ruined quickly.

Someone who understands how blogger networking works is Brian from the still-fairly new Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary.  To make a big splash and build up trading partners immediately, Brian did what he called a Group Trade Box Break: he opened boxes of 1996 Pinnacle, 1999 Fleer Ultra, 2002 Topps Gallery, 2002 Fleer Greats, and 2003 Topps Stadium Club and offered up teams to anyone who would send him cards from the years between 1995 and 2004.  I joined in and got a great bunch of cards in return.  

To highlight the cards I got and because keeping with the "networking" theme would be tedious, I'm going with my old, reliable "music from that year" theme.

The year 1983 was in the days where we were transitioning from the late 1970s-early 1980s disco dancing into a weird melange of electronica, reggae, soft rock, and imported one-hit wonders such as Taco:

Baseball cards in 1983 was a year of transition as well. It was the year when Fleer and Donruss went all in with respect to starting to produce multiple sets in multiple formats -- and not just those full size "star stickers" that Fleer had.  It also had some imports, though it's unfair to call an O-Pee-Chee card of Jim Gantner a one-hit wonder:

Music started fracturing into more subgenres in 1987 than before.  One of the major chart influences that year came from the rising popularity of hair metal.  Yes, metal bands had enjoyed some chart success in the past -- notably Van Halen in 1984 with "Jump" -- but 1987 saw the emergence of Bon Jovi as a chart force -- notably, the number 10 hit of the year and now a required karaoke sing-along song:

Baseball in 1987 was dominated by a sudden surge in home run hitting -- you know, the year that Wade Boggs hit 24 homers and then never again hit any more than 11 in any one season.  Leading the way for the Brewers was Rob Deer:

Hip hop dominated the charts in 1992.  Admittedly, I listed to very little of it -- except "Tennessee" by Arrested Development...because I was going to college there in 1992:

Baseball cards were in the midst of the overproduction era. Topps (and everyone else) started pushing as many gimmicks as they could to keep their bottom line going up.  This included issuing "1993 Pre-Production Sample" cards for certain players, including Gary Carter, for the supposed reason of raising interest in the next year's set:

The first time I heard the #1 song of 1996, I was in Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia, waiting for the women's soccer bronze medal game to begin.  I can't recall how I got tickets for the two women's medal games -- I think a friend got some and offered me one. It is still one of my favorite sports memories to say that I was able to see my country win a gold medal in the Olympics in person when, in the second game of the doubleheader, the US beat China 2-1 in front of 77,000 people.  That song?


I was pretty out of the loop in 1996, with the good reason for that being that I finished my first year of law school that year and started my second year.  So, please forgive me for not having seen these Pinnacle cards in person before:

By 2002, music had fractured completely into rap, alternative, country, pop, and dance. Looking at the Top 10 hits from that year is just a mess.  I mean, Nickelback had the number 1 song of the year!  Of that top 10, though, I can find two songs I listened to without cringing.  #10 was "Blurry" by Puddle of Mudd and number 7 was this song:

That song hit home for me that year because I went through a pretty tough breakup from a woman I dated for a year.  So, in the end, it really didn't matter.  

On the other hand, Paul Molitor's baseball career mattered a lot:

By 2006, the alternative music I favored had itself splintered into more mainstream alternative, emo music, and electronica dug in as well.  Looking at the list of Top 100 songs from that year, I can recall hearing about 15 of them...and that includes songs I heard only years later.  My 2006? I was in my own little world musically, but I did like this song featuring an Atlanta resident/native:

Topps's 2006 Allen & Ginter was the original offering for the set, and it arguably is the nicest looking version:

Last year's musical chart actually had more songs on it that I liked than many previous years did. I couldn't possibly use Bastille's "Pompeii" again here, even if it is the highest charting song that I really liked.  So, the following song came in at #23 -- a song that I saw Jennifer Nettles cover live in a concert I took my wife to see last year for Valentine's Day:

To follow that cross-over hit, how about a blue-bordered and serial numbered card?

Brian threw in a couple of hits in the baseball card sense as well that need to be highlighted as well:

Two former Brewers -- one at the beginning of his career, one at the end -- who are both known or remembered for their play with other teams.  Sort of like the music from this earworm:

I shouldn't end a post about Brian's very original (to me) idea of a group-break-trade with such a derivative song (as per the jury; musicians disagree and, for the sake of musical composition, I hope that verdict gets overturned), but there it is.

Thank you, Brian, for the great cards and the great idea.  Welcome to the blogger group....which is a group I'm still working on being a part of!


  1. I completely missed this group break, it's been so, so busy!

    1983 and 1987 were fantastic years for music, possibly my two favorite years.

  2. It really was a great idea from Brian. Seems like he got great results too.

    My favorite music year would have to been when the Seattle scene blew up.

  3. I was a little worried that the Brewers would get the short end of the stick on the break, but fortunately both Yount and Molitor were in the Greats.

    The Music selections you made are great! I tried to stream music from each year as I did the break, but I ended up cutting that plan short when the video started having connection issues. It just made me realize I don't have enough west coast rap in my personal collection - next time I'll be able to play "California Love" from my stereo instead of using the link from YouTube...

  4. Cool post weaving two of my favorites together cards and music. Even though I graduated high school in 81 and college in 86 . I don't care much for the music that came out in the 80's. I'm still stuck in the late 60's and 70'. Anything over the past 30 years you would probably have a hard time finding on mainstream radio. Jam bands and Blues dominate my airwaves.