Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Trading Overhaul

This has been a long time coming.

As OCD as I am about the Griffey collection, that is not the case when it come to many of my duties as a blogger. In particular, my ability to trade responsibly and efficiently.

This is despite having been nominated for most generous blogger of the year. I'm terrible.

On January 16th, 2013 I completed my first trade with Marcus from All the Way to the Backstop. Marcus took a chance on the new guy, and he opened a door for me to a world of possibility. For that I thank you, sir.

Now it's two years later, and while trading is something I love to do, I rarely find the time to do it. Trading is an active pursuit. It's not the sort of thing you can do while sitting in front of the TV watching House of Cards on Netflix.

I've decided that trading can be easier, and I'm taking steps now to make that a reality.

When I began this blog and started the trade ball rolling, I created an Excel document called Tradelist which I use to this day. It's a simple grid format database with each blog's title, blogger name/handle, e-mail, physical/mailing address, a short overview of what they collect, and a small column for notes.

At least that was the plan.

Tradelist became a jumbled mess of information over the following months and never recovered. Blanks all over the place where information I definitely had should go, addresses where e-mails should be and vice-versa, incomplete want list information, and a notes section that went all but unused.

Late last month I was sorting my "Blogger Trade" box into stacks (I owe a lot of you). This box is where I put anything I think someone else might want. The problem was that I didn't remember who everything was for.

Here's an example: Kerry Wood. Someone out there collects Kerry Wood because I've seen it. Since then I have been setting aside Kerry Wood cards. I have a healthy stack now. So, who were they meant for? Is it someone I've traded with? Could it be someone new who might not even want to trade with me? What is the next step?

That was last Thursday. I decided to pausemy sorting of trade fodder on the spot until such time as I could be sure I was sending the right cards to the right people. Since then I have been working a little each day to bring Tradelist 100% up-to-date, and I'm really, really close.

The Tradelist. Privileged information has been hidden, of course.

Step one was to go through my own blogroll one-by-one, updating. Not just the bloggers I know and trade with - all of them. I've found that I have not in fact traded with most of you. Also many of the blogs I follow haven't posted in several months and some in over a year. I'm currently getting all the blanks filled and the inactive bloggers removed from the Tradelist as appropriate (I know some are still active traders but not bloggers).

The most tedious part of this process is updating want lists. I like to list a team, a few players, and maybe a mini-collection or two; but some of you collect like thirty dudes. Those lists get long. Some of you are strictly set-builders or team set builders, and I indicate you as such so I know to check the want list on your blog.

It's been time-consuming but interesting. For example, here's a few things I've learned while doing this massive project:

Most popular teams: Braves, Yankees, Dodgers, in that order.
Least popular teams: Devil Rays, Nationals, Athletics, in that order. (not necessarily unpopular, but fewer bloggers who collect them)
Hardest person to find stuff for: Tim Wallach - one dude. That's tough.
Easiest person to find stuff for: Dime Box Nick - In addition to lots and lots of mini-collections, he loves most anything, including '95 Fleer (I'm also in that boat).

What's been fun but also kind of weird is that I've been adding not only information for bloggers I've traded with, but also that of bloggers I want to trade with or even just read regularly. Bo of Baseball Cards Come to Life is one of these. I saw he is building a set of '95 Upper Deck which I have a ton of. That ball is now rolling.

I should mention here that some of you may have noticed me suddenly commenting on a post you put up months ago or on one of your want lists. That was me checking your blog to see if I should add you to the Tradelist and noticing you collect something I may have a lot of. Hit me back. That stuff is yours.

I've also been having a lot of "aha" moments as I realize why I've been saving a certain player's cards. Now I know who they were for, and we can proceed.

When this project is done (definitely this week), I'll re-evaluate the contents of the Blogger Trade box and start sending stuff off accordingly.

In addition to all this I also got a small pocket calendar, and I've begun recording trade packages received and sent. That started in January, so if anyone sent me something before then and never heard back, let me know. I'll make it right.

After that begins Phase II. This will involve creating an entirely new Excel document that will list teams, players, and mini-collections alphabetically and the bloggers that collect each. That will make it easy to cross-reference trade fodder with the blogger that might want it. That's going to take a long time, too.

Blogging is hard work, guys.


  1. I'm there with you. It's tough. I just sent a bunch of packages I owed, and am close to caught up. I need to get them out the door quicker instead of letting all my trades/stacks pile up.

  2. What a great idea. Will you share the non-private stuff publicly when it is complete?
    As for me, while I am a set collector I take just about everything baseball, minor league, oddball, weird, whatever. Kind of like Dime Box Nick.

  3. I keep a giant Excel spreadsheet as well - though I include every trade (incoming and outgoing) so that I can keep up with who I owe (and, at times, who might owe me). I also try to list what people collect though I usually keep it to either teams or a player or two. Anything more and it gets to be too much. It sure feels like there is a blog post (or even a dedicated blog) idea there where people could keep things up-to-date. I think that was attempted a few years back (the blog's name now escapes my memory) but I don't know that it took off like I wished it would have.

    1. Is it this?


  4. I'd love to be added to the mix! I write 'I Love the Smell of Cardboard in the Morning' http://lovecardboard.blogspot.com/
    I've only been writing for a few months and am still establishing relationships with fellow bloggers.

    1. You're in! It's just that easy!

      thejuniorjunkie@gmail.com :-)

  5. My current idea is quite a bit less elegant.
    Yesterday I bought a big long box with three sections designed for sports cards. I'm guessing it holds about 5000 cards. I bought a 25 pack of super tall rigid holders. I started sorting my collection of trade-able cards by blogger, each one separated by a tall holder.
    I think your spreadsheet method is great! I'm going to try the brute force method of making stacks for now. My own organization skills mean I wouldn't update the spreadsheet often enough.

  6. I've tried doing the same thing using Evernote to organize things, because sometimes I have a little down time in the middle of my day and I start thinking that I need to remember who collects what, etc. Then I start feeling overwhelmed at the task and put it off to another day.

    I am with Bo, though, on asking if you might be willing to share your hard work. And, I'm with Tim when I ask if you'd be so kind as to add me to the mix (offhiatusbaseball.blogspot.com).

    I'm a huge fan of people with well-developed want lists!

  7. To address your Kerry Wood stack, its not me (I'm a Phillies guy) but I believe it is communitygum.com those 2 guys havent been super active but if my memory serves me correctly one of them collects Kerry Wood.

    1. I think you're right. He's on the Twitter. I'll hit him up there...

  8. When the Tradelist is complete I'll send a copy to anyone on the list who wants one, but it will have each blogger's name, address, and e-mail removed. It's up to each individual blogger who they want to divulge any personal information to. Everything else is a matter of public record.

    I'll make a proper post

  9. ...and I've been sitting at my desk the past couple of days with a few years worth of index cards with blog titles, names, addresses (sometimes), emails (rarely), and even more vague scratchings of what they might possibly want.

    Then there's this genius post and all the other stellar ideas in the comments.

    Here's the plan:

    I'm committing to greet my wife at the door, make dinner, and then spend the rest of my night watching the Ducks as I transfer index card blogger info into something more reasonable in either Evernote, Google Docs, or whatever.

    Junior, brilliant post! Please do share the list once complete!

    The rest of you, let's get a trade going so I can have your updated info and wantlists!