Do you remember your first card shop?

Hello. My name is Joe and I am a Sports Card Collector.

This week is the beginning of the 2013 Major League Baseball season! Opening day brings with it a fresh start for teams that want to forget last season and new challenges for those who almost made it to the World Series. But for those of us who are hopelessly addicted to small pieces of cardboard with all of our favorite baseball players on them…this is the start of the new year of baseball card products!!

Nowadays there is almost 80 different products to choose from each season with a wide range of prices, there is something for everyone in baseball cards. It didn’t used to be this way, let’s take a trip back to my childhood…

I remember back when I was growing up in Flint, Michigan how much I loved going to my Local Card Shop, Mike’s Upper Deck. Mike was a great guy that loved sports as much as he loved the hobby of Sports cards. His shop carried everything from baseball to football to hockey and a lot of other sports and non-sports related cards. He literally had something for everyone. This was during a time when sports cards were booming. Kids of every age loved collecting, trading, selling and buying cards to add to their collections. I have many fond memories of hanging out at Mike’s shop just trading cards, talking about how the local teams were doing and thinking how if we could only have the chance to run the teams how much better we could do it. Back in the 80’s and 90’s card shops were the place to hang out if you liked sports, and who didn’t love sports at that time?

I also remember the excitement of walking into Mike’s shop to see what new treasures would be on display. Whether it was a new box of Topps, Fleer, Leaf or Upper Deck cards, a Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck RC, a nice Frank Thomas Leaf RC or something like an autographed ball, there was always something new and interesting in the store each time I visited.

Sadly it seems the local card store excitement from my childhood has faded over the years. With eBay, blogs, collecting forums and loads of other internet resources coming about, the local card store has become like Cassette Tapes, CDs and newspapers…out of date and dying. Despite all of the online resources, there are still local card shops you can go to and they still have the same feel of the ones from “back in the day”.

One of the stores that I found here in Cincinnati is becoming one of the best ones in town is Funtime Sports Cards. They are located just north of Sharonville at 9644 Cincinnati Columbus Rd. The Owners, Cecil and Tom are great guys to deal with, talk Reds and Bengals with, and they just have a true love for the hobby as well as sports. They are going through some changes right now to be able to cater the store up to even more fans of the game. Funtime has all kinds of fun events to try and get people interested in sports cards again. One of which that I attended recently was a party called “Pack Wars”. This is a lot of fun and is very easy to be involved with. All you do is come into the store; purchase some packs or a box of packs and then the Owners call out a stat from the back of the cards to look for. It could be anything like: who is the tallest player? Who is the shortest player? Who has the card closest to the number 28? After they figure out who wins that “war” then a prize is awarded. It could be anything from more packs of cards all the way up to Pete Rose autographed items or even Willie Mays autographed items! All of the events that are held at Funtime and at other stores are done so that it brings collectors of all ages together in one place. This helps expand the hobby even more. Which is what is needed if we are going to keep this hobby that we love alive. So, if you are in the neighborhood, you might just want to stop by and take a look inside Funtime or any other local card store around town. You never know, but you just might walk out with another fun thing to do with your kids or just make some new friends that love the game of baseball as much as you do!

So remember while we are celebrating the new Baseball season this week, think of another one of America’s favorite pastimes…collecting sports cards.

-Joe-

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