1. They suck money out of your wallet
2. They generally aren't any fun
3. It takes even more money to continue the hobby
4. When you look back on the hobby, you'll be terribly disappointed
The list is a veritable graveyard of bad decisions.
-- Radio control cars/trucks. (THOUSANDS of dollars...and my fingers still smell like nitro fuel)
-- Radio control airplanes. (After repetitive crashes, it may have been one of the only times my children heard me utter the 4-letter bomb)
-- Auto-surfing ponzi scam. (I won't even describe this colossal mistake...go Google it)
-- Trick roller-blading. (Cool guys don't "grind" with roller-blades)
-- $$ Fantasy Sports leagues. (20 years--tons of cash on entry fees--no 1st place finishes)
-- Penny stocks. (I did not discover the next Apple...not even Snapple. More like Crapple)
The list continues, but none...I mean NONE can compare to collecting baseball cards.
The year was 1987. I was a skinny short 6th grader who was still a good 3 years from puberty. Rather than attempt to fit in with normal children, I decided to collect baseball cards. Specifically, I chose to collect the 1987 Topps Wood Grain baseball card set.
As (un)luck would have it, the packs were cheap. For 50 cents, you could get 16 cards and a piece of gum so hard, that it came in at about a 7 on Mohs mineral hardness scale. The set had 792 cards, and I used every dime I earned (and "borrowed") to buy cards.
The collecting was great fun at first. I accumulated cards in the set quickly, and before long had at least 90% of the entire set. Unfortunately, rather than focus on cards that might be worth money (Bonds rookie), I focused all my attention on completing the set. I purchased pack after pack, traded with anybody that would listen, and paid 25 cents for commons at the local card store. I would even secretly open packs in the store to insure that cards I did not own were in the pack...and then take them up front at the gas station to buy them. It was a pathetic scene...a lonely 11 year old hovering over baseball cards--committing a misdemeanor in search of Vance Law.
Except I was not the only one. Little did I know that in the mid 80's, card collecting became a popular hobby for millions nationwide. To cash in on this popularity, card manufacturers started printing millions and millions of cards. My meager understanding of economics tells me that when supply is close to infinite, demand becomes very low. Basically 99.8% of baseball cards made from the mid 80's to 93 are not worth the crappy cardboard they are printed on.
If I ever get feeling too good about myself, I throw in a dose of reality and go check eBay for the selling price of the 1987 Topps wood grain set. As of yesterday, I could pick up a BRAND NEW SEALED full set for $9. Nine dollars. Nine DOLLARS!! MF!!!
As (un)luck would also have it, I collected garbage pail kids--1st and 2nd generation at the same time. I decided after my collecting days were over, to peel the stickers off the cards and place them in a sticker book rendering them worthless. While I safely stored my baseball cards in a climate-controlled dark environment dropping in value faster than Lionel Richie records, the garbage pail kids appreciated to where they could have been worth hundreds of dollars on eBay. Silly me. Joltin Joe was a much smarter choice to save rather than Wally Joyner.
I cannot emphasize enough how much collecting this set gets a 0 star rating.