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Thursday, June 5, 2014

My COMC Experiment Update

First, I doubt anyone even knew I had a COMC experiment.  But that's neither here nor there.

My experiment was simple enough...take a few cards, turn them into a few more cards, and amass a collection without sending anything to them or purchasing store credit to do so.  Then try to flip as much of the collection to turn a positive sale in order to by more inventory.  My ultimate goal was to increase my $18 investment 10X in a year.

The focus of my collection is on pre-1989 hockey cards, seeing that the overabundance of 1990s stuff was too overproduced and available and the 2000+ stuff was basically too expensive or just didn't sell (although I do have some stuff from those eras).  I had $18 in leftover store credit from a purchase I had made about six months before so I used it to acquire a few decent 1960s and 70s cards.

My experiment started on 8/8/2013 with my first sale of a 1970-71 Topps Pete Mahovlich card with condition sensitivity.  It's still going pretty strong too, albeit not as strongly as in the beginning.

But to date, here are my stats...

  • I took an opening balance of      $18
  • I purchased a total of                   38   cards for my inventory
  • I have sold                                 190   cards from my inventory
  • My inventory currently has         457   cards for sale
  • My total sales amount is        $240.39
I would say that has been a success, wouldn't you?  I increased my sale to purchase volume by over 13Xs my original investment.  That's pretty good considering the small amount I started with.  I also have quite a few cards in my inventory with values near $1 per card, not bad for mostly pre-1980s stuff.  

I guess the moral of this story is, you can make money on cards if you are patient with the process and aggressive with marketing.  COMC is a good marketplace to buy singles but you won't get rich off selling there, especially after the cash out fees.  But it has been a fun little project to work on a couple times a week and it's always fun to see my Daily Stat that gets emailed to me so I can see what sold.  I have basically turned COMC into my own personal cardboard stock market.

If anyone wonders, my username on there is "dogfacedgremlin" and I generally entertain most offers on cards, as long as they are realistic to what I purchased them for.  I always counter with my lowest price.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

So Pierre, You Wish To Mock Me

This summer off-season started off with a bang for the Pittsburgh Penguins when the team fired GM Ray Shero.  I will just go on record as saying I don't like that move.  I don't think it was the right one and I think the Pens are going to be entering some interesting times going forward over the next few years because of it (and I don't mean good).

The real problems I saw this season were first, the injuries, but also the player disconnect in the locker room and the direct the coaching staff tried to take the team.  If anyone should have been sent to the showers early, it should have been Dan Bylsma and the rest of the coaching staff.  I like Dan.  I like what he has done in Pittsburgh.  But it is time to go because his coaching style is not going to bring this team another Cup.  It just won't.  But, alas, his job was safe, Ray was sent packing, and the search for a new GM began.

The latest news is that Pierre McGuire, my arch-nemesis (and most of the millions of other NHL fans in the world), has had not one, but two interviews in Pittsburgh for the job.  Two interviews?  Really?  The man with the biggest ego in all of sports broadcasting (yes even bigger than Don Cherry and Mike Milbury) is being considered as a rehire for the GM position?  Really?

Ok, let me get right to it.  Pierre is smart.  He is a bonafide Rembrandt when it comes to Xs and Os on paper, with chalk, or on those tiny rink shaped dry erase boards.  He is a master with numbers, a wizard with lineups, the maestro at play design.


The guy is awful, just plain awful at player relations.  I said rehire earlier because originally, he was brought into the Pens as a scout for Scotty Bowman and eventually "earned" a spot on the bench as assistant coach for the back-to-back Stanley Cup Championship teams in 1990-91 and 1991-92.  So, yes, as a coach (or should I say NHL employee) he has two Cups to his credit.  But after that stint in Pittsburgh, he took his talents to Hartford where he not only became the assistant coach, but also took over the head coaching job when Paul Holmgren stepped down to be the full time GM.

Any Hartford fans out there?  Hello?  Anyone?  Those that remember this time will remember how absolutely horrible his tenure was with the team.  From off ice player fights, bar room brawls, player dissent in the locker room that spilled out to the ice, and frequent temper tantrums backstage, McGuire earned absolutely zero respect from the fans, the city, and especially his players.  Even the team captain at the time, Pat Verbeek, said the best thing the team ever did was fire McGuire.

The guy is so full of himself and his perceived ability to out-coach anyone in the league is legendary.  In post-game interviews coming off losses, his comments would focus on out-coaching the other team.  I remember an interview where the Whalers lost big time, I forget the opponent, but his comment was that he put a better game plan on the ice and his players just couldn't find a way to execute.  Really?  That isn't going to win you fans back there.  He even bragged repeatedly about shutting down Mario Lemieux once despite the fact they were destroyed in part by a 4 goal performance from Kevin Stevens.

As smart as he is with statistics and analysis, I think he lacks that in respect from his peers and his inability to guide a team.  A GM needs to be able to make those decisions.  You are responsible for building a team, not just a talented one, but one that can play together.  A team that can go out, each and every night, learn from each other, and get better together.  Unity, is something the Pens struggled with this year I think. In McGuire, I don't think the Pens are going to find their answer.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Continuation Of My Fair Weather Facebook Rant

Not many readers of the blog would actually know that I posted a rant on Facebook.  Nor would many of you even care.  But I was just plain sick of hearing the whining coming out of Chicago and Northwest Indiana sports stations, newspapers, radio personalities, and yes, so-called fans about what was wrong with their beloved Blackhawks.  Since most of my readers (if there are any of you left) on here will most likely "get it", I figured why not share.

I can't believe I am coming to the defense of a Chicago team but I am.  Here is the original post from Facebook yesterday, followed by some commentary.

I'm a Pittsburgh Penguin fan stuck in the middle of Blackhawk country. I wasn't always outnumbered. Only in the last 8-10 years did it get this way after the majority dormant fan base woke up from hibernation realizing a) Chicago has a pro hockey team and b) they're pretty good. A couple Cups later and now, everyone's a Hawks fan. But if you aren't, that's ok. You can basically go [expletive deleted] yourself which is a common phrase I have heard for at least the past 3 years if not longer.

But i don't care. I'm also a hockey fan, period. I like good hockey. I love great hockey. I really love playoff hockey. And the Kings/Hawks series was just that.. Great playoff hockey. Period.

So to all the Hawks fans that have been asking questions and wondering what happened to their beloved team? The answer is...NOTHING! They played their best games against a tough as nails team that will most likely annihilate the Rangers in the Final.

There is nothing wrong with your scoring ability, your players heart, your line pairings and combos, your goalie, your coaching staff, or your organization. The only thing wrong is YOU. The fans that question anything about this team.

The Hawks are one of the best teams in the NHL and will be for years to come. When it came down to it, the Kings just got the pucks in the right spots, they got the caroms, they got the rebounds. That's it. Period. That's a big part of playoff hockey.

So from a Pens fan to the ever expanding kingdom of the so-called Hawk loyal, go back into hibernation. I know the true hockey fans want no part of you and I'm sure the real Hawks faithful don't either.

Let me clarify some things.  Yes, I posted that.  I am just tired of bandwagon fans who claim to be die-hard....regardless of what team you claim to like.  There is no such thing.  You can't wake up one day and decide you will bleed for your time, kill for your team, or die for your team (okay maybe a slight exaggeration but real fans are rabid).  It doesn't work like that.  Now the first paragraph where I talk about the "expletive deleted" thing, that happened.  It happens a lot.  Mostly by drunk or well on their way to be guys at bars that think no one else, especially those living in this area, should be allowed to cheer for another team.

But it also happens with these people that call themselves fans that were no where to be found in the 80s, 90s, or pre-Toews/Kane.  If you are in the Chicagoland area, go to any sports bar and take a poll of everyone wearing a Hawks jersey with a current player name on the back.  Ask them who Dirk Graham is.  Ask them who Steve Larmer is.  Ask them who Tony Amonte is.  Ask who Tony Esposito is and you'll get "the guy from the Binny's Beverage Depot commercial."  Then ask who Jeremy Roenick is and see how many say "That guy on NBC with the greasy hair".  There are going to be exceptions, of course, but the norm is not what you would think.  The rabid fan-base that the sports analysts talk about is largely an artificial one generated by recent success.

I enjoy hockey and as a fan of hockey, I love when people find the sport for the first time and realize there is something they have been missing.  But what I don't like are the pretenders.  Don't be one of these fans that is here when you win and criticizes, mocks, and eventually disappears when you lose. There is no reason to crucify your team because they don't win the championship, regardless of the sport.  If you can make it one step from the top, you made it one step from the top.  No one else can say that except the one person/team in front of you.  You are still among the best, you are still elite.  Cherish that, because in today's sports, salary caps, free agency, and league parity have made it anyone's game.

For the Hawks, they will be back next year with a chip on their shoulder.  Come playoff time, they will be sitting right there with the rest of the elite.