Friday, January 02, 2015

Theme Week: Better Know a Blogger (Tony L. from Off Hiatus Baseball Cards)

Welcome to "Better Know a Blogger" Theme Week (week 5?!) here at Nachos Grande.  A few weeks ago, I put out a call to any interested bloggers to answer a short questionnaire that I had prepared.  The goal of the questionnaire is for all of us to get to better know some of the various personalities on the blogs!  I hope you find this Theme Week as much fun as I did - and hopefully you'll learn something about your fellow bloggers as the week progresses!

1. Your name (or alias):  Tony Lehman
2. Your blog website:  Off Hiatus Baseball Cards and
3. What kind of collector do you consider yourself (team collector, player collector, set collector, etc.). Why do you collect that way?
I consider myself a team collector and player collector of the Milwaukee Braves and Brewers and of about 40 different Braves and Brewers players. That’s probably way too many, but it keeps me looking for cards all the time!
I collect that way because I was overwhelmed with all the different sets and short prints and the like that were coming out rapid fire in the spring and decided I needed to focus on the Braves and Brewers rather than trying to collect “everything”…because trying to collect everything would lead me to bankruptcy.

4. In your opinion, what could the major card companies (Topps, Panini, etc.) do to make your style of collecting better for you?
From my perspective, I like a lot of the cards and sets that are out there. But, I echo a lot of bloggers when I say that there are too many parallels from all the companies. I’m also on record with my displeasure about how Topps loads up sets with cards from the “big market” or supposedly better supported teams like the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, and Cardinals. Better distribution across teams from one set would be nice – and even the Topps flagship with Update does not take this into account.  Finally, enough with the “hits” in every product too. They don’t add much to many of the lower end sets. Even autograph inserts don’t get me all that excited. I’d rather seek the autograph myself TTM or in person than to get one out of a pack of cards.
5. What is your favorite part of your collection?  This could be one specific item, or a binder of cards, etc.
My signed stadium seat from Milwaukee County Stadium, autographed by Paul Molitor. It’s probably covered in lead paint, but I don’t care – it brings me back to growing up going to that stadium as a kid.
6. Most of us have a favorite song that we like for no good reason – heck, it might even be embarrassing.  Do you have a favorite baseball card that might fit that bill?  
As a kid, I always rather liked the 1984 Fleer Jay Johnstone card of him in the Budweiser umbrella hat.
7. If you were forced to part with your entire collection except for one card, which card would you keep?
I’d keep my 1975 Topps Mini Robin Yount rookie card. I chased that card for literally my entire life and never had the money to buy one until I got back into collecting this year.
8. Many of the blogs (including my own at times) seem to decry Topps’ lack of vision and creativity.  Can you think of something creative that could be done for an upcoming card set?  
MLBPA/MLB needs to figure out a way to lower its licensing fees or Topps/Panini/Upper Deck needs to step up their game and work with other companies to bring back cards in food products. Rather than trying to come up with gimmicky kids cards sold directly to kids, I think that card companies would be surprised how much kids enjoy chasing baseball cards from breakfast cereal  boxes, for example. If they are worried about encouraging poor nutrition through putting the cards only on syrupy sweet stuff (like Twinkies, for example), then work with the California Avocado growers or some organic food producers to come up with a cost-effective way for the food companies to get baseball cards back in kids’ hands.
9. What is your profession?  How did you end up there?  If you are in school, what do you plan to major in and/or what job do you hope to get after graduating?  
I’m a lawyer focusing on construction law and litigation and commercial litigation, which I have done for 17 years now. I decided to go to law school when I was in high school because I was a high school debater and it seemed like I would enjoy being a lawyer. It seemed like a good way to make a good living, have a career I enjoyed, and to do something that could be important.
10. What is your favorite place that you’ve ever visited?  Why?  
Tough question for me – I love to travel. I’d split it between two very different places: London and Tarifa, Spain. London was my first trip out of the US, and I went to three Premier League games while there. I grew up a huge Anglophile, so it was almost like visiting a shrine for me. Tarifa, on the other hand, was the second city of four that my wife and I visited on our honeymoon. It’s a small city of less than 20,000 people, and we stayed there two nights so that we could take a ferry and visit Tangier, Morocco. We stayed in a little hotel that used to be a convent, and it was such a fun time and so totally different from all the big cities. 
Note:  Tony included a few pictures of Tarifa for me to add to the post.  I think you will agree that it looks quite lovely!

11. Many of us have favorite foods or customs that are somewhat local to where we live.  Do you have any such things that you particularly love?  A website link to specific products would be spectacular.  
It’s not exactly a food or custom, but it’s my favorite place in all of Atlanta: the Buford Highway Farmers/InternationalMarket. It’s a grocery store filled with produce, fresh fish, and food from around the world. Literally, you can buy anything from Calbee chips from Japan to taro root from Nicaragua to, on occasion, the durian fruit from southeast asia. Throw in cheese from England and France, Russian pastries, German candies, Mexican hot sauces, and wine and beer from everywhere, and you have heaven on earth to me. It’s so good that when Anthony Bourdain visited Atlanta on his show “The Layover,” Richard Blais took Bourdain to that market as part of what Bourdain needed to do.
12. Do you have any other hobbies besides card collecting?  
I like to cook – really more just piddling around in the kitchen, I suppose – and I especially enjoy learning the techniques and science behind cooking and flavors. I also like playing trivia, both at and also at, where I’ve squared off in trivia against Daniel Okrent and a bunch of people who have been on Jeopardy!
13. Tell me something interesting about yourself (that we haven’t covered in the first twelve questions).
I grew up in Wisconsin and left to go to college in Nashville back 24-1/2 years ago. I’ve travelled to 42 of the 50 US states and to 13 different countries (the only continents I’ve missed are Antarctica and, oddly enough, South America). And, as of January 1, I’m leaving one of the world’s largest law firms (over 4000 attorneys) to join a small 5-person firm here in Atlanta so that I can build my own law practice.

Wow, another great set of answers!  I have to thank Tony for taking the time to answer my questionnaire - and while I didn't quite get to squeeze his answers (nor a few others) in before the New Year, I hope the delay was worthwhile for everyone since we ended up with yet another great entry!

I have to begin with Tony's mention of the Buford Highway Farmer's Market.  I'm insanely jealous.  In my hometown, my only grocery option is a Super Wal*Mart.  Seriously.  And I assure you, there's nothing super about groceries in a Super Wal*Mart.  Nothing at all.

As for Tony's travels, I have had the good fortune of going to London but never Spain.  My wife and I would love to do a Spain and Portugal trip sometime soon...  Unfortunately for our passports, we just bought a new house this year so I think 2015 will be my first year NOT going on a trip to a foreign country since 2008!

Thanks for volunteering Tony - and thanks to everyone else who has volunteered as well.  I still have a couple more entries in my Better Know a Blogger series before this topic will have (finally) run its course.  Stay tuned for those - and of course, I still have to answer my own questions but I'll do that at the very end of the series!


The Lost Collector said...

Awesome write-up. Great to learn more about Tony L!

Marcus said...

Wow, Tony's life sounds way more interesting than mine! I've never been out of the country. And that signed seat by Paul Molitor sounds pretty cool, too. Sorry NG for having to buy your groceries from a Super WalMart. That isn't super at all.

Kevin Papoy said...

Great answers, good to know Tony a little better !

Mark Hoyle said...

Great Q and A.

Fuji said...

Super jealous of Tony. He's been to 42 states? That's flippin' awesome.

I'm lovin' these post... keep 'em comin'.

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