Thursday, October 08, 2015

Better Know a Blogger: Matt (from Bubba's Bangin' Batch of Baseball Bits)





1. Your name (or alias):  Matt Stupienski

2. Your blog website:  Bubba's Bangin' Batch of Baseball Bits

3. What kind of collector do you consider yourself (team collector, player collector, set collector, etc.). Why do you collect that way?
I am first and foremost a set collector.  I have always been very much the completionist in most everything I do.  I started collecting cards via the card gaming industry (Redemption CCG, Magic the Gathering, ect.) and even when collecting these cards, I very much wanted to have every single card that was printed regardless of whether or not I was actually going to use the card in a deck.  I've always enjoyed putting cards in binders and looking at them that way, so collecting an entire set gives you a very efficient and easy way to organize them. 
I wouldn't say that I'm ONLY a set collector though.  As a kid going through school, my favorite team was (and still is) the Atlanta Braves.  I had a binder full of all the baseball cards I had organized by team and probably a good quarter to third of it was Atlanta Braves players staring back at me.  I vividly remember using the nine-pocket pages to set up "lineups" for myself with Braves from the 90's.  It'd usually go something like: Klesko, A. Jones, Justice, C. Jones, Furcal, Lemke, McGriff, Lopez, and the pitcher who just pitched the other day...  I don't think these guys ever all played together, but these were definitely my favorites from that late 90's to early 00's range.

4. In your opinion, what could the major card companies (Topps, Panini, etc.) do to make your style of collecting better for you?
Keep being creative!  That's what got me into the hobby in the first place.  As long as they continue, I'll be a happy camper.  Oh, and keep making purple cards.  I like them.

5. What is your favorite part of your collection?  This could be one specific item, or a binder of cards, etc.
It would probably have to be this binder.  

It's full of the complete regular back mini set from 2006 Allen & Ginter.​



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?
HECK YES.  ...and it's not embarrassing.  Felicia Day is awesome.

 
7. If you were forced to part with your entire collection except for one card, which card would you keep?
Eww... One card?!?!? That's the antithesis of set-building... I don't like it.  It wouldn't be Felicia Day though, cause that's not a baseball card.  I guess I'd keep a black Ginter mini of John Smoltz (my favorite player).  That would probably sum up my collection the best.

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?
I might get a whole lot of flak for this, but I honestly think that Topps is one of the most creative companies in existence... and I'm not talking about just in the card collecting universe.  Topps' sole purpose is to try and impress people enough with design to get them to buy otherwise worthless pieces of cardboard.  Guess what... It works.  I think the problem that most people have with Topps isn't their general "lack of vision and creativity," its more that they think every set has to be perfect.  That's just not going to be the case.  Topps (and any other card company) is required to experiment with the public to see what is well received and what isn't.
Let's take Topps Chrome for example.  This set is the single least creative and generally most boring set that exists.  We'll take an existing set, throw it on foil-board, stuff less of it into a pack than normal, and then sell it for more.  It still sells... people enjoy shiny cards. 
Let's take another set that premiered in 2012 called Panini Prizm.  A complete flop of a set that was, in my mind, a fairly innovative idea.  Panini has since adjusted the design significantly and the brand is still around now and doing fairly well. 
I suppose my point is that trial and error is simply part of the business in the card collecting world, and you can't expect your favorite set to "hit" every year.  My favorite set completely missed in 2011 and the past two years have been somewhat droll as well.  I'm not decrying Topps though because, guess what???  Other sets were out of this world great this year (Flagship, Bowman, and Stadium Club).  
 
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 currently work at ESPN as a Stats Analyst.  It is an entertaining job that is completely different everyday.  I work mainly in two different areas (Pregame and Soccer).  Pregame involves doing all the grunt work behind getting together schedules, rosters, network assignments, ect for the website and studio purposes.  At times, it can be extremely demanding work with a whole lot of scrutiny built in.  I also help to oversee all our live stats, schedules, tables, and rosters on the soccer end of things over on ESPNFC.com.  I thoroughly enjoy this as the website is still fairly new for ESPN standards and still has a long way to go to catch up to the rest of our coverage.

10. What is your favorite place that you’ve ever visited?  Why?  
I've never been outside the US/Canada so I'm forced to pick a place within those two countries.  I would have to say it would be a tie between Disney World and Arches National Park with the winner being greatly dependent on my mood at the time.  I love Disney for what it is... creativity.  I said Topps was creative... well Disney eclipses Topps by a landslide.  It helps that I get to go there free as well.
Arches National Park was my favorite place that I visited on a trip out west with my family years ago.  I love hiking, and getting to hike through and over extremely cool natural rock formations was really a treat for me and I'd go back in a heartbeat.

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.
This is pretty darn cool.  Think of it as a fair for New England.  Every state has it's own tent and displays various crafts, foods, ect for their region.  The fair is held every year in the fall in southern Massachusetts .
12. Do you have any other hobbies besides card collecting?  
Gaming.  Especially board-gaming.  I have a fairly big collection of these that consist mostly of heavy strategy Euro games.  I also enjoy officiating baseball and basketball at the high school level.

13. Tell me something interesting about yourself (that we haven’t covered in the first twelve questions).
My favorite food happens to be a cereal, and its not one with a particularly appetizing name.  It also happens to be extremely expensive and looks like cat food.  Nonetheless, I give you:
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Many thanks to another awesome volunteer!  I strongly believe that Matt and I would get along quite well - he and I both love all things Ginter...and set collecting in general.  He also is a math guy like me (though I only wish I could do something like work at ESPN rather than what I do for a living). I also love gaming (a big reason why I teach a class called The Mathematics of Games and Gambling)!   Heck, I even like Cracklin' Oat Bran!


3 comments:

Fuji said...

Cracklin' Oat Bran... gotta try it. Back in the 90's... I totally got caught up in the Star Wars CCG. Never actually played it, but I loved chasing the set. Unfortunately the UR main characters became way too expensive for my budget.

And Matt... stat analyst at ESPN? That is flippin' cool. Very, very jealous.

Matt Stupienski said...

It is pretty cool. I really enjoy it!

Thanks for the post Chris. I'm sure we'll all find out tomorrow, but where do you teach??? You ever video-cast your classes??? I'd love to audit. :D

defgav said...

Love Cracklin' Oat Bran!

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