Theme Week: Better Know a Blogger (Joe from The Shlabotnik Report)

Yes, this theme week is still a thing!  I only have a few more editions waiting to be added to the blog before I can retire the theme.  I hope everyone isn't quite tired of Better Know a Blogger yet though since we aren't finished!

1. Your name (or alias):  Joe Shlabotnik
2. Your blog website:  The Shlabotnik Report
3. What kind of collector do you consider yourself (team collector, player collector, set collector, etc.). Why do you collect that way?
I used to consider myself a set collector first, a Mets collector second and an Orioles collector third.  That's generally still the case, but the best way to describe myself right now is "cardboard hedonist"...I acquire whatever is getting me excited until something else gets me excited.  -- And now that I've written that outt, I wish I could go back in time a few years and tell ‘2011 Joe’ to name my blog "The Cardboard Hedonist".
4. In your opinion, what could the major card companies (Topps, Panini, etc.) do to make your style of collecting better for you?
I would like to be able to buy loose packs of cards without feeling that I was wasting my money because pack feelers and the like had already taken all the packs with any value.  I understand that eliminating the lottery aspect would put a card company into bankruptcy within months, so instead I'll make one simple request of Topps:  Use different photos in Opening Day so that I can buy cheap wax without feeling like I'm buying an cut-rate parallel set.
5. What is your favorite part of your collection?  This could be one specific item, or a binder of cards, etc.
My complete sets from the first 5 years I collected:  1974 - 1978.  For the most part these are the same cards I've owned since the 1970's.
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?  
I've had many cards which fit into this category, but right now it would be the 1967 Topps Bob Buhl.  The guy looks like he could play the “heavy” in a 1960's B-grade horror movie.
7. If you were forced to part with your entire collection except for one card, which card would you keep?
It's so hard to pick just one card.  The best I can do is to narrow it down by starting with my first set (1974), then my favorite team (Mets) and then going with their best player at the time, Tom Seaver.  That's not to say that the 1974 Seaver is my favoritest card of all time, but it would nicely do the job of representing the collection which some unpleasant person or chain of events has forced me to part with.
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?
Topps has done a good job with their "Faux-bacco" sets, but I feel like those sets have run their course (or maybe it's just that I've never cared much for them to begin with).
I would take the people who've done such a nice job of creating original A&G designs and assign them to create a new set which has a "Vintage Topps" feel to it - and yet is not based on a vintage set nor just a lazy ripoff of existing vintage card designs.   Something that looks like it might've been a set back in the day, but not anything where you could say "This part comes from 1978 Topps and this part comes from 1987 Donruss (just a completely made-up example, I wouldn't DREAM of picking on anybody in particular).  
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?  
My current job title is "Software Engineer", I've been working in IT for my entire professional career.  It's a field I got interested in during high school and I've been doing it ever since.  It's generally worked out OK for me, but it's far from the "Sky's the limit!" career path they assured me of in the 1980's. :-D
10. What is your favorite place that you’ve ever visited?  Why?  
It's not so much my one favorite as much as one of my favorites, but I'll go with Vancouver.  It's a beautiful city, and I really liked that fact that you could walk down the street and turn the corner and not know what you'd see... Could be mountains in the distance, could be Stanley Park, could be the harbor, could be someone filming a movie or TV show...
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.  
While I truly like where I live, it's still a matter of "I'm not from here, I just live here", so I'm going to answer this with the food I miss the most from my Long Island upbringing: pizza, bagels and rye bread.
12. Do you have any other hobbies besides card collecting?  
In the past I've collected stamps, coins, radio station bumper stickers and other things.  I read (but don't truly collect) comics.  I'm several years into a project of ripping all of my obscure vinyl albums, and prolonging the process by buying and ripping additional obscure vinyl albums.  The funny thing is that I'll rip an album by an obscure band like Tuff Darts or The Drongos, and then they'll show up on iTunes a year later.
13. Tell me something interesting about yourself (that we haven’t covered in the first twelve questions).
I am an amateur cartoonist; just good enough to have had people tell me I should do it for a living, but not talented enough to actually make any money from it.
As usual, I must first start with a big "thank you" to our latest volunteer in my ongoing Better Know a Blogger series.  Joe actually sent me his answers back on January 27 but it's taken me about a month to get around to posting his answers.  I do think I'm caught up with all replies up to and including January 27 though, so that's something!  I should mention that I actually wrote this post a week ago but it didn't get a turn in my post queue until now.

Anyhow, back to the matter at hand:  Joe's answers.  I'll start with his comment about being an amateur cartoonist.  I have no artistic skills at all so I'm always amazed at those who can draw, paint, etc.  My wife was an art minor in college and I find her work to be amazing - but then again I find lots of things about my wife amazing *cue awwwwwwwwwwwwww*.

Of all of Joe's baseball card related answers, I think I liked this line best:
Use different photos in Opening Day so that I can buy cheap wax without feeling like I'm buying an cut-rate parallel set.
That's a perfect way to sum up my feelings on the Opening Day brand as well.  A cut-rate parallel set.
Finally, I have to mention that I'm jealous of Joe (and anyone else) who has been to Vancouver.  That's a place that's on my "must visit" list but alas I haven't yet made it there.  It's a bit too long for a road trip from where I live (Pennsylvania) and I haven't yet justified a reason to fly there.  Maybe I can find some sort of conference there and call it a work trip?!

Thanks for participating in my Better Know a Blogger series Joe!  I hope everyone enjoyed this issue of the series - and I encourage you to click on the Better Know a Blogger tag to see all of the other fine entries in the series.  Lots of great bloggers out there to check out!


  1. Very interesting read. Good to learn more about Joe!

  2. Very interesting read as well. No, I don't have barwa real estate company, though.

    I do agree about Vancouver -- it's probably my favorite city in North America.

  3. I have a feeling someone is going to steal that blog name. And I agree Topps should put out a original "vintage" set and use different photos in Opening Day.

  4. I also agree with the Cardboard Hedonist and Cynicalbuddha... Opening Day should have different pictures in it. It would quickly become the set for me!

  5. Anonymous7:51 PM

    Thank you for including me in your never-ending theme week! I had fun writing my entry, and I'm glad to see that others enjoyed it as well.


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