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Old 08-09-2018, 10:05 AM
ullmandds's Avatar
ullmandds ullmandds is offline
pete ullman
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: saint paul, mn
Posts: 8,306

personally...I liked cleveland better than chitown...much less expensive all around and the venue much easier to navigate than chicago. more food options as well.
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Old 08-09-2018, 12:34 PM
Exhibitman's Avatar
Exhibitman Exhibitman is offline
Ad@m W@r$h@w
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Beautiful Downtown Burbank
Posts: 6,936
Default My National Recap

This year, I decided to travel on Monday and hit the show Tuesday since I heard that early set-up day is now a ‘thing’ for relentless deal hunters like me.

I was really looking forward to this show. Monday morning I awoke at 4:30 and couldn’t fall back to sleep. I tossed and turned until my wife took me to the Fly Away bus terminal for the hour ride to the airport.

The trip started inauspiciously: the airport shuttle bus broke down and they piled us into taxis, four to a Prius including luggage. Ours was driven by a surly Armenian immigrant who spent the long trip to the airport giving us chapter and verse about how poorly the bus company paid for his services and how he was missing out on better tips. Cramming my 6’3” into the rear of that cab I pulled a groin muscle and spent the rest of the day indelicately rubbing my crotch region whenever I could.

But I digress.

I arrived at LAX in enough time to make my flight easily and slipped the driver a couple of bucks for his cheery driving. The flight to Cleveland was fine. Though I have to say, United Airlines first class to Cleveland really is an oxymoron. It wasn’t the worst first class I’ve flown (that distinction goes to Hawaii Air) but it was a disrespectable second. The seating was blah, the food underwhelming, and the service was practically non-existent, but at least I got a decent overhead bin for my grotesquely heavy bag o cards. Without a dead dog in it. And no one was beaten and dragged off the flight...but at least that could have been entertaining.

I arrived at the Sheraton after what is by that point 8 hours of travel. I went to my room with the non-functional room key, got that straightened out, and decided to eat in the hotel. Did you know that everything in Cleveland comes with fries? I didn’t. But it does. And salad invariably includes bacon and cheese. I didn’t care, though, as I was so tired that I went right to bed. Where I experienced insomnia. That may have had a bit to do with watching Sons of Anarchy on my laptop just before I lay down. Who would have suspected that a violent drama about a motorcycle gang would affect my sleep?

After a luxurious breakfast Tuesday morning…no, wait, that wasn’t me…I went over to the IX (pronounced “ick”) Center early to get my badge. LOTG was kind enough to sponsor me so the precious ducat (sorry) was to be in the LOTG envelope waiting for me. Now you would assume that since my name was on the freakin envelope it would be a simple matter to give me the freakin' badge, and you would be wrong. I am glad I am persuasive because I had to use all my skill to get that badge out of the well-meaning but dim woman helping me.

“I’m here to pick up my badge to start setting up for Love of the Game Auctions.”

“What’s your name?”

“Adam Warshaw”

[looks under “W”] “We don’t have an envelope.”

“I know. Try Love of the Game Auctions.”

“Are you Al Crisa…Crisa..”

“fulli. No, I am working with Al. My name is Warshaw. I am supposed to pick up my badge.”

“Al’s not here yet.”

“I know. He will be here later. I want to start setting up the booth.”

“Al’s not here yet.”

“Is there someone else I can talk to?”

Eventually we get it sorted, I get my badge, and in I go.

The IX Center. Lovely. It stinks of exhaust fumes because dealers are driving their cars onto the floor to set up. The lights are barely on. Here and there, dealers have stuff ready, so I start picking.

Now, besides my endless want list of weird crap, one of my goals this year is to find cheap raw cards to replace my slabbed 1970s cards. I am sick of the heavy, bulky plastic. I want my cards in albums so I can enjoy them readily, turning pages instead of fumbling with plastic cases. I find myself over by the ferris wheel at Chandy Greenholt’s table. Chandy is a dealer from Raleigh who had hundreds of thousands of cards of every stripe all mixed together in 5000 count boxes. I’ve known Chandy for years and usually find something at his table. He tells me that he bought out the inventory of a swap meet card dealer and is tossing it out there for the show. All I know is that I am pulling out handfuls of exactly the cards I am looking for: clean, crisp HOFers at a buck a throw. I spend most of the morning and early afternoon there.

After about four hours of digging, I have to take a break. I pay for my stack of HOFers and go over to the tables in the nascent food court to put the cards into the Card Savers I brought with me for just this sort of pick. I then resume the walking and stalking, making a few more buys. One table I come to has dozens of Star Cal decals for sale. I have been looking for an Al Rosen for years. My search ends. Nice. I also pick up a quartet of boxing exhibits at a throw-away price including Dempsey, Tunney, Leonard, and one signed by heavyweight champ Jack Sharkey. I then run into a pair of boxing buyers who make my largest sale of the week before I even set up. End of early set up day and I have taken in almost as much as I did the entire show last year

As the show closes, me and another LOTG parasite head back to the Sheraton and get a group together to go to dinner. I’ve now had 36 hours without a decent meal and my stomach is churning so we have to go somewhere better than the hotel slophouse. I find a restaurant on Yelp that seems promising, and we end up having a pretty good meal.

I gotta say, Cleveland is an odd place. Riding through it on the way to dinner I honestly cannot tell whether a neighborhood is good or bad: it all looks run down. One thing we all notice is the large number of fast food places and funeral homes. Any connection there? Back to the Sheraton and into the bar for the evening. I head upstairs at a reasonable hour and I miss Luis Tiant hanging out at the bar. Serves me right.

Wednesday. Another bad breakfast at the Sheraton and it is off to the show for the longest day. Now, in Chicago or Baltimore I will leave the show for an hour or so to nap before the evening because I can easily walk across the street to my hotel. Not the IX…try a $30 round trip Uber. So I muscle through 11+ hours of picking. How many cards do I look at? I have no idea, but I buy so many that I have to buy a box of Card Savers.

At one point I am wandering through the ass-end of the show and I see one of the infamous ten-cent tables, except this one has a crispy looking 1973 Bob Hayes sticking out of a row of cards, so I decide to take a look. I am elbow deep into a group of pack fresh 1973-79 football cards when Ed Hans (hi Ed) runs into me and starts giving me grief for going through ‘crap’ at a ten-cent table. A few minutes later I pull out a 1970 OPC sticker of Bobby Orr in nice shape, which is about a $50 card. I pay for it and 49 other HOFers from the seventies. Five bucks. I go over to Ed’s table and give him a moment of grief. Childish? I suppose. But fun. Meanwhile, a walk-in at my table brought me two of the very rarest boxing Exhibit cards:

From a ridiculously scarce early 1930s print run. I've only seen either card a couple of times in 20+ years.

That night we are all too wrecked to go out—I did not realize that my toenails could ache—soe we dine at the Sheraton. Then to the Sheraton bar. Sitting to our right at dinner, Artis Gilmore; to the left, Frank Robinson. In the bar later, the very personable Eric Metcalf. This is fun.

Thursday is a carbon copy of Wednesday but shorter. Until dinner. A friend has set up a trip for German food. It was great. You gotta love a place with liver dumpling soup, pierogies and Schwartzwalder kirschtort for dessert.

Friday and I was hung over as hell, without ever having a drink. Maybe it is getting older, or fatter, but the National has a way of making me feel like I’ve gone 15 rounds with Ali. In my impaired state I decide to go to the PSA luncheon. I regret missing the day they handed out that CJ Ruth that sold for a few hundred on eBay, so my hopes are high. Nope. Anyone want a heavy book and a signed 1972 Rico Petrocelli? The gifts are worth literally fives of dollars. It was the worst meal I’ve ever had. Nasty chicken, bad beef and frozen veg. Has anyone in Cleveland ever heard of salad? Fresh veg? I return to the show floor and queasily resume my quest, only this time I am out for big game. I am chasing a 1954 Topps Gordie Howe card. The several I see suck and are over priced. I finally find a nice mid-grade and buy it. Then I spot a set break on 1969 Topps Supers and the Hank Aaron is calling my name. I ponder the buy for a while but damn, that PSA 9 is nice, so I do it. Big card off my Aaron list.

Saturday. I am going home and thanks to PSA I have the one thing you want for a plane ride: diarrhea.

The last day at the show is always a bittersweet one. On the one hand I want my bed, my food, my dog and cat, my routine. Yet, as N54 'playa' Robert Silverman says, your worst day at a card show is better than your best day at work. I pick some more cards and try to redeem my Panini redemption card. I've been waiting four months for a signed Stan Lee card I pulled: about a $200 item, and Panini is offering blind boxes of redemption items of comparable value. Well, their "customer service" is a cruel joke. One clerk working one laptop. I wasted about 20 minutes in line and left. A woman in line next to me wanted to leave but had been waiting for a year for the redemption to be fulfilled. On the shuttle back to the hotel I spot a collector with a Panini redemption trade up box and ask how long it took to get it. Two hours. F*** Panini: I am never buying their unopened products again.

I came home with over 400 new items and completely sold out of the books I brought with me.

Only 51 weeks until Chicago. I am already pumped for it.
Please visit my web site:
So... move out of your studio apartment! And try speaking to a real live woman, and GROW THE HELL UP! I mean, it's just baseball cards dammit, IT'S JUST BASEBALL CARDS!
10% off any BIN in my eBay store (user name: exhibitman) for N54 members buying direct from me through this site instead, just PM me.

Last edited by Exhibitman; 08-09-2018 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 08-09-2018, 12:49 PM
irv's Avatar
irv irv is offline
D@le Irv*n
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Ontario, Canada.
Posts: 3,895

Great write up, Adam.

One of these years I am going to have to attend one of these Nationals. They sure sound entertaining!
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Old 08-09-2018, 02:09 PM
Yoda Yoda is offline
Joh.n Spen.cer
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 608

Just a few bullet points about my National experience:
--One would think there would be a direct flight between West Palm Beach and Cleveland, but no. Best bet seemed to be American but with the inevitable plane change in Charlotte, necessitating a mad dash between Concourse C and E. Not fun with a backpack filled with entombed baseball cards. No coronary to report.
--Now Thursday morning and at breakfast sat next to Frank and Mrs. Robinson. Tried not to listen to their conversation but couldn't help myself.
--Over to the Center and was immediately impressed with the layout. Food court and bars off to one side away from the dealers tables. Great choice of junk food, particularly the soft ice cream stands, where I made about a dozen stops over the next few days. Didn't understand the carousel in the middle, which seemed superfluous and a bit silly. No Wi Fi was a bummer but didn't affect me much. Access in and around tables seemed easier than prior Nationals.
--Crowd size seemed manageable and not overwhelming.
--Stopped at LOTG and submitted a nice consignment of pre-war cards to Al. Finally met Jeff, who is a great addition and I am sure will help take LOTG to the next level. The usual suspects were hanging around, drinking Al's free water and generally making a mess of his booth.
--Didn't buy much, mainly, I guess, to due sticker shock and miserable attitude on the part of some dealers. Major auction houses were showing lots of eye candy and strutting their stuff. Their power and influence was palpable.
Did, however, snag a couple of great '14 Cracker Jacks, a Chance and Hooper, from Don Hontz who was kind enough to take my personal check for part of the purchase after I ran out of hundred dollar bills. Thanks Don.
--SGC was, at best, shambolic; tiny submission area, terminals to handle submissions rather than people, terrible communication, broken sealing machine etc. Dave Foreman no where in sight to try and defuse things. A lot of unhappy SGC supporters muttering under their breaths. Meanwhile, even though the crowds were predictably large at PSA, things were moving along and their customers didn't seem about to revolt.
--For me, the Sheraton was a disaster mainly because I suffered a nasty scrape to my leg on the shuttle bus. The Sheraton's attitude was appalling, no offer of medical help, total indifference to my bleeding leg and so on. Carolina Brights is my witness. I am seriously thinking of taking legal action against them, which is something I would never consider if they had responded in a more humane fashion. I will never be their guest again if I can help it.
--Leon, you were missed, but still met up with some old friends and a few Net 54'ers.
If I can get a direct flight, will probably hit Chicago next year. Atlantic City is doubtful. Just don't like the place.
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Old 08-10-2018, 12:51 AM
Exhibitman's Avatar
Exhibitman Exhibitman is offline
Ad@m W@r$h@w
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Beautiful Downtown Burbank
Posts: 6,936

That was me at LOTG with the boxing stuff, John. And I brought my own water and packed out my trash in a Starbucks bag .
Please visit my web site:
So... move out of your studio apartment! And try speaking to a real live woman, and GROW THE HELL UP! I mean, it's just baseball cards dammit, IT'S JUST BASEBALL CARDS!
10% off any BIN in my eBay store (user name: exhibitman) for N54 members buying direct from me through this site instead, just PM me.

Last edited by Exhibitman; 08-10-2018 at 12:52 AM.
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Old 08-10-2018, 07:49 AM
edhans's Avatar
edhans edhans is offline
Ed Hans
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Buffalo, N.Y.
Posts: 772

I enjoyed the grief you gave me, Adam; and it was truly deserved. Congrats on your pickups. I've almost finished reading your book. Fantastic stuff!
Please visit my website at
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Old 08-10-2018, 08:24 AM
mr2686 mr2686 is offline
Mike Rich@rds0n
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ca
Posts: 2,191

Originally Posted by Donscards View Post
The other sites on the ballot discussed were Baltimore, St. Louis, San Diego, Philadelphia, Dallas, Denver and Anaheim. But on these sites, the National stated that they couldn't provide terms and conditions satisfactory for the event--Or the right dates, or adequate load in facilities-pricing, and other guarantees---so it comes down to Chicago and Cleveland for the next few years.
So...these major cities that also put on other MAJOR conventions can't be locked down due to the above listed reasons? Ok, got some swampland I can purchase cheap? LOL
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:16 AM
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swarmee swarmee is offline
J0hn Raff3rty
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Niceville FL
Posts: 3,166

From the perspective of a BBCE employee:

Oh, and awesome clean pickups Adam. Nice job slumming it. Maybe I can convince the wife to take the trip with me one of these summers.
Current Want to Buy/Trade for List:
1930s Phoebe Phelps Caramel Pennant of Georgia Tech
1910 Painted handkerchief of GA Tech pennant girl by F. Earl Christy sold by Atlanta Toy Museum on eBay circa 2000.
COMC store:,sh,i100

Last edited by swarmee; 08-10-2018 at 09:16 AM.
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