Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I think Cincinnati and I are going to get along just fine!

As I've mentioned here and there, the missus and I are going to be living in Cincinnati next year. Although I love the city I was initially a little wary of our exact living location, since it's in a bit of a "dodgy" area (twenty years ago it went by the nickname "Helltown"), but after stopping in over a few weekends I'm realizing how much better of a neighborhood it is nowadays and how many amazing things the area has to offer.

One such thing is a professional baseball stadium only a twenty minute bus ride away. We took in our first Reds game as a couple this past Sunday and watched as the Reds won via walk off, with Jay Bruce hitting his second homerun of the game in the bottom of the ninth to tie it and pinch hitter Scott Rolen singling in the winning run a few batters later. My fiance doesn't care much for baseball but even she was excited by the end and now wants a Jay Bruce jersey. Maybe I'll get this girl into baseball after all!

Another thing the area has to offer? Tons of baseball card stores, including three within 15 minutes of our new apartment. I already mentioned Maverick's in the past (in short, a nice enough place but mostly a comic shop), but this past weekend I hit up two new stores to see what else was around. The two I chose were Shoeless Joe's and Ideal Baseball Cards, awkwardly within 5 minutes of one another. I decided I'd stop by both shops last Thursday as I drove down from Bloomington, but I totally forgot that Thursday was Opening Day for the Reds! Because of this both owners were out of the shop, which meant I didn't get the true Shoeless Joe's experience (and Ideal was closed!).

Friday thus became a do over day, with me going to Ideal first and then Shoeless Joe's. I'll review them backwards though because I want to finish with pictures and sadly I have none from Shoeless Joe's. It isn't that the store was awful - it was kind of small, but filled with lots of hits under glass (some local focused but many not), a few 25 cent boxes, a box filled with team sets from various years, and tons of figures like SLU or Headliners hanging around. It also had lots of new boxes to be bought, and always had a few local guys hanging around talking shop, so it's clearly a store with some established buyers and that's great for a card shop! I however am not a box or pack guy, I'm a singles guy, so all I really care about is the stuff under glass and the dime boxes. There wasn't anything I needed and what caught my eye was a bit expensive, so I passed. The owner was pretty nice though so I'll probably be back - he said he might have some Senecas and I can't pass up that chance if he does!

As for Ideal, at first the name seemed a bit of a lie to me, as my ideal would be tons of 90's and 00's commons and hits and this store focuses mostly on well priced vintage. And when I say vintage I mean vintage - every card you could ever want from the 50's, 60's, and 70's littered all over the store. There were a few cases dedicated to newer hits and singles, and what they had was priced very well, but there was nothing I needed desperately. They did, however, have a random 800 count box of cards sitting on one desk, and it just happened to have tons of 1995 Topps Series 2 sitting in it. That's the one Topps set I am still collecting and I can never find it anywhere in person, so I ended up picking up a big stack of cards, almost 100, or about 17% of the overall set:
I brought them up to the owner and was hoping to trade with cards I brought, but he told me most of my stuff wouldn't sell (which I agree with, the trade bait drafts took all my good trade cards hahaha). So I braced myself for a $10+ price tag, only to hear the owner ask me if $3.50 was okay. $3.50 for almost 20% of the set that I've been trying to complete since childhood? Yeah that's okay with me!

The owner was a super nice guy overall - talked cards with me a bit before and after the sale, and even helped me bring my boxes to my car after I brought a bunch of 800 count boxes in for the attempted trade. So for now Ideal IS my ideal baseball card store in the area (it's also the closest I think, or maybe tied with Maverick's for closest), so I'll probably go back there most. We'll see if the tides change as I'm in Cincinnati longer, but for now it's nice to know I might have an LCS, which is tremendous!

So between the game and the card stores (and some tremendous food), I'm loving Cincinnati so far. But now I'm back in Bloomington and finishing up some research so I can get my degree and get gone. Can't wait til I'm officially a resident of Ohio again!


  1. three card shops within 15 minutes of your place? you're a very lucky guy ;-)

  2. AND a monthly card show. I'm loving Cincinnati! Certainly makes up for the past few years where the nearest real card shop was over an hour away.

  3. Good information. I hope to be in Cincinnati to see the Reds from time to time - hopefully a couple of times this season - now that I'm in Indiana and it's good to hear about a couple of decent card shops.

    Incidentally, I graduated from IU - quite a long time ago.

  4. Whoa, cool! Nice to see a fellow grad!

    Shoeless Joe's and Ideal are the closest to "on the way" you'll get coming from Indiana (I take 74 east most of the way from Bloomington to Cincy).

    1. Good to know. Thanks.

      I left Indiana after graduating in '91. Just returned with the family last year - after living in Texas, Ohio and then Chicago for 14 years. Starting to miss Wrigley and Comiskey (er, U.S. Cellular) but I'm four hours closer to Great American Ballpark!

      Life is good.

  5. Wow - that brings back some memories. I grew up in Wyoming, which is next to Finneytown where Maverick's is. It used to be more cards and less comics about 20 years ago when I was collecting - but the whole industry was different then and I think the owner is changing with the times. It was close, but not close enough without our parents until we got bikes and a little bit adventurous.

    Cincy's not too bad - I live in NJ now and am moving to Chicago in a few months. I like where I live and don't know if I'll ever move back, but sometimes I do miss it. I'm glad my parents still live there!

  6. Oh - btw, last comment was Lifetimetopps. Forgot to switch from my google account.