Now that I've had a couple of days to process my visit to the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland this past Saturday, let me share some of my experience.
Background: This was my first National and it was a place/event I've wanted to go since the early 90's (I'm 28). I wore an Adam Dunn jersey against the advice of some that said I would have difficulty haggling with dealers for Dunn stuff (this was not the case). I live and work in Columbus, OH so the drive down wasn't too bad, about 134 miles and a 2 hour drive. Leaving home just after 7AM and stopping near Wooster, OH to eat breakfast at Bob Evans allowed me just enough time to park and enter the International Exposition Center right when it opened at 10AM.
My initial reaction walking in through the show entrance was "how the hell am I going to see everything?". I stared at the cards in the first case I came to for a good 15 minutes (cards worth millions of dollars) before moving on. I took some quick pictures for [MENTION=2289]Zan[/MENTION] of this cool bat Hank Greenberg bat that had been auctioned off the night before.
I worked my way clockwise around the perimeter and stopped in at the FCB booth around 11:00 where I introduced myself to [MENTION=1720]cgilmo[/MENTION] and the guys. They gave me some excellent advice on who and what to see and I ended up stopping by the FCB booth every few hours to pick up bits of information and meet new people. Chris, thanks again for showing me around!
I felt the need to open something and decided to go the vintage route with a 1982 Topps rack pack. I just wanted a fun little break and was happy to find this inside...
I happened to stop by the case break pavilion stage when Panini had Bobby Hull up on stage as a guest for a hockey break and, looking into the crowd, I saw our very own [MENTION=1727]ThoseBackPages[/MENTION]! I strolled over to say hello and wished him luck as he had a team spot in the break. I didn't pay to meet any of the sports stars the convention brought in to sign autographs but I did enjoy standing off to the side to see who was signing in the autograph pavilion. Anyone recognize these gentlemen?
I kept my eyes peeled for the cards mentioned in the "Official help find a card at the National thread" but didn't see anything worth mentioning. I did post a nice Rickey Henderson card in his collectors thread but that was the best I could do. [MENTION=3754]MansGame[/MENTION], I almost sent you a PM about this card (they were asking $7) but figured you already owned it or might find it cheaper online.
I did manage to find some nice Dunn singles for myself but didn't find any "big" cards of his that I needed for the PC. With about an hour to go in the show I managed to find what was probably the only Adam Dunn game used bat at the National. After some negotiating I was able to add game used Dunn bat #8 to my collection!
In closing, I had just about the best day I could have hoped for. I met a couple dozen people I knew both from FCB and throughout the hobby. [MENTION=3073]tim carroll[/MENTION], it was a pleasure meeting you and thanks for the generosity - keep up the great work!
And now what you've all been waiting for... a video I shot of the National from the Ferris Wheel!