And So It Ends

Author: Mario Alejandro

There was once a time when The Hobby ran through my mind 24/7. Here I was cranking out over 100 articles per month, recording box breaks to post on YouTube, scouring eBay for new cards I needed, and making online trades in every popular online forum available. Oh, did I forget to mention I had a full-time job and a wife and kid at home?

I guess you could say I was burning the candle at both ends looking for something I could never quite find. Was it the perfect Jose Canseco collection, a cover story on Beckett, or maybe those long-lost barrels of 1952 Topps buried at sea? I can’t quite say because I do not know the answer. I do know that my time at Wax Heaven, which unofficially ended in December when I shut the site down, is officially over as of October 4th, 2010, just a few weeks shy of the third anniversary.

Rather than let the site sit unattended and underappreciated except for the 700-800 random visitors who come through Google searches daily, I did the only thing I could do to ensure the Wax Heaven name would live on; I sold it. Everything, too, not just the WordPress blog. The Twitter account with 200+ followers and the YouTube account with over 500 subscribers as well. Everything Wax Heaven was, including the 2,000+ articles, close to 2 million visitors, and 25,000+ comments now belong to one man … and who is this man, you ask?

Well, his name is Austin and aside from being a true blue journalist like everyone’s favorite blogger, Chris Olds, he is also a collector from the 80’s and early 90’s who has just come back to The Hobby after a long absence and wants to write about his experiences coming back to a completely new scene none of us “old” collectors could have ever envisioned.

Sounds exactly like me, which is exactly why I knew he would be the best man to take over Wax Heaven. So expect a full return to stories, probably written much better than I ever could with an entirely new perspective on this wonderful hobby of ours that keeps us coming back for more even decades after our last pack of cards.

God bless you all for the wonderful support, emails, free cards and so much more. A special thanks goes out to Upper Deck and Chris Carlin for being the first to believe the “little guy” could one day compete and kick Goliath’s ass (and we certainly did). We had a great run and I’m very proud to see how immense the entire community has become since my arrival in 2007. See you all in the future and for those that want to keep up with me you can find me on Facebook.

Keep Collectin’,

Mario Alejandro Castillo


An Open Letter from Mario

Author: Mario Alejandro

I’m getting creamed in the U.D Awards. Where my people at?

In all seriousness, though … fellow collectors and readers of Wax Heaven are some of the nicest people I have ever known. It’s been a trying few months as baseball cards have taken a back seat to winning back my true love, and ultimately failing miserably.

I’ve had feelings of anger, sadness, bitterness, and even thoughts of suicide. As I began hitting rock bottom into a pit of events I’d rather not discuss, I’ve received hundreds of e-mails and blog posts showing support for me and the site, which has lost 2/3 of the daily visitors since December.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to respond to any emails but still keep in touch on an almost daily basis through Twitter and for a clever few, on Facebook on my non-sports cards account. As for those acts of kindness, there are just too many to mention but this one in particular almost made me shed a tear.

Truthfully, I don’t know if I’ll ever return full-time to the card blogosphere, which has blown up lately and I don’t even know if I’ll ever enjoy trading cards again in general but I just want to thank every single reader and friend for their continued support. It’s amazing how many people care about the Perez Hilton of card blogging.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

-Mario Alejandro

The (Other) Man Behind Wax Heaven

Take a look at this 2007 Spectrum Michael Bourn autograph. It is the only reason Wax Heaven exists today. You see, this site was originally called ‘Canseco Completist’, a blog dedicated to my 20-year Jose Canseco collection. As one can imagine, that blog was going absolutely nowhere until horrible Card Karma struck.

Two weeks into Canseco Completists I had spent thousands of dollars on wax with nothing to show but a bunch of base cards and seemingly dozens of Michael Bourn autographs. I would not have minded so much if it was Jimmy Rollins or Ryan Howard but at the time, Bourn was going nowhere fast.

It was my terrible wax luck that caused me to venture just once (or so I thought) to blog about something other than Canseco. Two weeks later Completists became Wax Heaven and the rest is blogosphere history. In two months the site will turn two years old and Mr. Bourn will have inspired over 2,500 stories by then (currently sitting on 2,331).

As for his career, I may have spoken too soon. This season Michael is hitting near .300 on the year and is leading the National League in Triples and Stolen Bases. He may not turn out to be the next Rickey Henderson or even Vince Coleman but at just 26 years of age I will give him a little more time to mature into a better ball player.

Looking back at that first post, it’s funny reading about my excitement over relics and autographs. You cannot imagine how much of a card newbie I was back then, constantly having to email Cardboard Junkie and Stale Gum when I had a question, which was often. Luckily, they were very patient with me.

I hope to host a bunch of contests on the 2-year anniversary so stay tuned!

Is this who Beckett caters to?

You know, not everyone is into the computers Internet.”

As of June 2008, 73.6 % of North America was on the Internet or roughly close to 250,000,000 million people. Beckett Media’s Eric Janhke wants you to believe the reason their price guides don’t use eBay’s recent sale prices is because there are just so many collectors who do not use the Internet (link). How do you like the watermark?

Seriously Eric, I know this was your personal opinion and you weren’t speaking for the company but if THIS GUY can film his videos and upload them to YouTube then it pretty much speaks volumes of those who refuse to use the Internet. One thing is to refrain from buying anything on-line but to flat out ignore it is crazy. Obviously, those who do have bigger issues on their hands than to find out how much their 1985 Topps Mark McGwire is worth these days.

To be honest, I am no longer buying wax because I just cannot afford it any longer. I don’t care what loaded boxes is being hand delivered to you by companies and what sick pulls you find. The reason your magazine once meant the world to me was because I could find out what any of my cards were worth. You guys have lost a lot of credibility for standing your ground and for what?

I have seen your Alexa rankings and they are rough. If you don’t shape up a company will rise from nothing and do what you should have been doing for years now. I already know of one website building their own price guide using eBay and truly all it takes is word of mouth. Just look at Wax Heaven for further proof.

Do you really want to continue catering to the last brick and mortar baseball card shop in the nation? Or do you want to finally accept that the Hobby now lives on the Internet in message boards, YouTube, and Blogs? Hear that ticking? It’s not Chris Olds firing up a frozen burrito in the office kitchen, it’s a clock counting down to the final days of Beckett Media meaning a damn thing to a collector like myself and thousands of others.

Hey, at least you will always have this lady buying your magazine.

Thanks to Sports Cards Info for the video.

Wax Heaven on ‘The Hobby’

I just finished taping a great interview with Mike Schopp of The Hobby. It was an awesome experience and should be ready by this coming Monday for all the Wax Heaven readers and fellow collectors to enjoy.  In the meantime, you can check out their past episodes HERE. All you have to do is click on one of the episodes under ‘Complete Show Audio’.

Until the episode airs, you can check out my first radio interview with Tuff Stuff’s Sports Collecting Radio HERE. As much as I enjoyed the first interview with Scott Kelhofner back in April, I have to admit this  new one was a lot more fun and not as nerve-wrecking as I expected.

Thanks to Mike for the awesome show he’s created!

Happy Thanksgiving from Wax Heaven!

Well, it’s that time again when you can reflect on everything you are thankful for while stuffing your faces full of turkey. I was having a pretty miserable 2008 until I found out last week that my wife’s family was going up to South Carolina for the holiday. This year it will be my mother & sister, my wife, son, Bailey and myself having a wonderful Thanksgiving feast, without the evil in-laws.

I just want to give Wax Heaven reader, Jeff W., a big shutout for winning the Hanley Ramirez lot on eBay. I am going to be spending the next few days putting together everyone’s packages to send out A.S.A.P. Stay tuned to Wax Heaven on December 1st. for the ‘Halfway To A Million’ contest, celebrating 500,000 unique visits plus a thank you for making the site the #1 baseball card blog on the Internet.

This will be the best blog contest of all-time.

Wax Heaven in the Wall Street Journal!

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by the Wall Street Journal about collecting and a recent “pull” that came my way thanks to a blaster box from Target. After a phone interview and no less than three email interviews I was excited about the possibility of getting a “plug” at the Wall Street Journal. After all, they are a fancy, reputable media organization and I am just a Blogger whose first language is not English.

Before I was able to find it, a reader named Greg linked me to the article as soon as it went live. I have to say it is an amazing piece of work even though I only get one little paragraph all the way at the bottom of the story. Hey, at least they got my name right!

You can read the full article by clicking HERE.