By: Shane Salmonson
‘Go GTS Live‘ is a live hobby web show that I have been watching nearly every week for the last few months. Rob Bertrand is the host of that show. Every Thursday on the show Rob opens the newest releases and the cards are given away to the viewers! Rob was kind enough to take some time out and answer some questions about his own collecting, ‘Go GTS Live‘ & and the current state of the hobby.
BU: Can you give us a little background on yourself?
RB: I’m from Chicago, residing in Northeast, Ohio; married to a wonderful, beautiful and intelligent woman and we have two equally wonderful girls ages 10 and 12. We enjoy camping and the outdoors, board games and are saved by grace and involved with our church. I am the Senior Marketing Manager for the Sports and Entertainment division of GTS Distribution, a wholesale supplier for the hobby.
BU: How were you introduced to the hobby?
RB: Like many people, I collected when I was a kid. My Mom did not throw out my baseball card collection. I instead sold it and my comic books to fund a summer of traveling with the Grateful Dead in my early twenties. LOL. I got back into collecting in 2001 after a friend introduced me to the autograph and game-used memorabilia craze that had revolutionized the new card industry.
BU: What do you currently collect?
RB: Well, I’m the kid that never really grew up, so a little bit of everything. From a sports collectibles standpoint, I collect Blackhawks, White Sox, Bears, Bulls and Notre Dame, I’m a HUGE fan of the Fighting Irish. I have two player collections aside from my team collections; Nolan Ryan and Cal Ripken. They were always two of my favorite players. I also collect comic books of Batman, Punisher, Elektra and Black Widow. I also have a fairly robust figure collection ranging from WWE Women’s division to Marvel figures and some from favorite TV shows and movies.
BU: Any favorite pieces from your collection you’d like to share?
RB: I also collect single signed baseballs from the 500-home run and 300-win clubs. That is a special source of pride in my collection because, for some of those guys, it requires saving money and making an annual purchase at the National. I’ve resolved myself to the fact that a handful will probably elude me. As a completist its mildly irritating, like an itch you can’t scratch, but I focus more on being blessed and thankful for what I do have rather than what I don’t. With that said, if anybody has single signed baseballs of Babe Ruth, Mel Ott, Jimmy Foxx, Cy Young, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Walter Johnson or Christy Matthewson, that they would be willing to donate, I’d happily give them a good home. LOL
BU: What exactly is Go GTS Live?
RB: It’s “The Hobby’s Web Show!!” Go GTS Live is a weekly destination for collectors to get new product information, catch-up on hobby news, interact with other collectors and win great prizes from the boxes that we break.
BU: How did the hobby show come to be?
RB: I was the co-host of Card Corner Club Radio before we merged with Cardboard Connection and rebranded the show as Cardboard Connection Radio. It had been my thought, that the show, with the hobby being so visual in nature, would be better served by abandoning the audio podcast platform and migrating to a video-based experience. We had been in talks to “sell” the show to GTS Distribution when one of my partners and I had an unfortunate falling out that resulted in the proverbial band breaking up. Coincidentally, I had been working on a contract basis as a content developer for GTS at the time. My partner and I negotiated an amicable dissolution that allowed me to bring the idea of the video show to fruition at GTS.
UV SQUARE- Acyrlic Case Displays 1 baseball. Use for signed or more valuable collections. Comes with a special UV barrier to reduce light exposure. Keeps signatures from fading. Built-in cradle holds ball in place. Stackable. Inside dimensions 3 x 3 x 3″.
BU: I have been watching pretty much every week for the last few months. Why should others be checking the show out?
RB: The simple answer, I hope, is that it is fun and entertaining. It’s not network TV but I know that when I was getting back into the hobby, I would have loved a TV or web show to watch about the hobby.
BU: You get to break a ton of products on the show, any favorite pulls that come to mind?
RB: We pulled a low-numbered Kevin Durant auto on our first show. It kind of set the stage, so to speak, for what was to come because we have had some amazing pulls through the years. Other hits that come to mind are a red ink autograph variation of Dak Prescott in his rookie year, several 1-of-1 sketch cards and for not being a soccer guy, my goodness, it seems we have hit autos of all the big names including Ronaldo and Messi.
BU: What is your opinion on the current state of the hobby?
RB: Regardless of what happens to the “industry” side of the business, the hobby of card collecting will always be strong IMO. Sure, it’s not what it once was, but from high-end vintage to returning collectors, to digital experiences, there really is something for everyone. The new card business has been booming for the last few years. Strong rookie classes from each of the four major sports has created a market, that in many cases, demand exceeds supply. This is a lot better model than what the hobby experienced in the “junk wax” era of the late 1980’s and early ‘90s.
BU: Anything you would like to see changed?
RB: I think everyone would like to see less sticker autographs. I understand the why of it but aesthetically, there is no denying that on-card autographs are simply more appealing. I’d also like to see the manufacturers unite to produce and promote a card set reminiscent of the ones they did for National Trading Card Day in the early 2000s for a venture we (GTS) launched with the help of Mike Fruitman, a shop owner (Mike’s Stadium Sports Cards) in Colorado called National Hobby Shop Day.
BU: Anything else you would like to share?
RB: Yes, to expand on National Hobby Shop Day a little bit. This will be its sophomore year and after a successful launch in 2017, we are really looking to grow the event in a big way this year. Participating stores who make a qualifying purchase receive free autographed memorabilia to raffle off, various promo packs and supplies to giveaway as door prizes and a credit to host a pizza party. The permanent date for this event is the second Saturday in December. Stay tuned for more details as we get closer.
I wanted to also thank you for your activism in the hobby and providing an opportunity to share with your readers a little about what I do. Thanks for being a loyal viewer and keep up the great work!
BU: I big thank you to Rob! Not only for his time to answer these questions, but for his kind words!
Trading Card Sleeve for New Cards. 2-5/8 x 3-3/4″. 4 mil POLYETHYLENE NO flap. Hold one standard trading card.