I'll break a lot of this down in subsequent posts, but as can be seen in the photo above, I left there with a decent haul.
My biggest complaints regarding the National were that it was way too crowded, and there was a lot of redundancy. You could tell who the "noobs" were; and most of them spent their allowance/budget within the first two days, leaving Saturday and Sunday a lot less crowded than in the past.
The redundancy was evident in that maybe 40% of the tables were the exact same stuff: a ton of graded [stuff] that I wouldn't buy, nor could afford; Yankees stuff and/or the usual suspects of "big names". Of course, the big names are Ohtani, Ronald Acuna, Juan Soto and Wander Franco. After the first two rows of tables, Andrew and I looked at each other and said that we had seen enough Acuna cards to last us a lifetime. I can also complain that it was really hard to find dime boxes (actual dime boxes, not just boxes of 80s-90s junk disguised as dime boxes) and I couldn't find many folks who had Bowman parallels for graphing that I could look through. Oh, and I really wanted to find some Perfect Game lots, Leaf Valiant or Elite Extra Edition cards of Cody Freeman, but found none, just big name guys like... Acuna, Soto and Wander.
In all, though, I had a great time in Chicago this year. I spent a lot of time with my good friend, Andrew, and also my buddy Nate. I spent time with Nate's friend, Kyle, as well, and also Michael. I got to see my awesome friend, Max, for a short bit, too, but not nearly as much as I would have liked to. I would say that this was a very successful National, even though the first few days were over-crowded. I look forward to next year, in Atlantic City, which, if I'm able, I'll be there.