August 6, 2009

Marie's View: You wanna know how I really feel?

(Warning: This is a rant and me going bananas in no sort of logical thought process exists here. Just remember I warned you.)

This whole denial of licensing for Upper Deck has put the final nail in the coffin of collecting a variety of different cards. I was enraged when Donruss was taken out of the equation, but now all we have left is Topps? This is bullshi#%.

I don't give a sh$% that Topps was the innovator of the industry, or that they have been around the longest or any other crap reason someone wants to spew. They supposedly want to create this monopoly to engage the interests of young children and young adults again and move the hobby in that direction. I'm sorry, isn't that what they were supposed to be doing all along? Maybe it's MLB saying the hobby is moving in the wrong direction, and maybe they should stop and think about who is buying tickets to their games, buying the gear, etc. because it surely isn't a 9 year old.

I understand that the hobby is dominated by adult collectors, but realistically what kid has means to get to the hobby store (which nowadays could be 30 miles from home), and has an allowance that will afford them packs at $5 a shot for 4 cards in some cases. In the last few years the only movement the card companies have made to engage young children in collecting were putting out Opening Day and First Edition. Not for nothing, kids aren't stupid and they want to get the packs where they have a chance at pulling a jersey card or an autograph, not a pack where there is no gloss and a garbage design.

This has me so amped up, you guys have no idea. I understood the explanation for cutting Donruss years ago because of the oversaturation of autographs and what not but this makes no sense. While I would love a topless set of cards, I would much rather be able to buy a box of Goudey, Sweet Spot, or Goodwin (which I'm still exicted about even if it will only be around one year) yet now we are stuck with Topps. Oh and I guess Bowman and their stale design.

Without any competetion from other companies Topps can continue to produce mediocre base sets, reused designs, and the same BORING sets year in and year out with no worries of people buying Upper Deck or anything else. Great move MLB, bravo idiots. Maybe this will make Topps actually attempt to come up with new designs, or bring back some retro set that people liked from years and years ago like the Heritage.

I would love to see the first year sales report for Topps as the sole provider of baseball cards. Can't wait to see how many children buy Triple Threads and Sterling.


  1. Well said! There are a whole bunch of collectors upset right now(exept James from the Sports Card Blogroll).

  2. Right on, Marie! I fully agree with all of your points.

  3. Preach on.

    BTW, back in the "heydays" of the middle 90's, I collected up to 10 different sets.

    Next year, one, the basic Topps set. Nothing else Topps puts out does anything for me.

    I had contemplated Heritage when it first came out, but as soon as I discovered that there were short prints, forget it.

    BTW, I only collect two products from UD. The base set and SPA.

    Looks like I'll be saving plenty of money in the future.

  4. I may be in the minority here, but I don't think it's all that bad. We all saw the handwriting on the wall, but didn't want to admit it. Of the Big Four Pro Sports That Matter The Most, the NHL first went exclusive with UD, now the NBA went exclusive with Panini, and finally, MLB has gone exclusive with Topps.

    The NFL remains the only multi-licensor for cards, which makes sense, since 1) it by far is the most popular pro league in the country, and 2) has far less confusing rookie card standards (i.e. easier to manage and execute).

    The leagues and players' unions are finally realizing that the card biz Gold Rush days are long over, and the current enconomy is forcing the need to consolidate their revenue position--now to minimize loss, not increase spread.

    A supposed 'monopoly' is not inherently evil, and competition for its own sake is no sure-fire remedy to improve things. With over-competition in recent years, we got a bunch of overpriced, poorly designed, repetitive and indistinguishable products by companies that still hold out on faith that printing cards is the same as printing money.

    I don't really care who would have won the MLB exclusive contract, but if I had to choose, I would have picked Topps as well.

    At this point, I think it's worth putting the spotlight directly on one vendor, for a while, to see what happens. It's an instance where a monopoly CAN be a good thing.

    Topps clearly is under fierce hobby and licensor scrutiny at this point, and if they continue to pull gimmicky shenanigans and be boring, that exclusivity can easily be re-awarded to someone hungrier (like UD or Panini will certainly be).

    It's also not like alternatives won't be there. UD is not drying up and going away. They have way too much of a back-log of auto stickers and cut-up clothing to just give up now.

    Donruss-like sets of legendary old and dead guys mixed in with logo-free current players are just about guaranteed. Not to mention that the USA baseball iceberg tip is just fiending for the next Strasburg or Bryce Harper to hype.

    Don't forget that there's even Tristar as another place to go.

    Besides, some card-maker out there HAS to be working on a retro-themed 1916 Tango Eggs design, license or no license!

  5. Isn't competition supposed to breed improvement? How does MLB believe that limiting their license to one company will help sell their product? Come on!

    What else can we expect from MLB, a company/monopoly that has managed to risk the very sacredness of the game, the integrity of the game, with all the steroids for the almighty dollar. Bud Selig is an imbecile and everyone around him has helped take down the game of baseball one peg at a time. This is just, as you said, one more nail in the coffin.

    When I told my fiancee about this move she went public outside a Target, and she doesn't even collect!
    Baseball and this country are limiting free trade, competition, and everything that was once good. I wonder if I can get Yankees games in the Carribbean?

  6. Good Point - this is not going to work unless Topps produces a less than a buck a pack base brand. Maybe they can have 2-3 high end brands ((Finest, Stadium Club) but that is it. It would be great if instead of 100,000 people collecting cards there were 200,000. When someone pulls a Pedro Alvarez 2010 Topps rookie card, they will know that is his rookie card (with maybe A Bowman and Finest rookie card also). What needs to be stopped is paying $100 for a box of cards that produces 1 3$ autograph and 3 2$ jersey cards. After buying a pack or box of cards people need to not feel like they just drove off a used car lot after buying a car from Kurt Russell - BATEMAN72

  7. @willworkforcards:

    Let's get this straight...

    My blog is bdj610's Topps Baseball Card Blog. I don't just maintain the Sports Card Blogroll.

    Secondly, heck yes, how can I not be excited. Regardless about how this whole thing plays out, Topps will make their eponymous set in 2010 and beyond (or until the current deal expires). As a collector who has every Topps set from 1976 to 2009, this is great news for me that I get to continue collecting cards.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not wishing UD ill will, and I'm sure they'll find a way around this, but they're still planning for 2010, and as in the last 15 or so years, I won't be buying any of it.

    That's all.


    JayBee Anama