September 10, 2010

Lack of competition equates to lack of interest

I have been thinking about this a lot lately, and just recently had a conversation with Flash about it. While I love my PC dearly and wouldn't part with it under almost any circumstance in the world, there is nothing driving me to continue it either.

The fact that I don't collect football, basketball, or hockey cards basically means it's baseball or bust. I don't have any interest at all in starting to collect another sport. Baseball is my passion, and for me to invest money into something just to kill the boredom doesn't make sense.

While I do go out and pick up a new release as soon as it hits the stores, the excitement or enthusiasm often wears off within 5 minutes of writing the post of my newly acquired loot. I was terribly mad and disappointed when Donruss lost their licensing for making MLB cards, and then when it happened to Upper Deck it mad me upset but not as much as Donruss. The second blow was just like the icing on the cake for me.

I really thought early in the year that it wouldn't be that big of a deal when Upper Deck stopped making baseball cards. For a whille, it wasn't that bad and was tolerable. But now approaching the end of the season and the year, there are so many products I miss having to open, like Goudey and Sweet Spot especially. The monopoly on baseball cards really makes no sense to me anymore.

If you think about it, there are 17 spots for baseball product releases and 12 months to a year. Two or three of those spots are wasted on crap products that are boring and usually suck every year. I get that Opening Day is for kids, but there has to be a way to do something goofy that can move that product to another line of production like animating it or something. I really don't care but no one wants Opening Day hobby boxes. I know it sounds goofy but I am so bored with the options of new cards. Approximately 1 release per month.... then we sit around and wait for the next boring set design with silver sticker autos, crinkled corners, damaged cards, and missing hits.

I bought hobby boxes at the National. Does anyone recall what boxes I purchased? I'll tell you this, not one of them was a Topps product nor was it a recent product. Since the National I think I have purchased maybe 8-10 cards, if that. I'm at the point of just buying what I like for my PC and basically nothing more. Wax is fun to me while I am opening it, and that's about it. But.... it doesn't mean I won't buy some new stuff later in the year. I like opening, just wish there was some Donruss 2010 or Leaf 2010 baseball around to entertain me.

I've been to Target 3 times this week and left with nothing. I went to the card shop last week and I left with a couple of 15 pocket sheets.... Ripping a case of 2010 Topps 206 was awesome for me because I got the thrill of opening a ton of packs, only took the few cards I wanted and didn't have to spend money on a whole box for nothing. I am looking forward to the Chrome break to add stuff to my PC and I like wrappers.

Has anyone else been feeling like this lately?

P.S. If anyone has any Cano, Pujols, or Lind mini's from 206 I'd like to trade for them.

P.P.S. I will also say that Bowman Platinum looks like it will be the best set of the year. I am hoping that product is awesome to get things going again.


  1. I think we've all hit the doldrums because of the monopoly. Obak has me excited for three reasons; I really liked it last year, it's different, and it's not made by Topps.

    It's a double-edged sword. I like that there's less product to chase because my funds are really low right now, but I miss the competition. Topps hasn't shown me anything this year that made me stand up and take notice. It's the same recycled sets packaged over and over again. Yawn. It would be one thing if the product was great quality, but it looks like Topps is phoning it in half the time. That's fine for someone not receiving compensation for their work, but if we want any of this half baked crap, we have to shell out money for it. Monopolies create laziness and we are just seeing the start of it.

  2. I did not shed a tear when Donruss-Playoff/Panini lost their license. D-P was taking The Hobby that wasn't sustainable in the long-run. The Hobby is better off with Panini NOT having an MLB/MLBPA license.

    The loss of Upper Deck is different. UD was an innovative company (and before they got into the "cards-of-bugs" business, they were innovative), and we all miss them. But let's face it, the Hobby could no longer sustain 34 releases from two companies.

    It could probably sustain 24 releases, but neither Topps nor Upper Deck would remain profitable with only 12 baseball card sets, per year. One company with 17 releases is probably, in the long-run, in the best interests of us all.

    With that said, monopoly does create laziness. But the monopoly is with MLB Properties and they chose to grant an exclusive license to Topps. And even though they now are the exclusive licensee, Topps also has an incentive to create products we, the collectors, want to collect. For the first couple of months, it seemed to work: i.e. strong sales of Series One Topps and Bowman.

    Lately, Topps has "phoned in" many of their products. Subtract Strasburg and 2010 Bowman is the same mediocre product it's been the last four years. National Chicle and Topps 206 should have never been issued. I still don't believe Clay Luraschi said (at the NSCC meet-and-greet we both attended) that Opening Day was brought back due to "collector demand." Bullshit. OD is just Topps' "contractual obligation set" -- a set they don't even want to make, but have to and it shows.

    With 17 releases, they all can't be winners. I am curious to see how The Hobby will react when BowChro, Platinum, BDP&P, and BowSterling are all released within two months of each other.

  3. Well, I will agree that 34 products would be a bit excessive. However, giving each company let's say 12 or 14 per year would be a great idea. Even leaving Topps at 17 and licensing UD and Donruss to do a couple of releases per year.

    I could do without OD, Chicle, and Ginter (yes, blasphemy I know). Ginter is another recycled boring set year in and year out.

    After all the shenanigans at UD this year, it is doubtful that they will see the light of day to make a baseball card. I would still buy them though.

  4. I really miss Upper Deck. Even if they don't produce "Topps beating" products one year doesn't mean they won't another. Their high end stuff always looked great. Topps high end always left something to be desired. I don't buy boxes of high end but I certain buy singles. I have to say Topps has done decent this year and the coming of Strasburg has definitely helped their cause. But without a big name rookie, where is the baseball card industry? I really wish Topps would get out of themselves and produce something unTopps, something that doesn't have that same "oh this is a Topps set" feeling. Not something gimmicky, something unique, fresh and well designed. I don't know what that would look like but I'm expecting to be wowed....I'm not so far.

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  6. "Well, I will agree that 34 products would be a bit excessive. However, giving each company let's say 12 or 14 per year would be a great idea. Even leaving Topps at 17 and licensing UD and Donruss to do a couple of releases per year."

    The way the MLB licensing fees are, no company could turn a profit with only 12 baseball releases. (Not unless you want to pay $5 for a pack of Topps, $10 for Heritage, and $20 for BowChro.)

    Upper Deck is never getting their MLB license back; and if Panini gets theirs back, I'm going to kill myself.

  7. "Upper Deck is never getting their MLB license back"

    That is one of the worst statements I have read in a long time.

  8. I never said splitting it up was logical, it would just please me.

    At the time you didn't enjoy 2003-2005-ish Donruss? Now I see why it's gone but I loved it at the time. A hot box of Donruss was so much fun to open.

  9. Time to go after some vintage sets! I bought Jumbos of Series 1 and 2 and that's it. The rest of the stuff I've picked up is all 30 yrs. old and older. I don't miss the new stuff one bit. That and all the new stuff tries to look like the old stuff anyways.

  10. Chris, you're wrong about this year's Bowman. That was a solid product this year, which was also helped by the USA cards.

    Take out Strasburg and it was still a good product this year. Bowman is helped by the prospects that are in it year in and year out. A year of good prospects means good Bowman. The thing Topps has to do with that is ensure they putting together a solid list every year.

    You can't just take a bunch of prospects out of a hat and throw them in a set. 2010 Bowman was no where near that.

  11. I'll miss Upper Deck next year when I don't have the base set to buy - I never really got that interested in any of their other set.

    But then again, I hadn't been buying much new wax since before MLB decided we only needed one card company.

    The excessive licensing fees charged by MLB and the MLBPA are destroying the card collecting hobby - Topps had better hope that they can find the next Stephen Strasburg to help move next year's product.

  12. Since UD is out of the mix, there is no debate going on. Nobody is celebrating or defending their favorite product. Other then to say that 2010 Topps is better or worse then 09 Topps.

    Obviously it matters what the better card is, but debating the merits of each release is part of the fun. Without any UD cards it is really just Topps v Topps. That isn't really interesting at all.

    WV = reekdome - is that the state of card collecting?

  13. Deal,

    if that was really your WV that is awesome.

  14. Marie: For a brief time, around late 2002/early 2003, Donruss went back to their roots and made some pretty solid, and collectible, products. 2002 Donruss The Rookies, 2002 Donruss Originals, 2003 Donruss, and 2003 Leaf were all great AND collectible. But come 2004, it was right back to gimmicked rookies and over-priced garbage.

    Sooz: I amend my previous statement. If not for Strasburg, the USA cards, the Jason Heyward true Rookie, and one of the best Prospect classes in years, 2010 Bowman is, an average product.

    To Topps' credit, and one that has been overlooked, are (for the most part) the exclusive autographs that are no more. There were still nine players in 2010 Bowman only available as autographs, but from what I heard and inferred from Clay at The National, all cards will be available as un-autographed, non-Chrome cards in BDP&P.

    In other words, Bowman is slowly going to back to being what it was pre-2006: The only baseball card product that combines rookie selection with set collectiblity and that's a good thing.

  15. I agree with Chris's statements about Bowman heading back to what it used to be and that it's a good thing. Up until 2007 or so (when they started putting 138724 different sets in each box), I loved that product.

    I still love it, but can't afford it (or rather choose not to pay Stras-tax). Not Topps' problem.

    But everything new that's been released lately has such a regurgitated feel about it. I'm so tired with rehashed images!! Unfortunately, when before I'd have a choice to buy from a different brand (not that UD was a stranger to recycling pictures), my only alternative choice now is nothing at all, which I've been more than happy to go with!

    I've been loading up on singles I've been wanting and cheap relics (which are also dwindling!), and Im saving a ton of money and building a collection I truly love. I may never buy a box again.

    I still love cards, but for '10 Allen & Ginter, I've purchased 40+ relics, the base set, AND the Day In History set all for around the price of a hobby box online. Why, exactly, should I approach it any differently? Sure, wax is fun, but instead of overpriced new stuff I've been going after 'junk wax', which provides me just as much entertainment with none of the buyer's remorse.

    So... yeah. This is quite the rambling post. Sorry 'bout that.

  16. There needs to be an organized protest, in the form of letters, emails, everything, protesting Topps exclusive. It needs to be directed at MLB, not Topps, and it needs to begin now. Lead the charge, ladies.