Sunday, January 9, 2011

The State of the Hobby - A Dimwit's Perspective as 1:21AM

It's 1:21am. I've been sick this week and I've got a cough that's keeping me from sleeping, which of course is probably just making things worse because I can't get the rest my body needs to recoup. So, I'll blog... I'm suffering, you people must suffer with my rants at, now, 1:22am! I apologize in advance for bad grammar or spelling...

My wife (know lovingly to me as the Hotwit) and I have driven all over this fair city of Houston to try and find good deals at Target, Academy and anywhere else we can find cards. One thing really does surprise me the more often we do this: the lack of product on the shelves. By all means, this is a good thing. People are buying and collecting. There are fewer and fewer baseball blasters wherever we happen to stop. (And no it's not because I've already bought them all... I wish...). There are a lot of complaints out on the web on blogs and in forums that Topps' "monopoly" on the licensed baseball card field has harmed the market. While I'm not a huge fan of what the industry has allowed to happen, after years of mismanagement, print overruns and unnecessarily large base sets it is a bit comforting that there are some limitations. There are some good products out there, in my opinion Allen & Ginter is not just nostalgic, but it's a good set with the right amount of variants and inserts. Then there's the mediocre stuff like, again in my opinion Chicle, T206 and Topps Chrome where it just doesn't look like Topps tried very hard. And I'll tell you, those are the three products that I see the most often still on the shelves, there's a reason for that. And thus T206 won't come back. As for Chrome products, I just don't see how Topps thinks that sending out cards shaped like boomerangs is good quality control. But I just don't buy them and I move on with my day. Do I wish that Upper Deck was still producing Masterpieces sets? Oh, heck ya I do. A limited base set with decent insertion rates, on-card autos and great artwork? Sign me up any day.

Kevin posted at Mojo and Beardy's the other day about the negativity in the blog-o-sphere about the hobby and admitted in the comments that it's probably the 10/90 rule (10 percent of the people cause 90 percent of the problems) but I definitely see his point. It is frustrating to see bloggers constantly bash one card company or the next but then the next day post their latest box break, then complain about the cards they didn't get. It's called "randomization" people, if you got all the cards you wanted, that'd be "standardization". Stop buying, get out of the hobby, vote with your wallet. I did. From about 1995 to 2009 I just stopped buying. The card companies were producing junk and I wasn't going to keep spending my (or in actuality at the time, my parents') hard earned money chasing 880 card base sets with only one nearly impossible-to-collect insert set. When I stepped away there were little to no "game used relics" or autographs in packs. I like the change. A bit over-estimated and over-hyped now a days, but the change is good. You really can get great cards out of the average box now, so what if you miss every once in a while? That's part of the fun in my books. Disappointing yes, but nothing to get all in a snit about!

Also, there were no blogs that I knew of then, and no trading online. No way to show off your cards other than put them all in binders and show them to your neighborhood card shop owner who really just wanted you to spend your money and get out (at least mine did, he's out of business now, he was a jerk, good riddance to fine rubbish). The industry has changed, it's evolved. Do all the complainers really want to go back to the late 80's and early 90's? Oh no, they just want Babe Ruth auto's and jersey swatches in each and every one of their packs. I'd love me an A&G Dino Relic or 7... Sorry guys, it's not happening. Just collect and be happy... Wow, looking back, not too shabby for 1:47am...


  1. Very well said, and I agree with you. It seems you and I got out and came back into the hobby around the same time, and its interesting to see how things have changed. You are right about the product being gone from shelves. My local Target carries a good amount of product and the "oldest" 2010 set they have currently is Chrome. Everything else is gone. You are also right about some collectors complaining about not getting the hits they were looking for. If you want that card so bad, buy it on the secondary market and potentially save yourself hassle, time and (possibly) money. I can't really say much more than you have, well said!

  2. What some people call 'bad', I call good. I grew up loving the cards of Larvell Blanks and Dave Lemanczyk. To me, cards are a great way to know all of the players, and I love knowing about the utility infielders and middle relievers.

    But I'm weird.

  3. I see your point there Smed. There is something to be said about Topps base sets that have full team rosters' worth of players cards rather than just the superstars and notable names.