Thursday, March 21, 2013

Change Is The Only Constant

Based on a lot of frustration lately, and my declining enjoyment in the hobby, I have decided to discontinue the monthly Daily Dimwit Group Breaks. Over the past few months, I’ve watched close friends and bloggers invest in my breaks, only to get little to nothing in return. I know that each break is a gamble, but I am just at the end of my rope. With the extension of the licensing agreement with Topps and MLBP, I feel that new and future products are not going to be equitable to all involved. This may be a bit of a case of sour grapes, but I’m tired of seeing teams (like my Astros and other “small market” teams) get screwed over by the fabulous marketing team at Topps. The bias shown towards certain teams, especially the Yankees, has reached the point that I can no longer just keep shelling out money to Topps. I feel that we have exhausted almost all of the pre-2008 products to the point that I’d just be re-hashing old products. Additionally, companies like Fleer and Upper Deck are either gone or no longer honoring the redemptions in their products so that cheapens a non-Topps break even further. The last couple months of selecting products for the breaks has been stressful, and it shouldn’t be.Overall, I will be taking a step back from the hobby. I originally took a break from the age of 16 until 28, when Allen & Ginter caught my eye and I found the joy I once had in building a set and collating cards. Even so, Topps has bastardized this set and turned it into something unrecognizable from its original form. Gypsy Queen captured my interest in 2011 and I am still working on putting parts of that set together, and I will continue. Topps took GQ and bastardized it the next year by overproducing it. Looking at the checklist for this year, with 70+ each of autos, relics and mini-relics and about 4 kinds of short prints/variations… they’ve done it again. In some of the preview images of the 2013 set, I’ve noticed that in a set based on drawn images (not stock photography), they are re-using the same images from last year’s set! How lazy can you be? “Hey guys: just slap a new border on this and those dumb collectors will never notice!!!!” I’m bitter, yes, very bitter. I hate what Topps has done to degrade the hobby experience.

Am I going to stop collecting? No. But I am going to be changing the way in which I collect. For those of you with COMC portfolios, expect to see more and more of your Astros cards sell from those portfolios. For those of you with Astros cards sitting out on eBay, expect to see them get sold. Local card shops, you’ll be seeing me in there more often sorting through boxes and selecting what I want. I’m going to collect smarter. Hobby boxes for $100, with 3 guaranteed hits and a snow cone’s chance in hell of something I actually want in my collection? No more. My LCS is not going to be too happy with my lack of spending at trade night, but it’ll be focused on seeing what others pull and have available for sale/trade. I may still gamble on a high end pack like Triple Threads from time to time, or pick up a lot of trade bait off eBay for the sake of facilitating trades with my readers but I won’t be pulling in 2-3 hobby boxes a month as I have for the past year plus here in Mobile . Call it sour grapes, call it burnout, whatever it is I’m tired of the feeling I have walking out of the card shop, it should be fun and it’s not as much fun for me anymore. As my wife, she saw my face last trade night after I completed a hobby box and felt all kinds of buyer’s remorse.

How will this affect the blog? Well, first of all the lack of group breaks will be the biggest change. For the reasons mentioned above, as well as the time and effort it takes to put these together, I just don’t have the resources to keep doing it. Next, my collection focus is going to shift. I am going to finish off the few sets I’ve got in my want list on the side bar. I want to put those to rest. My main focus is going to be the 2011 Gypsy Queen cards that I am still chasing. About 15 autographs, 2 regular back mini’s and some Gypsy Queens … then I may go after the red back mini’s. 2011 GQ will keep me busy for some time for sure. I also plan on going back to the first Colt 45 set of cards, getting organized and starting to look at what cards I need for each team set of Astros Topps cards from club inception to current. Other than that, it’ll be a lot of posts from COMC/eBay. My trade bait will most likely dwindle, and hell I may end up just sending some of these cards out to those of you who I know collect certain teams with the hope that you will send something back in due time. There is trade bait I’ve been sitting on for more than a year, it’s not bait then, it’s dead weight. It’ll become someone else’s card soon enough… hahaha…

For the loyal participants in the group breaks, you don’t know how much it means to me that you all put your money in my hands, and then watched those hands fondle all your cards. I was ecstatic to pull some awesome cards over the last couple of years. The 1/1 Gallardo bat knob coming to mind as one of our best pulls. I loved seeing the excited comments of those who got a hit or card that they were genuinely happy about receiving, cards that I knew would go into a personal collection. I was happy to see cards end up in the hands of guys and girls like myself, who just wanted great cards of players and teams that they collect. I generally feel that all the participants from my breaks enjoyed the breaks, and I tried to be as accommodating as possible. I know I never really busted any of the crazy stuff out there like National Treasure but I like to think I picked stuff that the general audience would want to bust. I hope you have enjoyed the ride.

I’ve done my fair share of moaning and complaining. Topps just doesn’t respond to my twitter rants any more, and probably rightfully so. As an Astros fan, I don’t matter to them. My pockets aren’t as deep as those fans of major market teams. Topps won’t even notice the lack of my money in their coffers, because realistically whatever I don’t buy will just end up being ripped by some other guy out there. But as I mentioned above, COMC and eBay sellers will start seeing more from me. Change is a good thing, and change is coming to this blog. It will probably mean less frequent posts, but hopefully higher quality.

Thanks for those who actually read all this, I love the community we have here online. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I will still be active and still be reading. Not going anywhere! 

Dimwit out...


  1. Hey man, I'm with you on the Hobby Boxes. I still like to buy a box of something every now and then, just, well...because. But it's definitely getting harder and harder to turn boxes around and get even half of what you pay for, whether it be in resale value or trade value. I've absolutely had better luck lately buying some serial numbered or vintage lots off ebay to restock my trade reserves.

  2. I am going to miss your group breaks, they were lots of fun even when I didn't hit big. My trade bait has also been shrinking because I don't buy as many packs than I used to. My LCS has a nice bid board where I am able to pick up some cheap trade bait for my fellow bloggers.

  3. Agree with you wholeheartedly on the eBay/trades/COMC/LCS singles route.

    I've been happily collecting by that method for a couple of years (with just a Ginter box a year and the occasional Just Minors product) and I think you're going to really enjoy that Sam.

    Also, I owe you an e-mail and a FB message. Just compiling a food joint list haha.

  4. I hear ya man, and I can agree with a lot of your statements. You can't jam down our throats what you want and expect us to appreciate and thank you for it. It's like the number of frigging BoSox/Yankees games EPSN shows every year. Guess what - the rest of the country gives a sh*t about those two teams. One a year is plenty - showcase the other teams, would ya.

    I'll miss your breaks for so. Always a good bit of monthly fun. It is great to share with everyone the hits. And yeah - I remember that bat knob. That was cool.

    I always say: collect what you like. Use what you don't to get what you want. Collecting is more fun that way.

  5. I have been feeling the pain, I loved going through my collection all the time. Yesterday at Walmart I stood there modified at the much that instead of paying $20 for a blaster I paid $20 for a repack. I am in your same boat Sam. Spend smarter.

  6. As someone who participated in their first group break with you, I'll definitely miss seeing those. And competing for the usually elusive Cardinals slot, lol.

    I've found this website to be helpful to me when it comes to team sets:
    Like you, I'm finding it easier to pick up what I want/need in singles, and trying to work my way backwards is going to be an all inclusive task on its own.

    I hope the case break brings every printing plate/mini/parallel possible of Jose Altuve. Because I can't think of anyone who deserves it more than you.

    Keep calm, and Astro on, my friend.

  7. Well said !! we ALL feel the same way !! Topps is in for a surprise if this many of us feel this way . Thanks for the ride my freind !!! Maybe soon we can do it again !!

  8. I think I can safely speak for most everyone here and say that your breaks were always fun. I know they were easily my highlight of the month.

    I too have been moving more and more in that direction. I never really had the cash to open tons of hobby boxes anyway, so my entire collecting experience, one I owe to you in the first place, has been based on picking up exactly what I wanted. There's such a deep history of awesome cards, I never regret buying things from 5, 10, 15 years ago.

    We're all with you bud. I think Topps is going to be very surprised by the decline of the hobby over the next couple years. Hell, they might even realize it now. Their website sells more tshirts and random crap than it does cards. Why give them an exclusive license if they, literally, CARE the least about the actual cards.

    Yup, I think we're all with you on this one. Less crap, smarter collecting. It's the only way we'll make it until 2020. I know it's the only way I'LL make it. Preach it brotha!

  9. whenever i bust open a hobby box (which is very, very rare!) I tend to always have buyers remorse. I hate the fact that I could have spent my money more wisely elsewhere. Good post - hopefully you can stay in the hobby though and find enjoyment through pc'ing more! Speaking of - I just had a Jeff Bagwell SP buyback auto come through my doors, if you are interested ... hit me up!

  10. finally got around to reading this post and i can definitely feel your pain and frustration. I have gone back and forth on hobby boxes as well after many high hopes getting dashed with mediocre hits. When i stepped back and looked at what i was collecting i realized that my money could be better spent on completing sets i want and purchasing cards to fulfill a checklist. I am much happier for that...although i do reserve the right to purchase boxes as they are always fun to open and a great way to start building a set. I just don't expect to get a hit anymore.

    Good luck to you with the new direction and i look forward to the new posts.