Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Anyone Else Feeling It?

(at least it's extreme)
**disclaimer: this post was written while working the overnight shift, with a terrible head cold. any opinions or statements contained in this post are those of a snot clogged brain, and don't necessarily represent the views normally expressed by the great bearded one**

image courtesy of

Are you feeling it? No, not the flow. I know, I know... it's circular, but that's not the feeling of which I speak. No gentle readers, I am referring to the boredom and lack of motivation brought about by the number of LAME baseball releases in the past month or so.

They haven't all been bad, but when Goodwin is the cream of the autumn crop, the result is a lot more money in my wallet, and a lot less posting about great new sets. Specifically, I am talking about Ticket to Stardom and Ballpark Collection, but these aren't the only culprits. Chrome is great, Chrome is awesome, but when you've been looking at the same designs since March, Chrome also gets old in a hurry, no matter how shiny it is.

I've been sitting here for the past hour, after typing those first 2 paragraphs, trying to figure out how to not make this post about taking the card companies to task for some of the sets they release. I don't want to be that guy. There are already quite a few of those guys , and while good points are often made, they just end up sounding pessimistic and angry.

This isn't about the card companies producing crap. It COULD be, but we, as collectors continue to buy this stuff, and the companies wouldn't bother making it if we weren't buying it, right? What this is about is my collective collecting interests starting to shift as my opinions change. I think I've got a pretty good idea of why these feelings are starting to surface, but it's complicated. I think the #1 reason is that it seems there are at least 50 sets released per year, and about half of them feature the same photos, maybe with a slight change. Along with these 50 releases comes numerous parallels jam packed into each one, most of which are the same damn card, with a different color frame or background. Being a player/team collector, this annoys the piss out of me. Is it really necessary to have that many sets and that many parallels? It absolutely kills me that I have to have a card simply because there's an Oriole on it, no matter how ugly/boring that card may be.

Another reason I take issue with the multitude of sets released each year is the half-assed effort that goes into some of them. I think both Ticket to Boredom and Ballpark are prime examples. Ticket to Stardom essentially rips off a base set design used by Fleer Authentix, and one of it's primary draws is supposed to be ticket stub relics. The relics COULD have been cool, if the team of the player featured actually matched the ticket inserted into the card. I have seen numerous instances where this simply is not the case, and that is laziness to the 1000th power, especially for a product carrying a per box price tag of $85. This brings us to Upper Deck's Ballpark Collection, which while an improvement over last year's set, is still a pretty poor effort. The focus is clearly on game used "memorabilia", which is something I don't necessarily have a problem with. What I do have a problem with is throwing jersey swatches of 6 or 8 random players onto a card, add a fairly high serial number, and then charging $160/box for it. There are ZERO patch cards, and every autograph I've seen so far is on a sticker. $160/box?!?!? Are you freaking kidding me?

The only real argument here is which product is worse?

Releases like these make me contemplate becoming strictly a vintage collector. Somehow, it's much easier to appreciate a card (especially a base card) when there were only 1 or 2 produced of that particular player for that particular year. Besides, how cool would it be to build every Orioles team set from '54-'83? Can you even name a single iconic card that does not feature an autograph or patch or swatch of jockstrap produced after 1993? I can't. Jeter's rookie card is the last one that comes to my mind.

What do you guys think? Am I just crying over spilled milk, and being a whiny bitch, or are there too many crappy sets released these days? I'm not the first or the last card blogger to breach this topic, and I sure as hell won't be the last. Would you be happier with 5-10 well designed, well produced sets a year, or do you like being able to choose from a wider variety of products?

I want to end this with something positive. Are you ready for Turk-Off 2? That's right, Motherscratcher and I are going at it again, and this time with a proper product, the 2006 flavor of Topps Turkey Red.

Stay tuned!

I debated even posting this, because it really is nothing more than an angry rant, but this is my blog, and is one of the only places where I can really force feed my opinions to people. If you think I'm being an asshole, or have missed the proverbial boat, please feel free to let me know.


  1. This year was a trial year for me. I can safely say that there are particular products that I will avoid next year.

    I am good to go with Topps Flagship, Topps Heritage, Goudey (if it is still around), maybe a few packs of SP Legendary Cuts for some nice relics (again, if still around), and that's about it.

    By far the crappiest product of the season is TTS. Goodwin is fun stuff, but I don't expect a repeat next year.

  2. Sure, there are too many mediocre baseball card sets produced these days. The best cure? Just buy the ones you like.

    This year, I accepted the fact that I'll never be able to have one of every Mets card produced. So why should I waste time chasing after ones I don't like?

    I stuck with base Topps and Upper Deck, Topps Heritage, Bowman, Allen & Ginter, O-Pee-Chee and Goodwin Champions. (I also have a few others from before I reached this decision, but you get my point.)

    Junk like Ticket to Stardom doesn't bother me cause I'm not buying it.

  3. Why have a blog if you can't rant? It cuts down on the in-person rants.

    There are too many products out there. If you have the will-power to avoid them, then that doesn't matter. I don't have the will-power, although I find I'm getting better.

  4. Considering all the junk that is produced, how in the world could UD kill off Masterpieces? That is the only set that I have seen that can compete with Allen and Ginter.

  5. I'm with Night Owl---you have to quit buying. That's where I'm at, so far so good.

    And as a player collector I'm SO with you on the parallels. My attitude at this point is if someone sends me a serial #'ed CC that's great, but I don't have the budget to hunt them down. At about $4 per plus s/h, I'd eat up most of my monies on parallels of cards I already own.

  6. Being a wax addict myself, it is really hard to just "quit buying", but the crappy sets out there are making it possible. I over bought Allen and Ginter which killed me financialy, but its a beautiful set, I don't feel stuck with it and I've been able to trade nearly every dupe that I've got-that is quality! If I could still find Heritage, I would buy more of that, I still love the set and it is a hard chase. I still can't go to a department store without buying a 2 dollar pack of Topps, its still interesting to me. I haven't bought (and wont buy) Ticket to Stardumb, that should have saved some trees instead. I actually like the fact that there aren't any good products out there. ITs practically the off-season and it gives you time to catch up on what you need to finish the good sets. If there were 5 great products that just came, that would mean 5 (times however many parallels) more cards that player collectors like you and I would have to track down. I would love to rip a good wax pack right now, but this is a good time to trade and lay in wait for the next great set that is on its way soon. Plus, like Night Owl said, we have blogs so we can rant. I can't wait to write a post about how ridiculous Ticket to Stardumb is and I don't plan on buying any to write that review! You have a great blog and a great collection and that crap detector cartoon is classic! Cheers to you Beardy!!!!!!!!

  7. I should have known the troll would read a post this long, and then leave a comment equally as long :)

  8. Funny comment on the troll....I love his long posts and always read every word. As far as your's your blog and you just rant away. If someone doesn't like it, then they don't have to read it. Which is a good segway to the card issue...if you don't like it don't buy it. I would love it if the manufacturers would produce a somewhat limited number of high quality sets. I want great photography, great designs, on card autos and relevant relics. Produce a ridiculously high end set, 2-3 mid-level sets, and 1-2 low-end sets. If the photos are great, I'll buy some of all of them (maybe not the high-end). I don't need autos of people who will NEVER make it out of A-Ball and I don't have to have 4 hits per box. I just want QUALITY! Good post Beardy...saved me from ranting on my own blog.

  9. I think I'll still rant on my own blog as well, but a ton of the stuff I've been wanting to say was summed up here, so thanks for that beardy.

    Still, I'm curious to see what people's main motivation for collecting is. I'm sure its different for every single person, and furthermore I wonder if their motivations line up with what they do with their money. I know it's something I've been thinking a lot about lately.