Friday, August 22, 2008

Things That Irk Me and Other Ramblings

I love our hobby (my wife would say too much) and I get great satisfaction from building my player and RC collections, working on my Topps set run from 1970 to the present, and writing for this blog and but there are also things that really irk me. The following is a work in progress rundown. Feel free to comment on these subjects or add to this list.

Cut signatures of living players - Doesn’t that lessen the significance of a “cut signature”? Since the only means for card companies to obtain autographs of deceased players is via the cut, why utilize them for players, retired or active, that are still living, breathing, and able to write their own names. Cheap and lazy come to mind.

Overvalued and/or Undervalued cards - The egomaniacal personalities and editorial staff at both price guide publications continually misvalue cards by attempting to determine secondary market value within weeks of a products release, instead of allowing time and the natural laws of supply and demand to kick in. We have all seen the ridiculousness of this fruitless exercise. Jimmie Foxx bat cards for $40, Joe DiMaggio jersey cards for $60. Now while this thought might seem to go against the grain of my well posted thoughts regarding a cards' "Real" vs "Book" value, bear with me a minute. In a world where there is a finite supply of this material aren’t we forgetting that in 10-20 years these cards may no longer be produced in the quantities they are now? Are we also assuming then, that in that same time period, no new collectors will enter the marketplace desiring this once plentiful material? It really makes you shake your head.

The World Baseball Classic Craze - Don’t get me started. What a way for the manufactures to cop out of producing memorabilia cards of every day household names to instead clutter the checklist with players from Cuba who will more than likely never see a MLB field except from TV.

Upper Deck not printing their insert odds on packaging - Peculiar isn’t it? Now that there are only 2 MLBPA licensed companies competing for your hobby dollar, one of my concerns was that the manufactures would get stingy with their inserts because the leader of the pack in that regard, (Donruss-Playoff), is no longer producing MLB licensed baseball cards. By choosing to eliminate this criteria from their packaging it really looks like they are trying to hide something, whether they are or not.

The NHL excluding ITG from the licensing of active hockey cards - What a coup for Upper Deck, no competition. What is this the former Soviet Union? In The Game has proven that they know what they are doing and continue to produce great products despite the NHL and the NHLPA. However, it is a shame that collectors are the ones forced to purchase from only one manufacturer when it comes to current player products.

People who trade exclusively based on book value - (See previous post.)

Dealers and ebay sellers who attempt to cash in on celebrity or player deaths - Enough said.

McFarlane distribution practices - It is really time for McFarlane to grasp and utilize the concept of regional marketing. Former case in point. The release of NFL Legends with the Walter Payton figure were next to impossible to locate here in the Chicago area, the region with the most demand, obviously. By producing player specific cases and shipping those to regional markets, more collectors will be able to get their hands on them with out having to utilize ebay. They would be able to acquire them by, hey here’s a novel idea, visiting their area card shop. Secondary market values wouldn’t plummet which I’m sure is the fear at the McFarlane boardroom because local and national icons like Sweetness are ALWAYS in demand.

Upper Deck wasting the number of products it can produce with throw away products like Fleer Ultra, Opening Day etc. Upper Deck has a very talented and creative brand management team. Let them create instead of copying the same old crap. There are reasons why Fleer went belly up and boring and redundant brands was one of them.

The MLB and MLBPA allowing only 2 retired player exclusive products per manufacturer - The overwhelming popularity of Fleer Greats and SP Legendary Cuts should be a clear message that certain segments of the collecting community only want to collect retired player products. With all the angst with regards to the statistics put up in the last ten years and the questions surrounding the use of performance enhancing drugs, let the card companies determine who their target markets are and not limit these type of products.

The New RC Logo - This was a barely decent idea in theory and even worse in execution as it will take several years for the self created confusion of putting RC logo’s on cards of players who have had previous cards released, i.e. Josh Hamilton to be sorted out, and have the effect originally intended. However, for the short-term, it is only serving to frustrate the very segment of the collecting base that this change was made for, new and returning collectors.

PSA and other autograph authenticators - Any person has a multitude of ways they sign their name. I feel sorry for people who have made the decision to sell an autographed piece of memorabilia that they have witnessed get signed by a particular athlete, in person -- only to have it rejected by the so called experts. While the service these companies provide is valuable for keeping counterfeits out of the market, something needs to be done to not leave 'in-person' autograph collectors out in the cold when it comes time to sell their cherished pieces.

UltraPro- Invariably there are products for archival, display and storage, I would use if I could find them. Not many card shops or online services sell all the niche display and storage pieces I sometimes require. At one point in time I could go to their website and purchase directly from them. This has now apparently changed and instead has been replaced by a dealer locator by state. Thanks for nothing.

Well, that’s enough for now, I’m sure I forgot a couple things or will think of new ones.


William Noetling said...

I like most of your items here, but I want to comment on a few.

Business first though - I added your blog to my roll at Can you add me to yours?

Cut Signatures Right on brother. There's absolutely no reason for cut sigs of living people. Dead people, sure, but not live ones.

Value: That doesn't affect me quite so much, as I simply refuse to spend more than $5.00 on any given single. Period. If I can't get it for five bucks or under, I don't need it.

WBC: I actually enjoy the tournament, and I'm looking forward to the next one. I don't mind the product that comes from it either, though I'm sure that the memorabilia hits from said product could use improvement.

Upper Deck: No ratios on pack pisses me off greatly. Now there's no ratios on sell-sheets either. I like knowing how hard it is to pull something, makes me feel like I beat the odds somehow. Not putting the pull ratio on there does in fact seem like they're trying to hide something.

Hockey: There was a time before when Hockey cards were limited to only a few companies and even those companies were limited to a few sets. When the NHL get's their collective heads out of the their asses and realizes what a blunder they've made with UD being the sole licensee, they'll open it up again. Just wait.

Most of the rest of the items I don't have any opinion on. I refuse to buy any product from Todd McFarlane because I do not want to give that man any of my money. I've met him, I've followed his career, and I'd rather give my cash to a beggar on the street than Todd McFarlane.

Post a Comment