Friday, June 26, 2009

A Result Of Collective Stupidity

One of the more awesome trends in the industry is that regular cards can have amazing patches. What this means is that you dont need to face astronomical retail type odds to get a team logo or something amazing in terms of a patch. This also means that products like Triple Threads, and other products that rely on contrived scarcity to bolster value, no longer can justify the fact that 1/1s are special in any way from the rest of the product. Right now, more than a giant handful of Topps 1/1 cards are either printing plates or paralleled cards that share nothing more than a different finish on the stock.

Of course, this has led to a major devaluing of the 1/1s, because they arent worth the chase anymore. I can get a Topps Sterling 1/1 and have it look WORSE than the card out of ten. Shouldn't we just let the cards showcase what makes them special instead of forcing me to stomach a whole product's worth of cards numbered to 3, even though its really something like 103?

A while ago I said that they should get rid of inserting the print plates into packs, as they are worthless, fugly pieces of scrap metal that are marketed as a chase for people who dont know any better. Im saying now that we should abolish the non-special 1/1s for all non-chrome products. If they want to put a logo on a card and number it 1/1, be my guest, but if they are just going to say the card is arbitrarily a 1/1 because of a different color on the card, a different die cut swatch, or even if there is NOTHING different, I wont support it.

Parallels are ridiculous in this hobby and I think that Topps high end and Donini mid and low end are the worst possible offenders. Donini parallels each SUBSET card at least fifteen times, you have the regular, numbered parallel, jersey parallel, second lower numbered parallel, auto parallel, etc, etc. That sucks, there is no reason to do this at all, other than accounting for laziness in filling the needs of a product.

Im now a supporter of letting the card's features speak for themselves. If you get a great looking card with a ridiculous patch, it should be worth more because of that, not because its numbered to 7 or whatever. If you get an auto'ed version of a card rather than a regular one, that should be the reason that its worth more, not because its red rather than green.

Its become apparent that this hobby has thrived on greed and ego for many, many years. Someone needs to feel good that they have the ONLY ONE of that one card, someone has to know EXACTLY how many of a said card there are, they need to be the biggest shit out there. No longer are we focused on buying the cards we like or the cards that make us happy, we have to have the most of the rare, the most of the special, and we need parallels to tell us that we do. That is crap.

This fact has allowed the manufacturers to exploit our need to feel special by numbering things lower and lower, yet in reality just letting design quality slip so that the number on the card is the only thing we care about. Look at Upper Deck SP Authentic Baseball, there is so much confusion over the numbering on the letters, that people have literally freaked out. Upper Deck makes it worse by numbering each letter rather than the total number of autos to make the cards seem rarer, and we eat it up. Is your signed G numbered to 5 different than my signed G numbered to 25? NO! Its the same fucking card with lower numbering.

Ill give you this, the collective stupidity of the normal people in this hobby will prevent any semblance of a different hobby from ever surfacing. Collectors are generally so fucking stupid, that companies are even forced use numbering as a way to deter fakes. How absurd is that? People cannot survive in this industry without it BLATANTLY spelled out for them, no one is capable of thinking for themselves. This is why jersey cards have become so overdone, and why parallels are everywhere, because the idiots shit themselves with anticipation over whatever is the latest marketing ploy. It would be one thing if they were clever, but really these ploys are always mind numbingly stale.

It may be a problem in every industry, mainly because Americans are intrinsically stupid, but I get the aura of simpletons more from sports cards than from any other consumer group I follow.


  1. Way to paint with a broad brush ;) I know what you mean thoough. I call them sheople

  2. Man, you know, something sets you off and you just write until you aint pissed no mo'.

  3. But again, we're talking about a hobby in which one of the ongoing debates is ebay value versus book value. I mean, if you pay book for anything in a store you are fleecing yourself and the merchant is really just enabling you.

    And I totally agree with the infinite parallels and 1/1s. It's artificial scarcity designed to get people to bust cases and cases of product. I mostly collect Carl Crawford but refuse to pay a premium for low-numbered cards if only because, like you said, there's usually NO DIFFERENCE between those and the regular card.

  4. While I don't hate on people for what they like, (or pretend to like just because it's new and has contrived scarcity) I agree with this, and finally someone gets to the root of the problem. I bag on the companies all the time, but it is a collector problem. They are giving us collectively what we want and expect. We complain about value, jerseys, fake patches, yet look at these box breaks, people just count the "hits"and love low numbered garbage. Design is secondary to collectors today.

  5. I have no problem with serial numbering cards. It helps me set my own price. For example, if I see a gold refractor that I want, I might be willing to pay 10 dollars for it. But, if I have no idea what the chances are of seeing that card for sale again, I have no idea how hard I should go after it. If I set a limit of 10 dollars, how likely is it that I will get another chance at it?