Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Quick Response To Beckett's Crap

I saw on Blowout that Beckett had opened some early boxes of Topps series two, and found that they were offering a program for people to create their own sketch cards. I think the program is cool, but I want to respond to the first part of their article, not the merits of the program. Their lead in touched on a few things that were obviously directed at the Card Blogger Network, and more specifically my April Fools Prank, I suspect. I think I need to say some stuff as a result.

They start:

Collectors often clamor for more interaction with trading card companies — feeling the need to tell them their demands while also telling them what they don’t like, telling them what they do like and more.

This is complete bullshit. Beckett is the only group of people I would expect this kind of arrogance from. Are they actually implying that we post "demands" on the companies themselves? I don’t think that could be any further from the truth. How about all those whining emails that were sent back when Mario got some exclusives for his site? Those don’t count? Cmon, don’t throw stones when you live in a glass house, boys.

The reason I say this is because for 99% of the blog posts out there, bloggers just post what they think and feel about different news items from the day. That's what blogging is. No one is demanding changes, we are just expressing that we feel there are changes that need to be made, IN OUR OPINIONS. I mean, I think this is a pretty necessary interaction, especially considering the fluff pieces that Beckett usually writes on products. If there isnt anyone to challenge the status quo reporting, how will any feedback ever be exchanged.

Although Beckett has started to change a few of their ways thanks to constant and never ending badgering from people on the net, they are still far from offering any real opinions or commentary on things that need to be spoken about. So to criticize card blogs for "clamoring" for more interaction is the equivalent of saying "stay off our territory." Well, fuck you. Fuck you, and the horse you rode in on. Card blogs are exploring all sorts of new territory, most of which Beckett wouldn’t touch out of fear of retribution. Beckett may be able to hold readership over the heads of their advertisers, but that doesn’t give them a pass for looking over the things that hurt the general hobby collector base.

Listen, my history with Beckett and their damage to the hobby has been well documented. They have even taken it upon themselves to come on this site and make aloof comments in response to my criticism. I have laid off lately, mainy because I have been bored with their path. Its basically SSDD with them all the time, and I don’t have the energy any more to respond like I once wanted to. There are more important things now, and yet, Beckett still shows how they loathe the existence of people who do what they do, and do it better. Not only do they do it better, but they do it without looking to pad their bottom line or please their advertisers. All opinion, all the time, no reason to pull any punches. Panini may use my posts as toilet paper, but that isnt going to force me to try to bring them on as an advertiser.

I do understand that most bloggers crave more interaction, but that interaction expands way beyond just the card companies. Its why there are trades, awards, and collector blog bat arounds, not just emails to Clay Luraschi, Scott Prusha, and Chris Carlin crying about lack of exclusive content for the site. We crave community, and if the card manufacturers want to be a part of it, any of us will welcome them with open arms.

I mean, did Beckett even care to think that maybe the companies crave more interaction with us? Why the fuck would they get on Twitter and Facebook the way they did if we hadnt pioneered it first? Think about it. It’s the same reason why collectors are starting to email us rather than looking at a Beckett, because they know we are going to give them a straight answer, no BS.

Beckett's statements go on:

Sometimes, for varying ego-related reasons, individuals insist they should appear on a card inside a Topps wrapper, too.

Obviously Beckett didn’t get the memo on April 1st. Typical. I seriously want to know who is insisting that they should appear on a card. I don’t think anyone has even "demanded" that type of "interaction" even once. We would all love the honor of being on our very own Allen and Ginter card, but we arent offended by it not happening. We don’t think it’s a good idea to force collectors of those products into collecting cards of people that barely matter in the grand scheme of things. Yet, we are a fun bunch, and its easy to see why a prank like what we pulled resonated with so many people (both positively and negatively). The bottom line is that bloggers are gaining notoriety among collectors, which is further evidence of why the companies probably crave our attention as well as us theirs.

Also, I don’t really get these "ego-related reasons," as I don’t think any blogger over estimates their worth to the hobby. I reach 1200 people a day TOPS, how is that even gum on the sidewalk to the overall number of people that collect? I was actually surprised how far my posts could reach back when I announced the rumors that Upper Deck had lost their NFL license. I think just about everyone else felt the same way, including Upper Deck. Does that mean I don’t matter? No, but it does mean that I (and we) have a long way to go before we actually have the power to make a huge difference.

That is where Beckett is correct, they have the interaction, they have the ability to "demand" and "insist." However, the way they use it for the greater good is like Aquaman's contributions to the Justice League. Instead of being the Hobby Superman, they instead act like Alfred, just tidying up after everyone, making sure Wayne Manor looks good for when Batman gets back.

Well, blogs may be the equivalent of Kick-Ass right now, but like his rise to fame, ours is coming via other channels. We may not have the super powers or the history that Beckett does, but we have a lot of unconventional ways to make ourselves known. Beckett can rest on their laurels from the pre-internet days of collecting, but their days are numbered due to the trends of the world. You know what I lose if I shut down this blog today? Nothing. I don’t lose a single thing. Beckett loses everything. Maybe they should keep that in mind before launching molotov cocktails from their crumbling pedestal.


  1. Maybe we should "demand" for there to be an article in Beckett about how greatly values differ between ebay and Beckett. Maybe even "demand" an article on blogs and their wide variety. Lastly we should "demand" that we all get put on the cover of Beckett. Their arrogance has gotten out of hand.

  2. I think you and I read that first paragraph differently. I didn't get anything worth venting about out of it! Replace "demands" with "requests" and the paragraph basically reads the same.

    Also, I've long thought that bloggers overestimate their worth to the hobby. Nobody specifically, just in general. Aren't a lot of people just bitter that the Beckett writers do what we do, except get paid for it?

  3. There is no way that I think anyone is bitter over the way Beckett employees get paid, unless they dont have a job they like. I would never do what they do for a living, I think it would take all the fun out of it. This blog has always been an extension of my of my need to write, rather than a display of dedication to the hobby.

    As for the wording, thats what I took such offense to. There was a deliberate use of strongly worded phrases meant to make a point, and I disagree with it completely. It has a very arrogant and snarky tone to it, and based on past interactions I have had regarding Beckett, its par for the course. They loathe the existence of many of our sites, and its because we do what they cannot - do this for fun.

  4. There is certainly something to be said about the boys at Beckett not being able to do this for fun - I completely agree. I used to work in minor league baseball, and it ruined the sport for me (while I worked in it). The last thing I wanted to do at the end of the day was watch MORE baseball! Same probably holds true for them - the last thing they want to do for fun is drop $20 at the card shop on wax.

    So while I DO see YOUR reasons for not wanting to work there - and I like what I do better than what they do, too - I DO think there are loads of people out there who bash because they're jealous... it's what people have done for decades about a lot of things, not just baseball cards and Beckett. I don't know if there's anything to your comment about "the way they get paid", I just meant "that they get paid" to write about sports cards and set the market value for them.

    Kidding on the last part of the last sentence :) I enjoy playing devil's advocate with you, and I'm generally unfamiliar with your history with Beckett other than knowing that you, uhhh.... don't really like them.

  5. I'm not sure what the point of the first paragraph was either. A shot at bloggers or twitter users complaining? I don't know. I don't think web 2.0 breeds negativity, I think it exposes it.

  6. C'mon, you use "strong language" all the time to have a go at people or things you don't like. This includes people who like products like Triple Threads, and organisations like Beckett. Why are you allowed to have a go at them, but they are seemingly not allowed to have a go at you?

    Beckett gives their subjective opinion on card matters (and anyone who thinks they can or could do otherwise is completely ignorant of how humans work - any opinion involving humans will ALWAYS be subjective, based on who is giving the opinion) just like you and other bloggers. Often they are full of crap, from my opinion, but you are just as often full of crap, from my opinion.

    From where I sit you and Chris Olds seem so much alike - and I'm not just talking about the way you look.

  7. You clicking on your own link 2000 times a day does not count as "readership".

  8. Oh, and um... pot... kettle... black.

  9. What the fuck is that supposed to mean?

  10. We get it, you hate Beckett.

  11. It means that you post and write about the same shit, and massacre Beckett for doing it too. Your ego is just as big as theirs is. Writing about how many hits you get a day makes you look like the egotistical ass, especially when most of your readership are fellow bloggers. I thing YOU overestimate YOUR importance to the hobby. I don't care that you hate Triple Threads, or Beckett. As a matter of fact, I'll bet most people don't. What don't you hate? I'd love to see you write nothing post positive posts for a solid week.

    Think you've got it in you?

    That being said, Beckett still sucks, but 2 assholes don't make a right, they just produce an even fouler stench.

  12. It means that you post and write about the same shit, and massacre Beckett for doing it too.

    I agree that we cover a similar topic but approach it very differently. Therefore the content on this site is geared to a different crowd.

    Your ego is just as big as theirs is. Writing about how many hits you get a day makes you look like the egotistical ass, especially when most of your readership are fellow bloggers.

    Individually, I dont think I am important at all, and have said so with just about every chance I get. As a group (bloggers) are becoming very much a force of the hobby, even more so when you factor in messageboard posters. If I came on and said that SCU is the voice of the hobby and collectors and other bloggers should bow down, I would understand you thinking that I was self absorbed. In reality, this has always been a means to a fun end of writing, nothing more.

    As for writing about the hits I get, I was doing so to show how little of a footprint I have in the grand scheme of things. However, I will tell you that although bloggers do frequent this site quite often, the referral page on my sitemeter proves that my traffic comes from every corner of the net. Does that mean anything when all is said and done? Hell no, but to chastise me for using myself as an example of unimportance argues against your point.

    I thing YOU overestimate YOUR importance to the hobby. I don't care that you hate Triple Threads, or Beckett. As a matter of fact, I'll bet most people don't. What don't you hate? I'd love to see you write nothing post positive posts for a solid week.

    My importance is slim to none. I have never overestimated that. However, in terms of positivity, thats not really what this site is about. This site is about my opinions, and my opinions are generally negative about things with few exceptions due to a lot of different factors. If the actions of certain people in the hobby changed, so would my opinions. However, if you really dont like the negativity, there are hundreds of sites that build on subjective positivity.

  13. It's the second or this month you've mentioned something about how high (or "low") your traffic is. I actually read this crap, so I should know.

    Did you really just ask me to stop reading your site?

  14. Dude, the traffic numbers are relevant in some discussions, so they will come up. Call it whatever you want, but most of the time its just in reference to an example of futility.

    As for the second thing, Im not telling you to stop reading, but the negativity is an understood byproduct of my opinions on this site. Thats not going to change unless the card industry does a complete 180 any time soon. I was speaking to that notion.

  15. It's amazing that you can intelligently argue your side of this without using profanity, but are unable to do the same thing when talking about a product you don't like.

    Guess you've got to make the most of that "uncensored" moniker.

  16. I'll add my two cents as well:

    I'm a fellow card collecting blogger, although my blog (Card Cache) is on something of a hiatus while I concentrate on my other interests. When I first got back in to collecting over a year ago, I decided to check out what bloggers thought and recommended about manufacturers, products and the hobby in general.

    Needless to say, one of the blogs I came across in the beginning was SCU. To be honest, I was a bit overwhelmed by the negativity I read. I was in search of ideas and recommendations, but instead I just got "nearly every product fucking sucks, the hobby sucks, beckett sucks, the designs suck, stickers sucks, etc." I was new to the hobby again, so I didn't worry about it much and moved on, started my blog and forgot about.

    I forget what the catalyst was, but at some point during my blog writing days, I noticed every time one of your posts popped up, it was negative. I decided to make a post on my blog about your negativity. I started at the beginning of your blog and read each post, determining if it was generally negative in nature or positive. About half way through the numbers were something like 85% negative posts, 15% positive. I stopped the project, mostly because I simply could not take the negativity any longer. You can only read so much about how much a person dislikes their hobby before contemplating why they are even a part of it.

    While reading those posts, several questions came to mind. I suppose this is as good a place to ask them as any:

    1) Where does this negativity, hostility and distain towards a hobby you claim to love come from? It just does not seem natural that the design of a card or use of a sticker for an auto can bring out such venom from someone.

    2) What gives you the right to call others stupid, ignorant or worse, simply because they like TTT, use Beckett or don't mind sticker autos? You're fighting tooth and nail to proclaim the right to your opinion of card companies and designs, yet ridicule those who disagree.

    3) According to you, nearly every product/design sucks, with a very few exceptions. So my question is, what are you doing about it? Why not design/make your own cards? How about adding suggestions instead of slamming every design as shit. At the end of the day, no matter how 'valuable', every card is just a picture on cardboard. If you want it to look a certain way, make it.

    4) Why do you continually rip on your fellow bloggers in comments on their sites and in forums? Please explain to me how that helps the hobby in any way.

    5) You say the card industry needs to do a complete 180. What does that mean? Where would you like to see the industry? What in your mind would be the perfect scenario? Again, all I read is what doesn't work. How about some ideas as to how it should be, and then do something about it instead of sitting there cursing about how much everything sucks.

    I do hope you choose to address some of these questions, they have been on my mind for a while. :)

  17. Guess that's a 'no' on addressing any questions posed in my previous comment.