Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Getting Aboard The Strasburg Hype Train Will Needlessly Drain Your Bank Account

If you missed Stephen Strasburg's debut, you may have been one of the only people in the sports world to do so. The hype behind yesterday's game was so ridiculous that it spilled over into almost every aspect of sports coverage. Not only was MLB network broadcasting the game, but ESPN was giving live updates, and websites were doing trackers. In the hobby, it was similar, as Topps declared it Stephen Strasburg day, offering contests and giveaways related to his debut.

Aside from the massive amounts of coverage, many collectors were waiting on pins and needles to see if their investments were going to pay off, at least temporarily. Even though Strasburg was pitching against the worst team in baseball, he did have a pretty amazing performance with 14 Ks. Pittsburgh has won at least a few games, and the Nationals are almost as terrible. There was actually a good chance that he could pitch one run baseball and end up with the loss (not that record should have anything to do with it). I think people were just hoping that he wouldn’t screw the pooch too badly and get roughed up. I don’t believe anyone was expecting what actually happened though.

Over the last week, his values have gone from ridiculous to insane. I mean, for pitching in a collecting black hole, his cards were already AS expensive as Lincecum, a pitcher who has already done it all for a better team. Then, post-call up, his values went so high that I am continually surprised how much people are willing to pay for cards that have already hit their ceiling. Then when you consider that Strasburg will have his first Chrome auto coming later this year, and people are still paying what they are for the base bowman cards, I start to question the general intelligence of the hobby more so than I already do.

Check out some of these recent sales, and then tell me that the people who are buying these cards are looking at this the right way.

Base Bowman Chrome (NO AUTO) - This is a BASE card. A. BASE. CARD. I cant even explain this. I got mine for 17 dollars only because I had 13 ebay bucks. Now I may have to sell.

Bowman Orange Auto /25 - Cmon. Really? Wow. This is a nice card, sure, but for THAT much? Good lord.

Bowman Orange Auto /25 See previous explanation, then add some shock.

Bowman Base Auto - When was the last time you saw a prospect auto go for this much - even some of the higher number parallels? There cant be THAT many Nationals fans out there that would pay that much for a card with no upside.

Bowman Blue Auto /250 - Paying this much money for a card numbered THAT high is terrible. I really don’t get it, even more so when you see that he will be in EVERY product this year.

Bowman Base Auto BGS 9.5 - Double the price for a 9.5? Since when? It would be one thing if these cards were like the Chrome versions that had a lot of condition problems, I don’t think these had that kind of issue. Seriously though, there is never a reason to pay a 100% premium on a graded card, let alone one that is only a 9.5 and not a 10. What a scam.

Bowman Base Auto - This one broke five hundred? Im going to laugh at this one in a year or two I believe. Some Pujols first year autos don’t go for this much. PUJOLS. ALBERT EFFING PUJOLS.

Again, prospecting is prospecting, but buying at the extreme peak of a players values isnt even worth it for his biggest fans. Washington is a terrible team in a terrible sports city, and people are acting like he is a New York Yankee. His values CANNOT hold, so why waste your money and pay 40% more than you should. Its ridiculousness at its finest.

EDIT: The first Strasburg MCG giveaway card has 55 bids on it. I will laugh if the card from Topps U&H has no differences and is completely indistinguishable. (Thanks to dayf for letting me know that U&H is numbered differently. Everyone will need to spend a ton now to truly complete the base set. Nice job there.)


  1. all schizophrenic spending aside, the feel here in VA and DC is getting genuinely exciting with "Starsburg" and (hopefully) Harper coming to add to an increasingly watchable future team.
    I find myself actually watching Nats games this year...but I will not be buying one single strasburg for some time now.

  2. Updates & Highlights are numbered differently. Strasburg will likely be #UH1. So if you want to complete your Topps base set now you'll have to shell out the big bucks. For a Topps. Base. Set. Thanks Topps.

  3. U&H may be numbered differently but they will insert #661 in those packs to make the frauen happy.

  4. I'm going to enjoy the excitement around Strasburg for as long as it lasts. But I don't think I'll be getting any of his cards anytime soon.

  5. What the hell man..."Washington is a terrible team in a terrible sports city" First off, the nats are light years beyond where they were in years past...since when is floating around .500 terrible..? This year: Baltimore, Houston...they are terrible (16-41 for Baltimore) The nats are far from terrible this year...Dont just go around slingin s*** if your not well informed...the nats made lots of defensive and pitching additions to better themselves this season...So dont be jealous of our draft picks...And when was the last time MN teams (i know u moved) won anything?...the last time the redskins did!!! (91-92ish)...I like your blog but that pissed me off...Wash is a good sports town with bad teams (except caps) for a long time...we deserve some good fortunes...let me ride the Strasburg tailcoat as long as i can...

  6. momcd87, from Gellman's post, he's talking about the Strasburg card itself, not Strasburg the player and the current state of the Nationals! Calm down!

    If I had a Strasburg, sure, I'd sell that thing too! I just don't see anyway the card can hold it's value over time and someone wanting to pay outrageus amounts of money for it! Down the road it will come down to what the seller what's to sell it for and what the buyer is willing to pay for it! If there is not buyer willing to pay that kind of money, then there is no market for him at that cost!

  7. Djarum:
    "U&H may be numbered differently but they will insert #661 in those packs to make the frauen happy."

    You poor, poor naive fool... Maybe as a 'Card Your Momma Threw Out' insert just to rub it in our faces, but there is no way they will make this card available to the average collector. They've made their bed by exclusively pandering to the high roller gambling crown and now they're going to have to sleep in it.

    I do somewhat agree with momcd87, The Nats have been terrible, but they are somewhat competent this year and are going to eventually be scary in the NL East. They turned it around when Stan Kasten took over and they got actual baseball people running the show. They probably won't contend this year, but in 2012 they could be a real pain in the ass for my Bravos.

  8. Just sold a base chrome for $72...ridiculous