It’s no secret to our readers (and certainly not to my fellow blogmates) that I haven’t been blogging at all these days. The reasons for my absence are multiple. Some of them are personal, and I will keep those to myself, but many of them are not.
In the interest of not making this a long-winded rant of a negative post about how the hobby isn’t “doing it for me” these days, I’m going to try to focus on what I’m doing about it, instead of just bitching.
I’m sure I am not alone in thinking that Topps has damned near killed baseball cards over the past 2 years. Prices are sky-high, and the amount of quality releases hitting the market is ground-low. What you get for $100 sure as hell isn’t what it used to be. Jumbo boxes of Topps flagship going for over $115/box?!?! Seriously people? SERIOUSLY. Upon release, you couldn’t even sniff a hobby box of Bowman for less than a Benjamin FOR THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW! Even sadder is that this year’s Bowman was a bargain compared to last year’s insanity. Really, for me, price is just the tip of the iceberg. I could go on all night, but I’ll try not to.
I know someone is going to immediately leave a comment about busting wax is like gambling or buying a lottery ticket, and as an educated collector, I know what I am getting myself into before I decide to make a purchase. You are both correct, and incorrect. Yes, I know what I’m getting myself into, but this isn’t the lottery. It’s becoming more and more like the lottery every day, but opening packs of lottery cards is not like playing the lotto. Sorry. Not even close. In the 3 1/2 short years that I’ve been collecting cards (after a 13 year hiatus), I have watched the prices increase, and box content decrease.
Personally, I don’t like paying more than $80 for a hobby box of anything, and way back in 2007, there was product after product to choose from, each one promising “x” amount of autographs, relics, etc. Typically, I would look around online, find out which product had the best autograph checklist, or which ones had on-card autographs, and I would spend away. These days, if you’re looking for a hobby box that’ll cost you less than $80, you’d better be ready to bust flagship, and Chrome only, unless of course you are willing to voyage into the realm of the unlicensed.
I’m sure someone else will comment about how there are “x” amount of products available right now from “x” number of sellers that are less than $80. They’ll call me stupid, and they’ll be right. Or will they?
2011 Bowman is currently listed on Blowout for $73.90/box. You know there’s Bryce Harper autographs in there, right? That’s a steal for a shot at a Bryce Harper autograph! Obviously, the price for a hobby box of Bowman has dropped off significantly. Why is that you ask? There are approximately 4,326,861 Bryce Harper autographs on the market right now, that’s why! Topps has included his autograph in damned near every product that it possibly could this year, and the kid has still yet to play a single game in the bigs. We, as a collecting community take the bait every single time, and Topps sits back and counts the cash.
Don’t worry, it’s not like you’ll pull one. Your box of Bowman will contain 2 autographs of 47th round relief pitcher prospects, and if you’re lucky, maybe a Gerald Laird autograph or two as well.
Wow, remember when i said I was going to focus on what I’m doing about it, and not just bitch for 1500 words? Yeah. I lied.
Even my current (errrr… former) favorite set, Allen & Ginter has been altered to the point where I don’t even have an interest in collecting it anymore. I purchased 2 boxes of Allen & Ginter, and you’ve seen exactly ZERO of them. I’m not even going to post my Gintacuffs results. Yes, my hits were awful. No, that’s not why I am dissatisfied. You’ve seen this year’s design, right? You know there’s nothing authentic or Victorian about it, right? There were also 2 Orioles autographs listed on the pre-sell checklist that never made it onto the finalized one. Without a Markakis autograph to chase, there’s not much for me to get excited about.
Well… there’s this I guess…
Unless Topps is having Bela Lugosi exhumed and re-animated so he can sign these cards himself, there is no excuse for this bullshit. One of the reasons why the Topps Monopoly concept was so believable is because crap like this actually exists!
If that really is a Bela Lugosi autograph though, it would mean Topps wasn’t lying about this being the “autograph checklist Allen & Ginter collectors have been waiting for”. If you don’t realize that Lugosi has been dead for over 50 years, you probably didn’t pick up on my sarcasm.
Now, let’s get to what I am doing about my dissatisfaction with the current state of modern baseball cards.
- 1. No more hobby boxes. That’s right, I mean it this time. It’s already been almost 2 months, and I got past the shakes weeks ago. Still going to pick up a group break slot here and there, but the hobby box days are over. I said good day! Ok, well maybe the occasional retail pack or blaster, but that’s it. Seriously.
- 2. Not aggressively pursuing modern want lists. That’s right, I will no longer be trading for every Nick Markakis or Adam Jones auto/relic/refractor under the sun. I’m only looking for the really rare and/or cool stuff, and will have the funds to spend as well, since I won’t be wasting all my money on hobby boxes. Besides, stuff is really cheap on the secondary market anyway.
- 3. Actively trading away/selling the bulk of my collection. That’s right, even Orioles and Ravens cards are available. I am holding on to most of my on-card autos, and a few patches, but everything else is available. If there’s a card in my collection that you’ve been smitten with for a while, chances are I am now ready to part with it.
- 4. Ramping up my non-sports collections. That’s right, I am chasing after US President and Buffalo Bill Cody cards like mad right now, especially old ones. Victorian era cards of US Presidents are cool, and I want them all, even if our government can’t seem to do anything right these days.
That is my 4 part plan for re-igniting my interest in the hobby, and I sure hope it works. Writing this blog has been one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done (believe it or not), and I’d love for it to feel that way again. Obviously, if I’m not going to be busting any boxes, I won’t have as much to blog about, but that might not be such a bad thing. Mojo busts enough wax for all 3 of us here at the Mojobeard combined, so he’ll just have to step it up and start posting them all.
There’s no denying that Kevin, Mojo and I have a good thing going here, and when all 3 of us are writing, this blog seems to be en fuego. I’m going all in when it comes to making a return, and am going to try to mix it up a bit like I was doing over the winter by including more posts about the history of sports. I’m not just talking about the never-ending quest for Dutch Schneider or Ruth’s barnstorming exploits, although there’s plenty more of those stories to tell as well. I’m also thinking of maybe posting more custom cards, like one a week or something. By request. That could be fun. You tell me what you want (sports or non-sports), and I have a week to make it happen.
I’m back bitches!
If you honestly read this whole post, you deserve a gold star, and a beer. Go get one.