Wednesday, January 25, 2012 me to understand

Alright, I got three trade packages in the mail today but they're going to have to wait until tomorrow.

Everywhere I look there is a ton of hate for 2012 Topps Series 1. Blogs, forums, comments on, whatever be the medium, it seems that everyone is hating on it. I can't see why. So Topps didn't deliver on what we presumed a 'game changer' would be. So they've resorted to using the same formula they have since 2006. So they have more short prints and gimmicks. Let's see if I can get to the bottom of this.

See, this is what people tend to forget. Baseball cards are the gimmick!

Ever since the dawn of baseball cards in the late 1800's, they've been a vehicle to sell things. Cigarettes, candy, caramel, gum, pizza, ice cream, dog food, etc. They were inserted one per pack of cigarettes until around World War I. Various candies until around the Korean War. Then Topps comes around in the fifties and oh look, they want to sell gum so they package them up with baseball cards. The gimmick to sell the gum was the cards. It wasn't until the 70's that people really started to collect and save them. Baseball cards are the gimmick.

What about 1992, when Topps added in the Topps Gold? Wasn't that a gimmick in itself, getting people to buy more packs to get the gold cards of their favorite players and teams? Aren't insert cards themselves gimmicks? A card that is rarer than a base card, thereby getting people to buy more packs in order to get them? Didn't Fleer have insert cards in the 80's? In 2001 Topps introduces the Heritage line and load the back end of the set with short prints, a tradition that continues to this day. No one complains, they still collect the set. Same thing with Allen & Ginter, another set that is widely loved and collected. 2007 saw the first short print in the flagship set, the Derek Jeter with Mantle and Bush photoshopped in. 2008 saw the Rudy Giuliani card with him celebrating with the Red Sox. 2009 saw the Obama card and CC Sabathia in a Yankees uniform. Plus the Legends short prints. 2010 followed with Granderson in a Yankee uniform plus more legends. 2011 followed suit with Crawford and Gonzalez in Sox unis. Short prints have been de facto in the base set since 2007 (2006's Alex Gordon was not a short print, his card was pulled due to him not being able to be on the card before his MLB debut, as per then new MLB rules for cards).

Another thing people forget is that Topps is a company, in their business to make money. That's why businesses exist, to produce a product or service and make money from it. They don't cater to collectors. Never have and never will. Being a company they are only in it for the money, why would they start listening to collectors when people still gobble up all their stuff? They loaded 2010 with Strasburg stuff, people scooped it up, no one complains. They load 2011 with future scrub Bryce Harper and people scoop it up, no one complains (I call them Harpersuckers).

So the 2012 base set has more short prints. So what. Let the Harpersuckers have them. If you don't like them, don't collect them. See, the great thing about this hobby is that we have the ability to collect how ever much or little we want. Want to just collect your favorite team? Do it. Want to get the 330 card set? Do it. Those two short prints don't count towards the set.

I'll be busting my two jumbo boxes come the first. I can't wait. What I plan on doing is selling off the Golden Giveaway codes plus the wrappers. Let them deal with them, plus it'll go towards my cost of the boxes. I'll ahve my two sets and that's all I'll need. See, collecting what I want out of it.

I get that Topps should have changed their game plan, even just a little. They didn't, oh well. Why though, would this year be the year that everyone hates on Topps flagship, when gimmickry has been around in the hobby since the beginning?

Again, please help me to understand!


  1. Well said,i do collect what i want from these sets,companies,etc.
    Dont always like it,but it is what it is....a hobby.

  2. As soon as I saw your headline, the first thing I thought of was one that you touched on, just collect what you want ! I don't build sets anyway, so maybe I look at it differently.I would like to have all the Tribe cards, but with so many parallels, I know I probably never will. I just enjoy buying a few packs here and there and trading to get as many as I can. Everybody,take a deep breath and chill out !! Let's just have FUN.

  3. My problem with 2012 Topps base is that I think its ugly, I just don't like the design, I will be saving my cash for Gypsy Queen this year.

  4. Ted, I could write a whole post on those who are haters, and who they think they really are when it comes to the hobby...but I will not.

    Baseball Dad's comments are right on the money for me, well said!!

  5. Breeze- Exactly, a hobby. You won't like everything, so just go with what you do.

    Dad- I go for Jays parallels but don't seek them out. If they fall into my packs or hands via a trade, I'm grateful. I try to have fun with the hobby because that's what it's all about.

    Rosenort- Not liking a design is another topic entirely. If you don't like the look of a set then it makes sense not to collect it.

  6. For me, it's simple: baseball cards are a hobby, but a hobby that partially costs me money. If I spend my money on it, I want to feel like I'm generally getting my money's worth one way or another. MLB gave Topps an exclusive license and Topps has rested on those laurels, rapidly declining in quality and customer service. So as a consumer of the hobby, I expect better out of Topps than their increasingly crappy products and ridiculously out-of-touch marketing people. Of course, the solution for me is easy: just don't buy them. No problem. But blogs and message boards exist, and that leads to discussing new products like 2012 Topps, and naturally some people will feel disappointed by it like I am, so they'll express their displeasure. That's what the internet is for...besides porn.

  7. Good points. I'm more excited to bust new packs for a new year. Yeah, I wish the product was perhaps a little better, but I won't be boycotting.

    I'm not sure how many packs I'll be busting this year (not mad at Topps, just figuring out my budget). After you bust your two boxes, can you kindly set aside the Yankee base card dupes for our next trade?

  8. I think people who complain about Topps 2012 not being the "game-changer" Topps said it would be are people who either bust a ton of wax -- who I can't relate to -- or collectors who are simply bored with the hobby. I think if you're bored, just go collect cards from your childhood or get out of the hobby. You're obviously not having fun anymore.

    The people who bust a ton of boxes -- they probably have a point. Again, I don't look at the hobby from that point of view. I don't get on forums, I'm just a "few packs a week" collector.

    Like Rosenort, I'm no fan of the design, but like you say, that's another issue.

  9. Some good points here for sure. I should have thought to state this, but I'm coming from the perspective of a collector who buys one hobby box from each series intending to pursue the set, and maybe have a few things handy for trade since it's unlikely I'll get anything for my PC. From the POV of a casual, occasional pack-buster, Topps is fine, at least until you start pulling hits from your retail packs and they keep coming out damaged. Other than that, you could do worse. Topps just needs to stop using stupid phrases like "game-changer" when they clearly don't understand that they barely change anything year-to-year.

  10. Robert- I'm sure books can be written about the haters at this point!

    Dennis- Sure Topps is resting on their laurels and why not? They have no competition and they are there to make money. Makes sense to me. Of course people will be unhappy with products, I just don't see why they've chosen this year to do the complaining, when Topps hasn't changed in years. Non-damaged hits and better QC would be nice though.

    Lost Collector- I'll be doing the budget thing this year too, hence the two boxes. It should take care of my Series 1 needs so I won't have to buy a metric ton of it like I always do. I'll set aside extra Yankees for you too.

    Owl- Great points. I mean 1991 Topps didn't have any gimmicks and there's plenty of that people can go buy.

  11. Great points by everyone here.

    I agree with what a few before me said. There's a difference between not liking the hobby and not liking the design of a set. As Night Owl said, if anyone becomes bored with the hobby (it happens), it's probably time to get out of the hobby.

    I personally like the looks of the Topps base set this year, and have for the last few years. It's just the ten million insert sets they have that puzzle and anger me a bit. With all my player collections, I need a lot of those inserts anyways and it takes a while to make a dent in them with all the inserts.

    Luckily, my birthday nicely coincides with the first Topps releases of each year so all I ever ask for is a box of the set. Gets me a lot of the base/inserts I need and a lot of extra base/inserts to trade.

    No different this year, as I'm asking for a box of 2012 Topps hehe.

  12. I have to agree with the sentiments here. I'm not in love with the design, but there have been much worse flagship designs. I also probably won't be buying as much this year as last, but not because this year is any more or less gimmicky, and I am still very excited about some new cards.

  13. Agreed! I love opening packs. Its "your" money so people can bitch, find something they like, buy singles, or do whatever. I'd prefer they find something they enjoy and write about that though and not spend so much time complaining about topps. I can't wait until the 1st.

  14. Well put. I for one am looking forward to the release. I keep what I want. Put together the main set, then either trade or sell the rest away. Nothing new here.

  15. I think part of this problem, is that there is no other brand to collect. In the past if you didn't like that year's Topps, you could buy Fleer or Donruss or UD. We don't have that choice anymore. I know I am frustrated with the lack of choice. Yes, there are other sets coming out from Topps, but several of them (Heritage, GQ) also have sp's. That's why I've never purchased any of those issues.
    I'm also frustrated with the sp's. I'm a set collector, I like to have "all" the cards in the base set. If Topps really thinks collectors are out there buying more packs to find the sp's, they are nuts. The only ones who make out on sp's are the mega-case breakers, who re-sell them.

  16. Beauty of this hobby is that there are hundreds of ways to collect... allowing each of us to incorporate our own style and interests.

    As for me... I love oddballs, gimmicks, and even short prints. However... I'm also the guy who usually buys complete sets, rather than builds them (lol... I'm sure a lot of collectors are shaking their heads at this... but that's the way I collect).

    So... when it comes to 2012 Topps Series 1... I won't be busting any of this stuff. But not because I don't like the gimmicks... I just don't bust wax very often... and when I do, it's not this kind of product (I prefer the retro stuff like Heritage).

    Anyways... it's sort of human nature for people to complain... I've done my share on the blog... but in the end, as long as we're happy (& we're not hurting anyone), that's all that matters.

  17. Yea, I know I wrote a bit of a downer post on my blog yesterday. I really was just posting that as an expression of my own feelings about this year's product. I agree with what's been said, collect what you want to collect and if people want to go crazy on this set, then by all means do what you love doing: bust some wax. I'm just a bit "eh" about this year's flagship set and had a realization about the whole "set building" mentality over the weekend and it stuck in my gut a bit. Anyways, very good read, great perspective and I really do hope you find some great cards in the packs you bust!

  18. I guess I am more of a minority as I'm excited about new cards of my team/players I collect. I'm not big on design, or how it really looks. There are some designs that stick out to me that I really like, but none that I terribly dislike.

    I will buy a few packs of most of the products just because I love to open packs. Takes me back to opening packs as a kid. But I don't expect to get anything I need. It's just for fun. If I could afford it, I would probably buy lots of packs/blasters/boxes but I can't so I stick to enough to feed the need of opening them and save the money for the cards I want.

  19. I won't collect 2012 Topps simply because I don't like the design. Unsymmetrical designs make me twitch.