Backlash for 2012 Topps is not warranted

There is something I simply do not understand about the current state of the hobby.  The notion that things some how were better before than they are now.

It’s simply not true.

I’ve heard people bash 2012 Topps for the last week or so, citing the recently released Skip Shumaker/Rally Squirrel short print as the latest example of “what has ruined the hobby.”

Seriously?  A card of a squirrel that actually captivated the country during the 2011 World Series is the reason this hobby has fallen into shambles?  The reason you are so upset about your hobby that you’re willing to spend time bitching about it in public forums?  The reason that at least one collector has decided to boycott 2012 Topps?

The Rally Squirrel is a short printed card.  It did not replace anything in the set.  It did not keep you from completing your set.  It’s not like Topps took the card #93 slot, removed Skip Shumaker all together and left us only with a card that would render most sets an incomplete project.

It’s a bonus.  If you pull the card and don’t want it, you sell it on eBay and take the profit to … buy more cards.  What is so hard to understand about that?

But what about the bigger picture?

Again, people cite the Squirrel’s release as an example of Topps, the only licensed manufacturer of Major League Baseball cards, not giving collector’s what they really want.

Well, what DO collector’s really want?

The basic Topps brand has been the same for years — a set released in three series and composed of more than 700 cards when completed.  It documents the happenings of the previous season in Series One, some of the current season in Series Two, and then even more current season events (trades, all star game, rookie call ups, etc.) in the Update Series.  I think collector’s want that.

They also want autos, relics and rookies.  Topps has all three of those, too.

And believe it or not, collector’s also want the “Golden Ticket.”  Like in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Whether it be in the form of the Rally Squirrel, a Pie in the Face, a Gatorade Bath or literally gold, collector’s want something to chase.  Something that when they pull it, they know they’ve hit the  jackpot.

What most collector’s DO NOT want is a release void of all frills.  They do NOT want to go back to the “junk wax” era and feel like they are buying 1988 Donruss, 1989 Score, 1990 Topps or 1991 Fleer.

The time for that stuff has come and gone.  Can collecting those sets be fun?  Absolutely.  But in moderation.

This hobby has moved so far forward that you’re only going to drive yourself nuts if you keep harping on the “good ol’ days.”

The hobby’s evolution has not ruined card collecting per se.  What’s harmed this hobby is the collector himself. The one’s whose greed and lust for the glory cards has ruined his or her personal experience, causing them to piss and moan about how bad things have gotten.

If you buy what you like and do it in moderation, and ENJOY what you possess, then you can’t lose in this hobby.  The minute you stop enjoying it, you need to take a break or change your focus.

6 Responses to “Backlash for 2012 Topps is not warranted”

  1. Well said Ben.

  2. John Bateman Says:

    I agree with your remarks about the use greed of the hobby over taking some collectors. However, I still feel that we are in the junk wax era. When some collectors pay close to $100 for a jumbo box and probably only get $30 dollars of value in cards. I think it is worse than the Junk Wax era.

  3. I agree that there is a lot of Topps bashing going on lately and it seems to be a bit unwarranted. I’ve said the insert offerings for flagship this year are pretty weak but I like the base design – clean and minimal. I haven’t had a card in hand yet but as you say there’s something for everybody. I won’t be buying many packs (maybe just a sample pack or two) but I will get the factory set later this year.

    However, I have to agree with the previous comment that box costs are too high compared to any return on value. I blame it on the greed of the MLBPA MLB and Topps. And the player licenses. It costs too much to make a set these days and I’m sure Topps doesn’t make much of a profit on its releases.

    • I don’t like the base design and the inserts are pretty poor (but I tried to point that out in a fun-loving manner). But I really do not understand boycotting a set because it doesn’t match what you collected in 1992. Hell, if I stomped and threw a fit until there was a 660-card set with no inserts and 23 players for each team — because that’s what was around when I was a kid — I would’ve dug a hole about 70 miles deep by now. And that’s no fun.

  4. “What’s harmed this hobby is the collector himself. The one’s whose greed and lust for the glory cards has ruined his or her personal experience, causing them to piss and moan about how bad things have gotten.”

    Nailed it! I like the hunt for special cards. Sucks when I don’t get the short prints, but the chase is 90% of the fun.

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