Friday, August 21, 2009

I am late to the game

It looks like I am the last person to weigh in on Topps' exclusive license. Do I think it is good or bad? Well, it depends.

Not a strong stand is it. Let me explain. We don't know what Topps has in store for collectors next year, and with them being the only game in town most collectors feel that quality will go down. Next year should be ok as most of the product calender has probably been set for the year, designs approved, and plans finalized. I would expect 2010 to be more of the same as this year, maybe without the gimmicks (don't hold your breath). What will happen in 2011? don't know, but I hope that Topps listens to what collectors are saying when they open their products.

Do I think there are to many sets out there now? Yes, but I also thought that back in the late 80s. If you take the time and look at the number of sets available in 1989 you would be probably be amazed. Let's see: Base sets for Donruss, Fleer, Score, Topps, Upper Deck, and the ressurection of Bowman (6 sets). Add Topps Tiffany, Fleer Glossy (I don't know if Score did one) for 2 more. Donruss issued an All Star set (available in packs) and a "Baseball's Best" set available as a factory set for 2 more. Score put out Scoremasters later that year, bringing our total to 11 off of the top of my head. Now add in the stuff like Toys R Us, Kay Bee, Woolworths, etc. and you get a bunch more "smaller" sets. I did not add Scores 100 hottest stars/rising stars sets as I don't remember if they were issued in 89. Oh, I aslo jsut remembered box bottom cards, rack pack inserts, wax inserts (Donruss All Stars/Grand Slammers Fleer's All Stars) and the number of sets is increasing. Try and collect all of those back from that time period and you are looking at a lot of time and effort. Some of these you would just stumble on to at card shops and card shows. You might also throw in Starting Lineup, if you consider that a set.

See, the problem with the nubmer of sets is not new. People complained back then that you could not collect everything. So what can we do about it? Not much, other than hope that the companies read our blogs and value the customer's opinion.

I also understand why there are so many sets. It is because there are different types of collectors. We collect what we like. Some only collect the base sets, or retro sets, or high end sets. Nothing wrong with that. Your collection should be a reflection of what you like and of you. I am what they call a set collector, but I only like the base cards. I don't like getting inserts/SPs in my packs (unless it is something cool, then I will keep it for my personal collection).

What would I do if I ran Topps? I would only tweek things up a little. I would advertise up front that the base set would consist of 3 series, realesed in Feb, May and Sep. Why do this? So we know what to expect. We would expect the first series to cotain a few stars and rookies that were called up late in the prior year, the second series to contain rookies who made the team out of spring training along with players that changed teams during the winter (that means if the palyer was a free agent who had not signed by the press run deadline they should not be in the first series). Don't give me 2 Sheffields! The third series will round out the set, and you could get the early season call ups. As far as inserts go, make the team checklists insert cards, along with separate All Rookie and All Star player cards. Try and make this at an entry level price point.

Next you would still produce the retro sets (Heritage and A & G) and release them as normal. Put SPs and relic/autograph cards in these sets. This will allow for a more challenging set build.

Also have a couple of "high end" products for those collectors who like those types of products. The market is there, and it is probably signifiacant enough to warrant the issuing of these sets.

I don't want to address the Bowman line as I have not followed that set since 91.

What should Upper Deck do? Maybe enter into an agreement with soem food products and put cards packaged with food (thing Tombstone Pizza or Kraft Cheese). Yes, cards inserted in those products might help increase sales. When I was a kid I would beg mom to buy stuff at the grocery store if they had cards in them. I at a bunch of Ho Ho's, Twinkies, Frosted Flakes, Chewey Granola bars, Nestle Candy bars, etc. back in the day. Wish I still had my Hostess cards. I think they got thrown away when I was a teenager. Would kids want Cheerios if they had cards in them? I don't know, but I would.

That ends today's portion of random thoughts. I am going out to the local Red/White scrimmage soon.

Today is contest day

Card Cache is also sponsoring a huge A & G contest where one of the prizes is a complete 2009 base set. For free. Wow.

New Contest

The collective Troll is holding a contest for a bunch of stuff here. All you have to do is be a follower of his blog and post a comment. Oh, and also vote for the Hall of Fame (I know of one player I am voting for).

Go ahead, visit and vote.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Welcome Aubrey Huff


Today the Tigers got Aubrey Huff from the Orioles for a low level pitching prospect. This move was probably necessary for a multiple of reasons, most of which they have a need for a backup third baseman that will allow Inge to rest. Huff is also a decent hitter, who seems to pick it up in the second half. I hope this move works out well for the Tigers. Heck, I just hope it works out better than another former Oriole who the Tigers got in August back 21 years ago by the name of Fred Lynn.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Football Time

The football season is almost ready to kick off. The Lions first pre-season game is tomorrow, and there seems to be some optimism in the air for the first time in ages. Changes were finally made to a team that somehow managed to go 0-16 last year, heck they also went 4-0 during the pre-season. Management seems to finally have some sense of direction, after many years. I mean, this is the franchise that drafted Andre Ware to run the Run and Shoot offense (when they had Barry Sanders already).

This card just screams "Epic Fail"!

My high school alma mater in Michigan begins play next Friday. They have traditionally stunk. In 2005 they made the High School Playoffs for the first time EVER. This is not a new school either as I was a member of the 100th graduation class over 20 years ago.

Our local college begins their season on 8/29 agianst DII power North Alabama. SAU has a new coach, so this is going to be a long season as the offense transitions from the flexbone offense to a variant of the spread. Oh, and the defense doesn't have many returnees either.

Michigan is next to start. I would like to just forget last year. First losing season in my lifetime.

I am also thinking about starting to get back into collecting Football cards again. I did when I was a kid and ended up giving them all to a friend as I just wanted to concentrate on Baseball. Do I regret it, not now. If I still had them back in the early 90s I would have just traded or sold all of the ones that I could have gotten good money for. I think that I am just going to concentrate on finding some Pro Set Football as I really liked the cards (I am a sucker for full bleed photos). Maybe I will hand collect another set (Philadelphia is tempting), if I can pull the trigger on a box (rack packs of 20 are 4.97 at Wal Mart, which makes them better values than a blaster).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Group Break

Project 62 is trying to organize a group box break of a large number of wax boxes. He is only asking for $20.00 per team, which is only the cost of one blaser of A & G.

IMO, that is not a bad deal, especailly when one of the boxes is an 81 Fleer Vending (probalby won't have any of the error cards, but the set is over 20 years old).

Go here to sign up.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Random Cards

Recently I signed up for some random cards from Dave at Tribe Cards. I asked for random, and random is what I got. Here is a good sample of the bounty that I received.

Jim Turner. Super Bowl XII is the first one that I remember watching as a kid. It was also the first one to be held at night.

89 Score Biggio. Kid had a bright career at catcher, but the Astros moved him to 2nd base to save his knees and extend his career.

Tino rated rookie. Generally Donruss did a good job of selecting their Rated Rookies for the sets.
Kind of reminds me of the old time Broncos logo.

My very first UD X card. I don't like these cards either.


V-Mart jersey card. Saw the orange and thought it was from the game at Detroit. Oh well.
Magneto. I loved the x-men as a kid.
Hambone card. I like this card, but I think I will give it to our assistant pastor as he is a big Rangers (and Hamilton) fan.
Checklists. You can't tell what cards in a set that you need without a checklist.

Again, thanks for the cards Dave, they were great.