Thursday, August 13, 2009

Awesome night card, pt. 46

I received this card of Joaquin Benoit, along with several other night cards and Dodgers, from reader Tiffany not long ago. The card reminds me of the whole Upper Deck losing its Major League Baseball license mess.

Upper Deck's PR folks are in full damage control mode now, getting the word out that Upper Deck will be issuing baseball cards next year, and that it has access to all major league players, given its agreement with the Players' Association. It says it is too early to speculate on what the cards might look like, etc. It says -- and this is my favorite part -- that a lot of the speculation about what the cards might look like is "uninformed."

I love that. Businesses, including sports teams, are forever accusing information gatherers of being "uninformed." Well, if you go out of your way to withhold every single bit of information, there's not much to go on is there? We're trying to be informed. You're not helping.

Anyway, I can't see how the speculation can be wrong. Upper Deck is going to have to produce cards without MLB logos or trademarks. They're going to have to photoshop or crop or remove caps or put the players in gorilla suits or something. I suppose there's some tactic that no one has thought of yet, but I can't figure out what that might be.

It all adds up to UD taking a major hit in 2010. I can't see a lot of folks buying its cards, even if Upper Deck loads its sets with exclusive autographs of Jeter and Ichiro. I mean the perfect set for no logos is a set of only big-name stars: A-Rod, Pujols, Jeter, Chipper, Ichiro, Longoria, etc. Those are players who need no introduction. You know who they are as soon as you see their face.

But what about Joaquin Benoit? Or here's another card from Tiffany -- Cesar Jimenez. Who knows who this guy is? Will collectors buy logo-less cards of the many players they can't identify instantly? Because UD doesn't seem to be planning a strictly star-studded set for its flagship set in 2010. It seems to be making plans to issue cards of everyone, since it keeps talking up the fact that the company has the rights to every player's image.

To me, the middle relievers, the backup infielders, the folks who bounce between the majors and minors, need those logos to acquire an identity. The team they play for IS their identity because they haven't yet earned a national identity of their own.

And seeing guys I don't know in nondescript baseball clothes is no incentive to buy cards.

It's too bad, because ever since the disappearance of Topps Total, Upper Deck was the one place you could turn to get cards of most of the obscure players. But now that seems like a drawback, not a plus.

Anyway, here are handful of other cards Tiffany sent my way:

This is another night card (I think), one of The Gambler. For almost the entire 1990s, I was forever confusing Kenny Rogers with Kevin Brown. Always. I couldn't get them straight. Then Kevin Brown joined the Dodgers and that ended that. Then I longed for the days of confusion.

Jeff Kent, 2006 Fleer Ultra gold. This just reminds me of how many, many, many of these Ultra gold Dodgers I don't have.

And here is another group of cards I have trouble tracking, the combo cards. I thought I had all of the many Russell Martin combo cards. But somehow I was missing this one from the U&H set.

Thanks, Tiffany. Glad you liked the Astros. And I think I might've found a Clay Buchholz card for ya.

Oh, and Upper Deck? If you do plan to dress all of the players in gorilla suits, let me know. I'd buy that.

1 comment:

  1. I'm be up for buying UD base in 2010 if the design is reasonable, if the airbrushing is more like 2008 Donruss Threads than those Broders or cereal box cards, and the bonus would be if noone buys the boxes and the price of a box becomes dirt cheap as the internet big hobby box sites are trying to get rid of inventory.