Wednesday, September 19, 2012
As a member of the media, I am trained to recognize BS when it's walking toward me. Coaches lie to us. Colleges spin us. Businesses try to use us. It's an on-going battle against crap.
Because of this, I am ever sensitive to the waves of hooey that come at us from every direction. I have little tolerance for pitches, commercials, sales drives, even the cute girl at the phone kiosk in the mall. If you're not saying something with meaning/truth, I ain't buying.
Because of this, Twitter is best avoided during the first half of the day. I swear every card business in the world spends the morning shilling whatever they have to shill under the guise that it's THE GREATEST THING EVER on Twitter. It makes Crazy Eddie seem like he had Low T.
But there is a lot of other BS -- what I like to sugar-coat as "pointlessness" -- on Twitter, which I still wade through because I like to stay informed and it's a great way to do that. Among the pointlessness of recent days:
1. The iphone5: The worst part of this is there will be a new iphone arriving sometime before my daughter graduates from high school and we'll have to endure everything we've just gone through again. I guess Twitter is making up for the fact that it wasn't around for the invention of fire and electricity.
2. Blogger vs. Wordpress: The internets are filled with first-world problems. It's not the Allied vs. the Axis here. They are different ways to do the same thing. Pick one. Write.
3. Politics: Everything that you hear in politics is fake. All of it. There is nothing real, especially during a presidential election. Nothing that's said, nothing that's reported, nothing that is retweeted, is of any importance at all. There is always an ulterior motive behind anything that anyone says that is political. If someone is trying to reach any kind of audience with something political, regard it as crap.
Yes, I'm cranky today. How can you tell?
All right, so how do I steer this rant around to something about cards?
By selecting the Five Most Pointless Baseball Card Sets of the Last Five Years!!!!
I've been blogging going on five years. In that time I have written about the last five years of cards in one way or another. From 2008 to 2012. Just about all of the card sets for 2012 have been released, so I think this is a good time to do a little look back and find the sets that really shouldn't have been released at all.
There have been some doozies. But I am limiting my selections to major releases by major companies. So, some of the early Panini sets, the recent Leaf sets, won't count here. I am also eliminating high-end sets, because I don't see those often, and also there seems to be a market for just about every high-end set made.
I am also not including inserts sets. If I did, this set would win easily:
Now, this little countdown is basically how I feel at the moment. I really don't expect the list to change much if I do the same thing six months from now, but you never know. Upper Deck X, which leads off this post, probably would've been considered by me as the most pointless set if I wrote this post in 2008. But as the years go on, I've grown to like it. I still don't really know why it was released, but it won't appear on this list.
P.S.: Bowman Platinum, you just missed the cut.
So, without further ado, the Five Most Pointless Baseball Card Sets of the Last Five Years:
2009 Upper Deck Icons
This set, like a few others on the list, was an instant head-scratcher. A 100-card set of all-stars? With some SP rookies? Why do we need this? For some lucky people, there were letterman cards and legends autos, but there are/were plenty of sets that had the same thing. So I still don't know why this was released, other than that Upper Deck had to fill its quota.
2007-09 Upper Deck Spectrum
In 2007, best as I can tell, this was just a run-of-the-mill, semi-fancy Upper Deck set. Then, in 2008, it morphed into a set that included celebrity autographs and cut signatures. Of course, your average collector never sniffed any of that stuff. All they got were horrid-looking foil board cards that came in cough syrup colors. Collecting it was pretty close to swallowing terrible-tasting medicine.
2009 Topps Unique
Again, if you were a high-roller, then this set had a point, although I wonder how much of a point a card featuring a laundry tag has. I will always think of this set as The Knob Set, not because there were bat knob hits in it, but because how amusing I think it is that collectors go loopy over "Knob cards." "Knob" or "Nob" has been a brilliant insult word for as long as I can remember, and that's all I can think of -- is Nobs going batty over Knobs. Sorry.
2009 Upper Deck Signature Stars
Upper Deck was at death's door as a baseball card producer when it issued this set. I had no idea why it appeared in stores then and I have even less of an idea now. It's ugly and it wasn't even released until 2010. Is there anything more pointless than a 2009 product being released the following year?
2009 Topps Ticket To Stardom
Cards puzzle me a lot, probably because I'm trying to find a point to everything. When I heard about Ticket To Stardom, I thought for sure there had to be a great hook for Topps to create such an awkward sounding name for a set. Well, the hook was ticket stubs. Ticket stubs as hits. A ticket stub is not a hit for me unless A) I went to that game; or B) it's one of the greatest baseball games ever played, think Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. So without that bit of excitement, all we were left with were ticket stubs and these boring-looking, flimsy base cards. And how about the pointless parallels? The same boring cards but with one edge perforated. The world got dumber when this set was released.
In trading card circles, it seems that pointlessness happens when there are too many sets released. That's why I'd rather have companies put effort into a handful of sets, over showering collectors with 15 sets every year and proclaiming the greatness of each one. Which is a flat-out lie.
Perspective is everything, of course. Some collectors may like these sets, or see their point.
Some people probably can find the point of public relations blitzes, or perpetually updated phone gadgets, or even politics.
Nah, there's no point to politics.
Then again, I know a few people who say that card-collecting and blogging are pointless.
And to that I say:
"What's your point?"