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Feelin' a little guilty

I'm considered a rational, level-headed sort both here and in everyday life. That's good to know, because there are many times when I don't feel rational or level-headed.

In fact, I've been known to "go off" periodically. If I see something I don't like or something gets me frustrated, I won't hold back.

While that's probably healthy, it can cause trouble, and it did a couple of days ago. I was reading a post late at night from Cardboard Junkie in which he spelled out his mission statement on collecting Heritage. I enjoyed the posts and could relate to them because I have a love-hate thing going on with Heritage. But when I read the first post, I began to feel aggravation with Heritage and Topps and what they had done to this poor set-collector who loved the brand so much but couldn't collect it in the traditional way because of the stupid tinkering that Topps does with the set. Although his post wasn't bashing Heritage for this, it uprooted the old issues I have with the set, how I still haven't finished 2008 Heritage, how I refuse to attempt to complete another Heritage set (until 2024), and how I still buy Heritage cards because I really, really, really love it but I can't HAVE it because it costs an ungodly amount of money to complete it.

And then I said it.

I said that Topps vomits on set collectors.

I said that. On Twitter. Vomits. I used the word "vomits."

I told you I can go off.

Well, of course, you can't say a corporation regurgitates on its customers in a public forum without there being some kind of reaction. Crazy, but it's true.

Topps' PR twitter person, feeling hurt, weighed in. And then the "Topps-isn't-the-way-it-was-when-I-was-a-kid-therefore-it's-bad" crowd weighed in, chanting "Vo-MIT, Vo-MIT, Vo-MIT." And Cardboard Junkie had suddenly started something he hadn't even started.

I kind of did.

Yeah, I'm feeling a little guilty. Especially because he drew me that quick-and-dirty 2013 Topps Clayton Kershaw 1/1 parallel up top. So I am sorry.

To clarify, I don't really think Topps vomits on collectors. I do think it makes things difficult for collectors, especially dedicated set collectors like me who have been around for years. And that manifests itself mostly in Heritage, a set that supposedly is geared toward set collectors like me.

But I also know that Topps is a modern corporation and needs to do what it can to stay profitable. So I don't want to throw them under the bus for every move that they make.

So how do I make it up to those folks who took a little flak thanks to my choice of the word "vomit"?

Well, I'm not worried about Topps. I'll still be buying cards from them. They're fine. I'm sure I'll say something nasty about them again before this post is done and I'll still go out and buy their cards the next day. I'm such a noisy little sheep.

As for Cardboard Junkie, I can make it up to him by showing the cards that he sent me.

What, you don't think that's enough of an apology?

Considering that I believe in one of his Heritage posts he hired a pony to tell me to do impossible things with a desert plant, I think that's suitable enough. And, of course, I'm still stockpiling Braves.

Now, get ready, there's some good stuff here.

Here is a former Nebulous 9 need from 2002 American Pie.

Ralph Branca gave up one of the most famous home runs of all-time. Yet he remained good-natured long after that event. He's a good example for a lot of sports figures. Hell, he's a good example for everyone. Especially me when I get a little excitable.

Look. I'm collecting ubiquitous parallels from Topps. See? I really do like them. Now if we could only discuss cards no. 426-500 in Heritage, I'd like 'em more.

Four more Nomos for the collection. This gets me to 386 total Nomos and I recently added another for 387. You can help me get to 400! Doesn't that sound like a worthy goal? You need more goals in your life. Think of the children.

Oooh. A hit from Archives.

I didn't buy much Archives because I decided I hated it, so hits around here have been impossible to find.

This appears to be a bat relic. Let's turn over the card to make sure.

No. No mention of the word "bat" on the card except as the root word for "batting." I guess that means it's a piece of particle board, or maybe a popsicle st ...

Wait .. what's this?

Oh, for crying out loud, Topps.

I before E except after ... um ... what's that letter?

You just CAN'T let these things fall into the hands of a guy who is employed as an editor.

I knew I wouldn't be able to get out of the post without bagging on Topps.


Let's get everyone back to their happy place with the final card from the package.

But it's not a Topps card.




It's Donruss.

Ain't that shinypurty?

This is quite a specimen. Not only is it a flashy autographed card of Steve Garvey, one of the heroes of my childhood, but the Back 2 Back title is a bit of foreshadowing.




That is the back.

My most favorite player ever (although not a terribly flattering photo). The Penguin signed it with his trademark No. 10 and recognized his '81 World Series co-MVP award (which is kind of an odd thing to mention on a card with Garvey on the front).

That's a FTW card if I ever saw one. It is beyond phenomenal.

It also makes me feel a little guilty again.

But then I think about the two Clayton Kershaw Heritage cards that dayf pulled, including a Venezuelan back. And how I'm probably not going to be able to get them as I'm very slow when people make specific card requests.

That makes me a little sad.

And a little ill.

But not enough to do ... you know ... that.

I won't be using that word for awhile.


Commishbob said…
No need to feel guilty, you were right the first time. Topps does vomit on set collectors. I'm glad I'm no longer in that racket.
Thanks for a great post. You manage to keep the hobby interesting. I don't know how you find the time to do this but keep it going.
Mariner1 said…
Just think of how valuable that Ethier card is since it's a rare error card. You will be rich if you ever decide to sell it....
Scott Crawford said…
(Part 1 of 2 since I went long):

I have to say this before I get all revved up: that is one mother of a Cey/Garvey autograph card.

I think we all know you didn't want to make dayf the center square in a vomitorium, and I'm sure he gets it and doesn't have any hard feelings about it, either.

Maybe your choice of words was strong, but at the same time, Topps can be a really tone deaf company when it comes to what its customers want, so I think they need to hear strong words sometimes.

If Panini released more products that I was passionate about collecting, they'd probably hear it from me more often, too, but they don't right now. I just buy my football/basketball/hockey player collection cards and move on. I like some of them plenty, but I don't find myself getting into raging debates about their products, and maybe that's me damning them with faint praise, but mostly, I think it's that no one I know set-builds Panini's stuff, so there's no point in me doing it either. I'd have to buy more packs of it than I can afford (yeah, even with sets like Score and Hoops) to do that without being able to trade for some of it.

With Topps, it's like they have to keep doing frustrating things just so we're never completely happy with one of their products, because they're afraid we'd either demand that quality from them all the time (which we kinda do, and should, given that we're spending money on their stuff), or that we'll say "OK, nothing can top the awesomeness of this set!" and stop collecting their new products.

They gimmick out their products so that it's impossible for most adults earning an OK living (never mind kids) to afford to build sets, and by doing so, they subsidize that whole "gambling" element of the hobby that a lot of us really don't care for.

Our old pal Heritage High Number from last year was a clear and flagrant violator of this. They could've easily released that set without an autograph in it for a fraction of the cost, but they chose not to, because they knew some people would be nuts enough to buy multiple sets just to try and get the Harper/Cespedes/etc. autographs. That's just one example in 7 or 8 years of Alex Gordons, Photoshopped Jeters, intentional "errors", super short prints of the biggest rookie of the year, squirrels and other complete nonsense they've pulled.
Scott Crawford said…
(Part 2 of 2):

dayf, over on his site, said "collect how you want to collect" yesterday, but sometimes Topps stacks the deck so that you can't even buy something like base or Heritage "how you want to". Yeah, people could stop buying new product and just go vintage, but damn it, there are players I enjoy following whose cards I'd like to get for under the price of a kidney every year. A fella only has so many kidneys.

And it's a shame, because people have so much sentimentality and goodwill attached to Topps baseball cards despite some of the things they've done over the years. It's almost like they're deliberately trying to shake off that goodwill so they can just sell to gamblers and stop hearing a ration of shit from those of us who actually care about the bubble gum cards.

There's also this element of "we know what's best for our customers better than they are" that occasionally wafts out from Topps' PR department that they get trashed for sometimes, and rightfully so. You don't have to fully submit to the whims of your crazy-ass collector fanbase, but you'd better damn well listen to them and not respond to them with an air of superiority if you don't want to hear words like "vomit" or far, far worse.

I definitely feel like some changes are needed within that company (or possibly outside of it, by adding competition from somewhere), because of the things I mentioned above.

OK, enough ranting for me. Don't be too rough on yourself for your choice of words or your own frustration, here's hoping Topps (and/or the rest of the hobby) gets it together soon, and if we didn't already have enough reasons to nominate dayf for sainthood, that Garvey/Cey auto he sent you is one more on top of the others.
dayf said…
I meant "Eff yourself with a cactus" in a good way.

Also gcrl is laser focused on that Medlen so you might be outta luck on that one.

Also Also I now understand why I decided to send you the Archives Ethier relic instead of the 2013 Topps Ethier relic. Classic.
Unknown said…
The i before e isn't taught now, because most words contradict it.
P-town Tom said…
I'm sorry I missed the vomitorium on the Twitter. I'm sure it was awesome.

I really enjoy collecting, and I collect what I want. But I enjoy reading blogs about cards more.

This post, combined with dayf's two about Heritage have been some good reading.
carlsonjok said…
Arrgggh! Don't feel bad because Topps is feeling all butthurt. They freaking deserve it. Topps is pandering to the hobby bottom feeders who are only concerned about flipping hits and short prints for a profit and are willing to buy bulk to get them. Heritage is the one product *this* set collector would actually like to work on, if it wasn't for all those damn short prints and short printed inserts. To be sure, some short prints are fine. But have 75 short printed base cards and another 75 short printed inserts? And that doesn't even count the various and sundry special inserts, relics,. manu-relics and autgographs.

If anything, you were too easy on them.
night owl said…
For the record, since I apparently didn't make myself clear, I do not feel bad that I bagged on Topps for Heritage. They deserve it.

I just want to make sure that I don't come of as bagging on them for every last move that they make. I don't feel like that and I don't want to come off that way. That's what made me feel bad.
I don't tweet, so I missed all of the hoopla.

My way to combat this is that I don't consider SP's part of the set, therefore I don't feel the need to acquire them. I rarely get them in packs, and this way I have at least some chance of finishing the set, even though I rarely do.
Cardsplitter said…
Topp's monopoly is the reason I don't collect cards any more.

They do vomit on collectors. Did you see the half ass sets they put out their first year of their "exclusive contract?"

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