I don't miss Upper Deck.
There, I said it.
I just don't. Maybe it's because I grew up on Topps, long before Upper Deck came to be. Maybe it's because I'm not all that interested in modern cards anymore (I passed up the card aisle again today) and "competition" isn't as urgent a need to me as it once was. Whatever the reason, I don't miss them.
But that doesn't mean I don't suffer, along with every other card collector, because Upper Deck isn't making MLB-approved cards anymore. Upper Deck's innovation and especially its photography is missing from today's cards.
And then there are other things that went by the wayside when Upper Deck's agreement with MLB died in 2010.
One of the most notable was the fact that Orioles catcher Matt Wieters didn't appear on baseball cards anymore.
As you know, the currently disabled Wieters signed an exclusive deal with Razor back in 2008. I wrote about that once before. Upper Deck paid Razor to receive permission to put Wieters on their cards in 2009. Then when Upper Deck lost its deal with MLB, future cards of Wieters disappeared. He still apparently hasn't signed a deal with Topps, and either Topps doesn't care about pursuing him or what they're offering isn't to Wieters' liking.
But I think Wieters is on Topps' mind.
Because I sat in disbelief this morning when I saw this:
That is a 5x7 "card" in the style of 1955 Topps that Topps is issuing in five-card wax packs per team (I don't think all of the teams are represented).
When The Five Tool Collector displayed his pack on his blog today I couldn't believe the sight of Wieters. At last! Topps and Wieters and Scott Boras have come to their senses and we can look forward to seeing cards of Wieters in future Topps products!
But not so fast.
After I babbled some on Twitter, Ryan Cracknell informed me that these 5x7 "cards" are actually "prints." They're called prints right on the wax wrapper. The prints are blank-backed and there are larger versions of them that are being sold by Topps online (just as the 5x7 prints are being sold online) with the purpose -- I guess -- of collectors framing them and hanging them on their wall.
But the 5x7 prints have the look and feel of cards. They're printed on Heritage stock. So, that leads me to believe that a lot of collectors are going to consider them cards.
And that this will be Wieters' first "card" for Topps -- short-printed to /99.
Using the term "print" seems like a legal dance that Topps is doing to get around not signing him to a trading card deal.
Whatever. Seems like a card to me. A short-printed card. Sold only online.
Upper Deck, where are you?
Night Card Binder candidate: Vladimir Guerrero, 2008 Upper Deck team checklist, #351
Does it make the binder?: Yes. I was concerned because this fantastic card is also #351. But I'll need that one for my future attempt to collect the 1976 SSPC set.