Friday, July 22, 2016

A bad year for being a Dodgers team collector

This post will be devoid of cards that I own. You'll know why in a second.

If you've been following the 2016 Allen & Ginter hubbub -- today is the set's release date -- you probably know that there is some sneakiness involving card No. 120.

The official Topps A&G checklist lists two Dodgers with that same number:

But since people have started opening the product, they've discovered that the Kenta Maeda card is the actual base card set. Julio Urias -- get ready to groan Dodger fans -- is a super short-print.

There is some speculation about whether there are different versions of that short-print, but so far I've only seen the one that box-breaker Brent Williams has shown:

There is actually a nameplate under Urias' image but it's very faint. It's printed in white so it's difficult to see.

As I am writing this, the Urias card is now the most difficult card in the entire A&G set to pull.

As a Dodger fan, that is simply outstanding in the most sarcastic way possible.

This only adds to what has been a lousy year for Dodgers team collectors.

I know the Dodgers are a popular team and a popular team to collect. I also know that Topps knows this. And I'm used to strangeness surrounding certain Dodgers cards because the team's collectors are apparently silly enough to pursue those odd cards to the ends of the earth. I'm sure it happens with Yankees collectors, Red Sox collectors, Cubs collectors, etc.

But, damn, 2016 seems to be one blow after another for us Dodgers fans, and I don't mean the starting pitching staff.

It started with the new ToppsNow project.

The ToppsNow cards are issued following memorable moments virtually each day of the baseball season and are weighted toward successful teams -- as they should be if you're documenting memorable moments in a season. But some of the Dodgers cards seemed suspect to me and now 19 ToppsNow Dodger cards have accumulated.

Only the Red Sox (21) and Cubs (20) have more at this point. The Nationals (19) have the same number as the Dodgers, but here's the thing: those three other teams are all in first place. The Dodgers are not. Meanwhile, the first-place Giants have 16, the first-place Indians have 11 and the first-place Rangers have 8.

Nineteen cards is a lot of money to spend if I want to team-collect the way I have been doing for many years.

At $9.99 per card (or the somewhat discounted prices you find on ebay), I can't afford that, and ToppsNow has officially made me throw up my hands and say, "That's it. I'll never get all the Dodgers cards!" (Even with all of the 1 of 1's, I still held out a completely unreasonable hope that I'd one day have them all, but not anymore).

So, I'm still dealing with ToppsNow's litany of Dodgers because obviously the season isn't over and ToppsNow is still issuing cards.

Meanwhile, Topps issued its Archives product a while back. Unlike last year, when it super-shortprinted the final 30 cards, Archives dialed it back a bit and decided to SP just the final 10 cards. People have viewed it as a reprieve, a much easier project to tackle.

I haven't.

That's mostly because out of the 10 short-printed cards, three of them are Dodgers.

No other team has more than two SPs in Archives (the team with two, weirdly, is the Padres).

I only had ONE Dodger to chase when 2015 Archives short-printed the final 30 (still haven't shelled out money for that one).

So this is where I am in 2016 -- 3 Archives SPs to chase, 19 ToppsNow cards for probably around $7-9 each to chase, and now a super-stealth Julio Urias Allen & Ginter card to chase.

Wow, Topps, you're mean.

You're probably saying, "you should be used to this by now," and, yeah, I'm somewhat used to the Dodgers checklist being larger than other teams' checklists (this year's A&G Dodgers team set is 17 players large while the Phillies have just 3 cards). I'm also used to there being more inserts to chase and parallels to chase. That just happens when you're a Dodger fan.

But this extra stuff that I'm seeing this year, it's getting demoralizing.

I'm sure those on the other end of the spectrum -- the fans of teams who get ignored by Topps -- have their own problems. They'd love lots of cards to chase of their favorite guys. But that's their problem and this is my problem, and my problem is:


So, what do I do? I'm not going to boycott sets that I like. I can't do that. I won't do that. I'm in this hobby for fun, and "fun" to me is buying whatever cards I want.

But I am doing something about it.

I'm defining myself -- and my collection -- less and less by team. Sure, I'm still a Dodger collector, but I won't pursue it with the same vigor. I won't update checklists with the same attention, I've already stopped doing that.

I'll do more with collecting my vintage sets, oddball sets, and various insert sets that draw my interest. And I'll collect Dodgers from the past. Because now that Topps has beaten me down on the modern team front, my heart is more with 1972 Topps, 1976 Kellogg's and so many other things I can chase.

2016 may be a bad year to be a Dodger team collector. But so many other years are great for being whatever collector I want to be.


  1. Oof tough break. This is a good reminder why I'm not so much a team collector.

    On the other hand it raises the question "is collecting a team that has less cards a good thing?" I ask this because there are a fair number of teams that suffer the other extreme, having to go on few (if any) cards of their teams. Teams like the Brewers, Padres, and Expos.

  2. That happened to me a few years ago. That's when I started to focus more on Virdon than anything else.

  3. The only solace I can offer is that young studs rarely retain their high asking prices, so that Urias card is bound to drop back down to realistic levels after the sheen on his goggles wears off.

    Actually, another solace. Could be slightly worse if you were a Nationals/Bryce Harper collector. His rookie was wedged into e'rythang.

  4. I wouldn't waste your time with the On Demand stuff like Topps Now and Panini Instant.

    1. I won;t for the simple fact that it costs almost $50 US for shipping a single card to Canada.

  5. Yup, collect how you want to collect. I choose to ignore some dodger ssp cards like the 2012 topps update trio but seek out othees like the 2013 topps update puigs. i do have all the dodger topps now cards (and plan to keep going), but it was a tough decision to make when that first one was released.

  6. It's tough being a team collector. I'm able to get the cheaper (main stream) stuff no problem and I trade for some parallels and other odds & ends other bloggers bump into. The high end stuff? It's hardly even on my radar anymore.

  7. The Urias is going to drop in price. It may well be short-printed but considering the number that have already cropped up on eBay in less than a day of the product being live I don't believe it's all that SSP'd.

  8. I'm not spending money on this Topps Now bullshit. I don't care how many nice moments they commemorate.

  9. I've chased down the Redsox Topps now cards. Grabbed them from an after market dealer at a discounted price. Did it this year because it's the first. Won't go after them next year. All the other short print type stuff I don't bother with .

  10. Topps must assume that since the Dodgers spend so much money on their roster... their fans will spend a lot of money on their cardboard. ;)

  11. SSPs? That's just silliness. I'm like most these days...just pick up what strikes my fancy and ignore the rest. My days as an Orioles 'completest' died with Upper Deck's phony Ben McDonald error rookie card in 1990.

  12. I just opened the first 6 boxes of my case last night and pulled one of those Urias's. If I happen to pull a second, you're welcome to it. It also looks like the prices have already come down to a "somewhat" more reasonable $30 range.

  13. I'm with you, Bubba. It was the artificial scarcity in Heritage, a set I would love to love, that turned me off collecting modern sets. If Heritage was a normal set, without short prints, I'd still be collecting it. But, there is no way to get all the SPs without spending a lot of money. Neither busting a lot of product nor buying SPs individually were cheap. I'd rather just spend that money on vintage.