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.
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:
I DON'T HAVE MONEY FOR THIS!!!!!!!!
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.