Friday, March 23, 2018
Sticking my nose in other baseball collectors' business
I'm still trying to get adjusted to my new work schedule and it hasn't been that difficult, except when it comes to blogging. I'm doing weird things like writing three posts at once or forgetting to pull the cards I need before the whole house is asleep and then rummaging around and waking everyone up.
I need to get back on track because being "out of sorts" does not make for good blog posts.
I'll get there, but for now, I thought I'd address some "card news" that's come across the virtual ticker the last couple of weeks. None of this news affects my collecting at all, which would instantly cause some people to point their bony finger at me and exclaim "what business is it of yours????"
It's not my business, other than being a collector with an opinion. Which is kind of the lone prerequisite for having a blog, so I guess it actually is my business.
So let's get going with some outsider's viewpoints.
NEWS ITEM: Toys R Us is closing all of its stores, maybe, probably
Toys R Us announced earlier this week that it was closing all of its stores. Later, it suspended beginning its liquidation sales, but the crayon is on the wall.
It seems inevitable that Toys R Us as we know it is disappearing. But while several people have posted their online goodbyes and lamented losing part of their childhood, including buying cards at TRU, none of that means much to me.
Toys R Us has gone out of its way to avoid me for most of my life. When I was a kid, I'd see the "Toys R Us" commercials and wonder where I could find this paradise in my hometown. I think I asked an adult one time and I received a dismissive "that's in New York City." Later when I was old enough to know what stores were actually in my town, sure enough we had no Toys R Us. Around the time I graduated from high school, that's when a Toys R Us opened across from the mall. Nice timing, TRU. I suppose you don't sell "Rock 'em, Sock 'em Robots" anymore, huh?
When I started blogging, I found out that Toys R Us sold cards and that those cards often offered exclusive purple parallels. Damn my luck, once again, I lived nowhere near a Toys R Us. The closest one was over an hour away. Instead, we had a Kaybee Toys (I am now informed by those with Internet Opinions that Kaybee Toys is FAR inferior to Toys R Us. I never knew people had such vigorous opinions about toy stores, but I'm so silly, because it's the internet. OF COURSE, there are people eager to insult your family over your opinion about a toy store).
I didn't like Kaybee Toys because I had to shop there when my daughter was little and the square footage of this store did not accommodate the number of toys, shelves or customers. At Christmas time, I became panicked that someone would light a match and tragedy would ensue because MY GOD THIS PLACE IS A FIRETRAP HOW COME NO ONE CAN SEE THIS? So I guess maybe the internet opinion people have a point.
Because I have a card addiction, I still needed to get to a Toys R Us to investigate those purple parallels. So one time I found myself in Syracuse and there were blister packs of cards hanging near the counter. I looked at the price and did a double take. They're charging WHAT for cards? I'd never seen such a mark-up on cards and still haven't.
So, yeah, it's no wonder Toys R Us is disappearing if that's what they're charging for cards.
But it doesn't affect me. (No more purple parallels I can never get anyway? Boo-hoo). I bought that one blister pack and that might be the only thing I've ever purchased from Toys R Us.
NEWS ITEM: Topps releases something called The Living Set
Am I the only one creeped out by this name? The Living Set? As in: It Comes To Life And Kills You? Or at least as in: Needs To Be Fed And Watered And Therefore Sucks Even More Money From You Than Spending $9.99 For A Single Card From This Set?
Am I the only one creeped out by the fact that every single card in this set that will never end is in the 1953 design? Topps, fully satisfied with killing off the '52 design is now going for '53's throat.
It was reported that more than 20,000 of the first three cards (they're featured in groups of three) have been sold after the first week.
That sounds like a lot to me. I don't know who those 20,000 people are. They either have much more money to play with than I do or are better than I am at suckering ... er, selling cards like this to other collectors.
I just know I'll be staying far away from these, probably even farther than Topps Now cards. I realize the '53-style Archives cards I've shown probably don't stack up to the hand-drawn Living Set cards, but it's still '53 and I'm still bored and it's STILL $9.99 per card!
I'm sure there are out-of-their-minds people who are going to try to get every card in this set for as long as it lasts. I kind of admire them. You've got to have goals, even if you have to sell your house and car to achieve them.
NEWS ITEM: Gypsy Queen is being stupid again
Gypsy Queen and I have not been on speaking terms for five years.
That's how long it's been since I've purchased more than one pack of GQ. 2013 was the last time. And I didn't like it very much then.
I almost always give a card set a chance every year, even if I'm not crazy about it. If Bowman's on the shelf, sure, I'll try a pack, and I don't care about Bowman at all. I'll buy Opening Day, even if it looks exactly like flagship. I'll give it a shot.
But not GQ. I know what I'll get and I know I won't like it. The first year of the GQ reboot was in 2011 (the card above) and it was the best that it ever was. 2012 GQ I think scarred me for life. 2013 was all about solitary confinement colors and that finished it off for me. No thanks, forever. Aside from Dodgers, the Georgia Peach and a select few 2011s are the only GQ cards I own.
It seems that I got out while the getting was good, because they're doing some ridiculous stuff with that set now.
Last year, or maybe two years ago, I heard that there were "missing black plate" and "missing name" variations. The gist was Topps was acting like they forgot the black ink, so the card featured a faded look for the missing plate cards, and the cards with the missing name featured -- duh -- a missing name.
But these were intentional "mistakes," nobody actually forgot anything. So we have a faulty card for no reason. This is stupid.
But not stupid enough apparently.
This year, there are cards that show Aaron Judge in his Yankee uniform, but list him as playing for the Red Sox. Another one shows Kris Bryant wearing his Cubs uniform but being listed as a Cardinal. Worst of all, there's a Dodger Corey Seager card listing him as a Giant.
Isn't that cute? Isn't that fun?
If it was cute or fun it would include some creativity. There's no creativity in this. This is the most mindless, soul-less variation possible. You could carry this out for infinite possibilities. List Judge as a second baseman. Now list him as a catcher. List him as a bat boy (OK, that's a little creative). "Forget" to put the GQ emblem on the card. Misspell Yankees. Print the team name upside down. And on and on and on.
It takes no thought, no creativity, and as far as team collectors go, the whole Yankees-Red Sox, Cubs-Cardinals, Dodgers-Giants swap is downright mean.
But this is not my problem. Because these cards are so rare that only case breakers will see them. And, I guess, case breakers are amused by stuff like this, which makes them from an entirely different planet than me. Dopey me, I want my card to be an accurate representation of the player on the card.
My dog in this fight is I collect cards because they are baseball, sure, but I also collect them because they are creative. It is the creative voice for my favorite sport. Why do I collect baseball cards? Because I like the designs, I like the colors, I like the stats. I like the colorful and the facts. I like how they all come together. I like to see how they're going to be displayed each year.
This is art. Baseball cards are art. Thought and creativity and art.
Intentionally printing "Red Sox" where "Yankees" is supposed to go?
That's just bullshit.