Sunday, January 16, 2011

What's up doc?

I received these two gold parallel Upper Deck Documentary cards from Rhubarb_Runner over at e rayhahn, rayhahn the other day (got to look up the spelling on that name every time).

I have two primary questions with this package. The first is: did Upper Deck dump all the Documentary cards in a pile in Missouri somewhere? Does Rhubarb merely have to walk out his back door, pluck a few cards from the enormous stack and ship them off? He seems to have unending stock of Documentary.

The second question is: who attempts to collect the entire parallel set of Documentary?

The parallel aspect of this hobby jumped, jived and wailed over the shark a long time ago, as any number of folks, including me, have mentioned. But, unlike some rather collectible parallels, like Upper Deck Masterpieces or Baseball Heroes, or even Topps' gold parallels, there are parallels of unpopular sets like Documentary that I can't see anyone collecting.

It's not just because the set proved to be unpopular. It's also because the parallel is so bland. Do card companies print off these extra parallels actually expecting collectors to run out and try to complete a whole parallel set? Or is it like premium gas -- they have to offer it even though they know it will sit in the gas pump untouched by most folks who know "regular" is almost always sufficient.

Think of all the ridiculous parallels issued by card companies -- the Upper Deck SP and Topps base parallels in which the foil is gold instead of silver. The hobby issue parallels in which the only difference is a "hobby issue" stamp on the card. All of the 1990s parallels in which the difference from the base card was extremely difficult to find.

Outside of a few popular instances, is anyone really trying to complete parallel sets at all anymore? Is it enough to make companies continue to churn out a parallel for every single set in hopes that some idiot will try to complete a whole set of Ticket to Stardom deckle-edge parallels?

I have no idea how much extra money it costs to print parallels on top of the base set, inserts, etc. I suppose if it was significant, we wouldn't see bronze-bordered Topps 206 parallels and the like anymore. But does a card company measure anything like that? I doubt it. It seems impossible.

So, instead, a mass of parallels are spewed into the air and every collector ends up with about 5 or 6 from each set. It might be the most futile type of collecting in history.

OK, here are two other cards Rhubarb sent:

Both of these cards have parallels, by the way.

I suppose that's the way of the world today: Every kid's got to have a cell phone. Every card's got to have a parallel.


Crochety old man Night Owl will just be over here in the corner muttering "back in my day" responses to himself.


  1. I agree wholheartedly (I have no idea how to spell that word) with your stance on parallels. They can be fun at times, or for some sets, but they are way out of control and downright useless in many situations.

  2. Come on, say it - "Get off my lawn!!" ;-)

    The local card shop here busted up his two remaining boxes, so there are a slew of UD Documentary to pick through. I like the set much like people like a stupid sitcom; anyone that can put Daisuke on a card featuring Jon Lester's no-hitter (and probably taken at a different stadium) is hilarious. Plus, I like to send them to people because there is a 96% chance they don't already have them. And a 55% chance that they might appreciate them. :-P

    In any case, glad to help you get your rant out for the week! Looking forward to the return package.

  3. From the title I was expecting a post about Doc Gooden.

  4. no, UD didn't dump a pile of documentary cards in Missouri. They dumped some in New Mexico, too! ;)

    I just ordered my last 6 boxes of Documentary on a weekend sale. Curious about how many total I bought, I went through my wax stash last night and found that when those 6 come, it'll be *GASP* 27 boxes! I didn't realize I got so carried away with that.

    I am trying to build the set - you have a challenging set, dirt cheap boxes, and a lack of Topps Total. If Toppps Total were brought back, I probably wouldn't be so gung-ho in building the documentary set, but since topps total is gone, I wanted something fun to work towards.

    I'm 3 boxes into the project and have about a third of a monster box full of cards.

    If you think I"m crazy, there is someone else crazier. They are trying to build the gold parallel set of 2008 Documentary! I"m not getting rid of any of my golds just yet because I'm hoping to trade with that guy - trade golds for the base I'll need once I get closer to finishing my stash of boxes.

  5. And I was expecting a post on Doc Halladay!!

  6. I saw a wantlist somewhere of someone trying to complete the gold parallel set. I don't remember where though. Not anything I would ever consider doing. Heck I am not even going to try for the gold team set.

    People chase parallels. Even you chase them. A&G Mini cards are a parallel so are refractors.

  7. I don't attempt to complete parallel sets. And I rarely buy packs just for the parallel.

    I don't see the point of putting a parallel in every set. Perhaps card companies are hoping every set will catch on and everyone will be trying to complete the parallels in every set, but Ticket to Stardom? Come on.

  8. When I say you chase them I meant team sets...

  9. Depends on what you mean by "chase." I do have team parallel wants on my want list. But I don't buy packs to get them. I land about 95 percent of them in trades. It's very half-hearted, I'll-get-to-it-after-my-nap "chasing."