Friday, November 1, 2013

Yesterday's news

I received a few Nebulous 9 needs from Brian of cardnomics recently. They are much appreciated and I can't wait to add some more cards to that list.

This Ivan DeJesus diamond sparkle card from a couple of years ago brought me down to one Dodger card left to complete that parallel set. But as I pulled this card from the package, it occurred to me how "old news" diamond parallels are.

Since the time in 2011 when these things were all the rage and collectors vowed to complete an entire set of them, new parallels have replaced them.

First there were cognac parallels, also known as liquorfractors, that arrived a few months after the diamond parallels.

Then came the gold sparkle cards -- I still don't know the formal name of those -- in 2012 Topps. Those were replaced by the emerald parallels -- what I like to call the "rain forest" parallels -- of 2013 Topps.

Each time collectors oohed and aahed about the new parallel and the previous one was almost forgotten.

There was talk this week on Twitter as people wondered whether there were too many sets being released in too short of a time span. In the last couple of months, the following Topps baseball sets have been released:

Bowman Chrome
Chrome Update
Triple Threads

Also, Allen & Ginter, Bowman Platinum and Topps minis were all released in late summer. And Panini has contributed a couple of sets, too.

I may be a little different than many modern collectors, but I'm almost getting to the point where I'm used to Topps Series 2 being on store shelves. It was issued in June.

That's why I laughed when this discussion on Twitter arose. This is just a topic NOW? I've thought there were too many sets being released in rapid succession for at least four or five years.

This is me, the "I grew up when there was one set to collect from April-September and we LIKED it" guy talking here, so be as dismissive as you like, but when so many sets are released in such a short span, I can't focus. Can anybody?

I know everybody doesn't collect everything and you can limit it to just the sets you like, but how many "Chrome only" collectors are there? Most of the collectors I know like to draw from a little bit of everything. But before you even realized that Chrome is out -- NEVER MIND, IT'S UPDATE WITH NEW PLAYERS IN THEIR NEW UNIFORMS LOOK AT THESE BRAND NEW INSERTS AND 620 SHORT-PRINTS YOU CAN CHASE LOOK LOOK LOOK (SLOBBER, SLOBBER, DROOOOOOOOOOL)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And poor, pretty Chrome is sitting alone on the shelf saying, "hey, remember me? I'm shiiiiiiineeeee? Anybody?"

I don't think anyone has the money to collect all of those sets or even grab the players or teams they like from all those sets. And I'm almost sure that nobody has the time. And I'm positive that there's not a soul who has the brain power to absorb it all.

So what this does is produce "what have you done for me lately" collectors. ADHD collectors if you will. "HEY, LOOK, I PULLED A CHROME RED PARALLEL OF YU DAR --- (*throws card down like it has a disease*) --- HEY LOOK! THERE'S CHROME UPDATE CARDS! LOOK WHAT I GOT!!! (*consumes a quart of sugar*)"

I see it all the time on Twitter. Somebody celebrates the latest pull and two weeks later it's kicked to the curb because it's new product time and there's an even better pull.

I don't know the reason Topps does this -- I'm sure it has to do with making more money -- and I'm certainly not trying to collect all of that. I just don't like what it does to some collectors and I definitely don't like what it does to the cards.

It makes them instantly disposable. Even more disposable than they already are.

Who cares about completing the diamond parallel set from two years ago when there are now shiny new green ones? Do you know how distressing it is to see such a shiny sparkly card, glistening diamond-like, sitting in the gutter?

This kind of marketing does not making memorable cards. Fuzzy nostalgia alert, but from 1975-79 during that prehistoric era when you were limited to collecting basically one set, I memorized those cards front to back. I can see random players from those sets in my mind right now. Hundreds and hundreds of cards I have mentally cataloged forever. With corresponding card-back cartoons in some cases.

Is that possible when a set hits shelves every two weeks? Anybody want to tell me what the Topps Archives Matt Latos card looks like from this year's set?

But I can tell you that in 1977 Topps, Dave Rosello is crouched in a right-handed batting stance, bat straight up, droopy Afro emerging out of his Cubs cap, with a slight smile on his face.

There is something to be said for pacing yourself.

I can see panicked looks on some collectors faces. They don't want to return to the boring old world of one or two sets a year.

I hear ya. I probably would get bored by that now, too. I've been conditioned by Fleer, Donruss, Upper Deck, Score, Pacific, Heritage, Allen and Ginter, Chrome, etc., etc., to see more than one box of cards in the store at one time.

But a few less sets -- spaced out several weeks at a time -- I think would create more memorable cards, less distracted collectors and maybe even a happier hobby.

Something to ponder while I stare at my 1982 Drake's Steve Garvey card that I also received from Brian:

Very cool.

In 1982, there was Topps (plus a Traded set issued late in the year), Donruss, Fleer, Drake's, Kellogg's, a Kmart set, some cards from Squirt and a few random TCMA sets that you could order through the mail. That was about it.

Trust me. That was plenty.

But I know, it's a different era.

Anyway, just a thought.


  1. For what it's worth, I'm still collecting the diamond parallel set. I had hoped people would get sick of them so that I could finish my set - but it seems people got sick of 'em and tossed 'em or something instead of sending them my way. Topps shoots themselves in the foot in that sense because I will only collect so many sets at one time - and if that means sitting out the next X years' worth of Topps Heritage because I still need cards from 2009 and 2011, so be it.

  2. I've been working on Topps flagship and Archives this year and that's it. I tried to do too many of the 2012 releases and have a slew of half done sets.

  3. The joys of being a team collector - just nabbed a printing plate from Update for six bucks and change, and a handful of serial #d Chrome cards for about 2.50 each. Guess it helps that my team is the Padres, but the slew of releases means that those "less desirable" ones can go unnoticed and slip through the cracks... down to me.

  4. Oh, and Diamond > Emerald > gold shiny. Those diamond cards in '11 helped get me excited about collecting that year, after a 13 yr break.

  5. I remember some blogger christened those gold sparkly things, urine waterfalls. I thought the name fit just perfectly.

  6. More licenses, way more restriction on volume related to each license. Just my opinion

  7. This year has been the worst I can remember in terms of release timing. I'm still trying to fill quite a few holes on the various sparkly cards from the past couple years - if I ever finish them I may just call it a done deal and ignore the gold, black, etc.

  8. I thought I was the crazy one when I realized I really just can't account for all the refractors, parallels and inserts that come out for my team or my favorite players in one particular year.

    It leaves me a little helpless, then I realize I just don't care - I just won't bother finding them all unless they fall into my lap [figuratively speaking].

  9. Another reminder why I'm glad I'm just a player collector (plus A&G).

  10. All I can say is .....well said.