Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How do you think IT is affecting the hobby?

I'll get to the "IT" part in a minute.

If you were around for the start of Play at the Plate, you know I had a stack, no, make that a mountain, of trades to post. I'm getting dangerously close to that stage again and will be making it up to you guys when I replace my scanner. If you've mailed me something and wondered if I got it, I probably did and it's in a pile of opened packages just waiting to be shown off.

Now, for the real point of this post.

I mentioned earlier today, in my State O' the Sphere follow up post, that the Topps monopoly is ruining this hobby. I want to expound on that thought, but first I want to know what you think about it.

Is the monopoly really that big a deal? Is it just a blip on the hobby radar or is it strangling what is already a struggling hobby? How has it affected your buying habits?

I'll give you my thought in the follow-up, but I will say this. The monopoly is going to change the way I approach the hobby in 2011.

So...what are your thoughts?


  1. The Topps monopoly hasn't really affected my desire to purchase and collect cards.

    I just haven't felt like buying many for quite a long time. I don't need 100+ different David Wright cards each year, I don't want to spend $20 for a box with 32 cards in it and I'm tired of sets that look exactly like the ones that came out last year.

    Upper Deck was just as guilty of all those sins as Topps.

    Find a way to sell cards that represent a better value for collectors, and you might get me to buy more - it doesn't matter if there's one company or 50 doing it.

  2. It is crazy I tell you. I want to enjoy the hobby; acquiring cards for my PC and for trades but after recent issues with Topps - I am not sure how much I will be buying their 'new' products; don't get me wrong, I am excited and intrigued by their new products but the experience so far has not been to my expectations. some of my favorite cards are from their non-monopoly years.

    Lately I have been buying 'blasters' and discounted UD products; the 'hits' and quality I see out of these products bring some kind of joy to me.

    the only way any company will stop and listen to the consumer is when we all stand united and stop buying their products and make them take actions to correct the 'real' problems; consumer relations, quality (miss cut cards should not be an issue, but it is) and flat out lying to the public is a D*CK-HEAD move by them, what the hell is up with redemption cards (it should have already been in the damn boxes already and wrapper redemption programs (if you look at the 'quality' of the cards that came back through the program; you would be pissed not bcuz they aren't great but compare them to the cards in the hobby boxes and you will see that they are superior; they lay flat and i would grade them a 10).

    sorry for the vent and long caught me on a good day!


  3. The monopoly has not changed my buying habits. But, I did grow up in the late 70s/early 80s so Topps was available most everywhere I went. Fleer and Donruss were sporadic. I sometimes wonder if my age affects my opinion on the subject.

  4. I'm not buying new cards in 2011.

    But to be fair, I haven't been avidly buying new cards since about 1993. I did pick up some Topps series 1 this year, but that flirtation was short-lived. I didn't purchase a single Series 2 pack.

    That said, I don't know if I'm ready to agree that a monopoly is necessarily a bad thing for the hobby. There are those of us who collected before the days of Fleer/Donruss who remember that there was only one company to choose from, and we were fine with that.

    Yes, creativity in the Topps monopoly was stifled (except, conveniently, in those years where they had to renegotiate a deal with the Union, like in 1973), but what we have now really doesn't seem like a monopoly when there are still multiple card sets coming out each year.

  5. You know, it was OK when the companies just had the base sets each year, but then when they went really crazy with alternates, high-end, low-end, ultras, etc. it got way too confusing. UD was probably the worst with their quadrillion card sets and inserts, so it's no wonder they wanted to simplify and not have so much licensed product out there diluting the market.

    Bowman, regular Topps, Heritage, and the other releases are different enough to keep interest, I think. But that's just me.

  6. It has given me a whole lot less Red Sox cards to chase this year. I have even started chasing some of the insert stuff cause there is nothing else out there. Well, that and a Topps insert is basically a regular card cause so many come per pack.

  7. I think the monopoly issue is a big deal with younger collectors who grew up in an era in which they had 50 or 60 sets a year from which to choose.

    I grew up in an era in which there was one set to choose. So, although I see the point of the people who are raising hell about the monopoly, I just can't get that fired up. I collected when there was only one company, and I still had fun.

    I know, I know, there's a bigger picture and all that. But I'll leave the discussion of that for others.

  8. It's ALWAYS better to have competition. Maybe we'll have have a reasonable number inserts, and some cool new designs instead of recycled vintage designs

  9. I don't have buying habits, my wife tells me habits are bad for me, so she won't let me have one!

    But seriously, I've only completed one set of baseball cards to date, having only bought non-sports stuff so many years ago, it ain't funny. I got out of the trading card thingy when pack prices crept higher than 99 cents on average.

    I've only recently started again with the Topps Opening day because of the low buying price, and my recent discovery of my interest in the sport of baseball.

  10. As one of those younger buyers Night Owl mentioned, I'm a bit bummed. I loved choice, especially Upper Deck when they were good, Leaf/Donruss, Pacific, etc.

    But I only buy 3-4 packs a year anyway, so it's not like I'm a major dent to Topps.

  11. There are less Ken Griffey Jr. cards of course I'm upset!

    Seriously though, the monopoly isn't the issue, it's just the fact that Topps has gotten so lazy and mailed in most of the products this year.

    There's very little creativity anymore and as the only manufacturer there's no reason for Topps to try harder.

    I'll never stop buying cards, but I might continue to spend more money on older products.

  12. I don't think it's the monopoly specifically, but laziness on the part of the card companies. I don't think they customize sets to appeal to a particular consumer and instead try to make everything appealing to everybody. You can't make everyone happy, but tailoring specific sets to specific collectors would help.

  13. As a younger collector that started in the mid-'90s, this is a harsh new world of card collecting I'm living in. I've never been much of a topps fan to begin with, so the lack of choice sucks. I wouldn't necessarily take even a good topps set of a mediocre Donruss or Fleer one back in the day, so the fact that topps has phoned it in so much this year has hurt my interest a lot.

    I've just been going through the motions most of the year, especially the last couple months. I'm not spending a lot less on cards than I used to, but it's mostly out of habit anymore, and I frequently regret many of my purchases of new product. If I didn't "need a fix" on a fairly regular basis, my sports card spending would probably be halved.