A couple of days ago, Robert from $30 a Week Habit wrote an interesting post about where the hobby would be if "the magazine" didn't exist. Of course, he was talking about Beckett.
There was a time when Beckett was a respected hobby publication, but I think it's become a lightning rod of criticism for what is wrong with the hobby. Whether it's the over inflated card pricing, the "loaded" box breaks or contributing to the hype machine of such players as Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, Beckett has outlived it's usefulness.
Accurate card pricing is reflected better on a variety of online resources where the actual buy/sell price of cards can be checked at any given time. If you've bothered to check prices on a hot new card, you know that prices start high and begin to drop within a few days. It seems like Beckett never reflects the drop in card prices. Sometimes even years after the fact.
One of the things I used to enjoy reading in Beckett was the box breaks they would show in each issue. Now, I can watch an endless array of box breaks on youtube if I want too, knowing that those breaks more accurately reflect what you might actually get in a box. We've all heard the accusations of manufacturers sending Beckett loaded boxes for their breaks in an effort to build up excitement for the product.
I don't know about all of you, but I know some of us got sick of Strasmania and Harper fever. Topps is the main culprit, but Beckett did it's part to fuel that fire too. I don't have anything personal against either player, aside from that ridiculous eyeblack Harper used to use, but I know I rolled my eyes every time I pulled one of their cards. Of course, I'm not looking to flip cards on Ebay so I wasn't seeing $$ when I pulled their cards.
Eric from Manupatches and Mustaches commented on Robert's post that childhood card trading was made better by having Beckett price guides. I had a completely different experience as a kid which I wrote about way back in October of 2009. Let's just say that chunky little Beckett price guide, the one that was updated ONCE per year, ruined everything. No longer would my friends and I trade based on wants or needs. It was all about the bloody book "value". What a joke.
It's been a long, long time since I bought a Beckett and I can't imagine ever buying another one. I'm not a case buster. I'm not a prospector. I don't really care about the real or perceived value of any certain card. If I want to buy a card and I feel it's a good value, I'll buy it. If it's not, I can skip it. If I go to a card shop or show and the dealer has to get out his dog eared copy of the latest Beckett to tell me how much he wants for a card, I'm not doing business with him because he's out of touch with reality. One of the very best things about the blogosphere is the fact that almost every single one of us trades with each other without regard for the value of the cards we're trading.
Every time I open a package of cards from one of you, knowing you've already opened mine, or soon will, I'm transported back to my childhood. A time before Beckett. A time when trading was fun and all that mattered was two kids happy about the pile of cards they had in front of them.
So yea, Beckett's still here, but I don't need it.