A Comment On The Montana BGS 10 Sale

I just want to leverage the Montana BGS 10 against some very interesting information that was briefly discussed by Mario in his write up of the recent auction. First off, we know that the Montana was graded at the national convention by an “anonymous” person who didn’t want the publicity of having the only 10 ever graded. As Mario mentioned, this person was long thought to be associated with Beckett, and used that relationship to his advantage in the grading of the card. Sean Storms, the current seller of the card is opening an eBay business that specializes in the inventory that will provide BGS with some very important cards and clients. Add this all together, in addition to the history of one of the douchebaggiest companies known for providing favorable grading treatment to their large customers and friends, and you have a large scale scam that may have cost a buyer $65,000.

First off, lets discuss a little bit about BGS and PSA grading, and the incredibly subjective grading that they put cards through. Mario mentioned that it is so subjective, that collectors have made a practice of cracking holders and resubmitting cards for better grades. Now, I discussed a while ago about PSA offering better average grades for larger orders than it does for customers who use the service once in a blue moon. BGS has been largely accused of the same practice, mainly because they supposedly spend less time on individual pieces from larger orders, and that large volume customers can often be driven away by the lack of good grades. This leads to higher grades on the cards, and only exacerbates the scam.

BGS is a business just like every other part of this hobby, and provides no responsibility to offer expert services to collectors. The only responsibility they have is to making money, which at this point is a major focus for the failing magazine. Basically, if they screw up, they don’t answer to any regulatory body, and many collectors enjoy the extra preferential treatment they get due to the inflated values of the cards. However, most lay people are unaware of the subjectivity and often take BGS and PSA as gospel with their grades. Really, if you examine a BGS 10 with a BGS 9.5 through magnifying glass, there is usually no difference in the card itself. It could be that one grader had a good day, and one had a bad day. Then, factor in the size of the original order, and you have your result.

I am not saying that 10s don’t exist outside of big orders and valuable customers, but most of the time, that’s the way it turns out.

Lets go back to the Montana for a second. Lets say that they get a great looking Montana in at the national, and have a quick conference. The person submitting the grade is a “friend,” and the publicity generated in the hobby from finding the ONLY Montana 10 out there is pretty huge. Plus, if anyone were ever to examine the card, there are no legit ways to prove the difference between a 10 and a much less valuable 9.5. We know that the anonymous grade getter made 25K off his card, the price of a mid ranged car, and as many of us know, money drives this hobby. At this point I am casting every bit of suspicion I have at the evil empire, because they have every reason to use this as a great advertisement for BGS.

It comes down to the fact that all is never what it seems with Beckett, and this will ultimately lead to suspicion of douchebaggery. For those of you out there who still have faith in the magazine that seems to gaff on a daily basis, your day will come. Trust me on that, it always does.

Im So Glad That Beckett Has Taken The Time To Talk About Us…

I was at the mall today waiting for my wife to do her shopping when I stumbled into borders to grab a cup of coffee. While I was enjoying myself, I heard a large chuckle coming from one of the other patrons. I look in his hands and see he is reading the latest issue of Beckett and typing on a computer. Funny enough, he is a student at California State and is writing a paper on the poor effect that price guides are having on hobbies, including looking at Wizard Magazine for comics and Kelly Blue Book for Cars.

I went over and started up a conversation, and he started feeding me lots of economic models about the ill effects that price guides have on collectibles as well as reasons that advertisers make money off the contributions to the mags. When I told him who I was, he recognized my name from the blog. He even said that they made reference to card blogs in the recent issue of Beckett as good, but basically just a fun place to go to talk to other collectors, as long as you still get all the info from the “true” hobby reporters.
As I read what he was referring to, I saw it was a little more drastic. First, in an article from recently laid off David Lee, I saw that he had taken a good five inches to explain how the rumors of the Panini sale were exploited on the blogs before it was considered “confirmed.” He took a classic sports reporter approach and said that blogs were something he “liked,” but should basically be written off as credible news sources due to speculating about events before they are reported on by the big dogs. This is coming from the former editor of a magazine who hasnt published a REAL expectation of card value EVER, and used half the magazine giving a printed blow job to their boyfriends at Panini. Oh, but wait, it gets better!
Later in the magazine, they published “30 reasons to smile” about card collecting. Number 17 was about the blogs, though it was said that some of them could be “cesspools of misinformation” and full of “uneducated ranting.” Really? So its something to “smile” about even though its been “reported” that the 90% of the total blogosphere who bash Beckett like a job are loathed by the evil empire. Im so glad that the blogs are making a mark on a magazine headed for the recycle bin so much that they need to trash us as reporters for the hobby. Yeah, if you are getting your ass fucking kicked by amateurs who do it for free, I would take every chance to discredit them too.
Mike at Borders, thanks for the fun hour we had.

Is Beckett FINALLY Going Under?

Man, if the news I received from John is true, color me fucking elated. He sent me some inside news that said that Beckett had not only gone through MASSIVE layoffs in recent weeks, but that the layoffs will continue very soon. Much like SCD, the magazine’s content will shrink considerably in coming months, mainly due to a lack of money. There is also rumblings among the Beckett employees that the number of publications will drop, as well as circulation, so that the money hemorrhaging from the Beckett accounts may slow as much as possible.

John basically said that he doesnt predict the magazine to be around much longer as readership, subscriptions, and basically everything has hit a massive downturn. Although I feel bad for the innocent employees who will ultimately lose their jobs, I do not have anything but contempt and hatred for the people who have basically destroyed any semblance of ethics that may or may not have been present at the company.

Certain practices at Beckett have already spawned a blog that was started by former employees affected by the layoffs, as well as garnered widespread hatred among the many people who still take stock in the grossly outdated and outclassed magazine. Considering how many ridiculous fucking things they have done over the last year, I am beyond goddamn happy this is so close to happening.

Finally there will be no more sham box breaks of product hand picked and hand delivered by people at the manufacturers to the asshats who open them. No more incoherent prices that are drawn from the pricing hat with no ties to actual value at all. No more cry babies at the Beckett blog who run to their secret lovers at Panini and Topps to give them exclusives so that the blogs wont get more traffic than they do. No more blatant stupidity in the grading service BUSINESS that shows how much of a sham it really is. No more underhanded, unethical, unprofessional actions that damage the expectations of people who dont know any better.

The time to stop the lies is now, and I will be there to piss all over the burnt ashes of a company that deserved to go more than any single entity in the history of the hobby. There are still so many people with the wool pulled so far over their face, that I am continually sickened by them. Maybe, once the sheep have no leader, things will change for the better. However, if Beckett miraculously stays afloat, the hobby will never be free from the evil grasp of the magazine riddled with conflicts of interest.

Plus, after numerous examples of douchebaggery by the hobby media, why would anyone want to further support the people who only care about making money, rather than the responsibility of proving truthful coverage to the collectors out there? You may think its great and wonderful that every product gets nothing but kind words in the shit stained pages of Beckett, but with that kind of crap polluting the minds of people out there, no inspiration for change will ever provoke creativity. I know you feel the creeping boredom of the latest products, please dont take it for the only possible outcome. With people out there who give honest reviews, without worrying about backlash from advertisers, there is no reason to read anything from tainted meatpuppets other than for comedic purposes.

Its your dollars that spark change, so please keep that in mind. I may only reach a few people, nothing in the grand scheme of things, but with word of mouth, I have found that an idea can change more than one would expect.

My Blog Bat Around: Growing Pains

When I first discovered blogging, I was immediately turned on by the fact that I could finally say whatever I wanted, when I wanted. I would no longer have to put up with any 12 year olds on the BMB who disagree just to disagree, and if I wanted to swim against the current I could without a problem. Being an English major in school, I loved to write, especially informal pieces about things I love. What better excursion could there be than blogging about cards?

The problem started out that I had a lot of pent up anger ready to fire at those I was angry at, and not many people willing to listen. I wasn’t experienced at building a site, and the community we have now was relatively small at the time. After the Exquisite fiasco of last year, the subject I wanted to focus on had a springboard and a purpose. The problem was, the perpetrators I chose conflicted with the owner of the place I was going to use to disseminate my site. That was a problem as you could imagine, and I was banned shortly after my site was mentioned on the board.

Much to their chagrin, many people started reading from my presence on the board, some out of hate, others out of support. I finally had an audience, and I was more than happy to preach to their waiting ears. Ill tell you, I had so much fun the first few months doing the blog, I barely cared that my video on youtube had more views than the site. Then, at that time, it was about having fun and if people were pissed, they were pissed. Some times you have to crack the eggs to make an omelette.

As the months started to pass, more people joined the blog community, which led to more people coming to the blog. Mario helped out quite a bit by promoting SCU on the directory he had started, and the sitemeter at the bottom of the page started to grow. You can imagine that more haters also started reading, including some with more hatred than I have for Beckett. They started to make the blog their toilet for comment diarrhea, but most of the time SCU wsa for like minded people to myself.

Somewhere around that time, internet views of the media evil empire started to change, as more people came on board with SCU, which made me take on a new purpose for blogging too. Instead of doing it to have fun, my purpose became to discredit, defame, and change the mindset away from previous paradigms that had plagued the hobby. I wanted to change people’s mind, and I was going to have fun doing it. I, in fact, did have a blast sticking it to the ‘man’ and even acquired some interesting visitors in the process. Top dogs from UD, Donruss, and other companies started to read the blog, including many of the people I despised at Teenage Sports Card Life and Love Magazine. To know that there were people listening, though few, was exhilerating, and I continued my quest to be at the forefront of their mind when planning for the future.

This continued, as well as my love for blogging, well past the 100,000 visitor and 1 year anniversary of the site, up until Tuesday of this week. Im going to elaborate in case you are not in the know. On Monday, I was approved for Media access to the NFL rookie premiere at the LA Coliseum, making it my best day as a blogger, ever. Finally, I had made enough progress to be able to move past my humble beginnings as an outlet from a heavily censored message board to an actual hobby media member. My success was short lived as less than 24 hours later, my credentials were revoked in a blanket decision to not allow bloggers and media members like me. I immediately got on the horn and started finding out why things had done a complete 180, but didn’t get very far. The NFL could not comment on who had made the decision, but reps at NFL Players there made my assumptions rise that someone had requested this be the case. I talked to a few industry people close to the event, and all of them had said that this type of revokation had NEVER happened before. They also hinted to me that there was more that was going on – typical. When I talked to my main source, whom I have never spoken about on this blog, they mentioned that there were people in the industry who had made it clear to the NFL that I was not to be allowed at the event. Apparently, this was done on behalf of people who disliked my mission in life, and that they had made a mistake blabbing about it to sympathic industry people to their interests. I wanted to find out who, but it was pretty clear that it could be a number of people, with two at the top of the list.

So, instead of going to the event with the intent of providing coverage for you guys, I am now sitting at home this Saturday because certain people in this hobby function like the cast of Mean Girls. If you think that I regret my past trangressions against the brass of the hobby, you are completely wrong. I would never trade my stances for access to an event. Nor do I regret anything. I would do it all the same.

To answer the question of why do I blog, the answer is simple. Its part of who I am.

Beckett: #1 Authority On Getting Laid

So, I get an email from Hitter yesterday informing me that the wonderful people at Beckett have added “relationship councelors” to their list of epic fails. For some reason, they feel arrogant enough to assume the role of relationship psychologist for the cardboard community, as if they hadnt already done enough damage to the hobby we love. 

See, its about target audience, and holy fucking fuck has Beckett screwed the pooch on this. I mean, Gamepro doesnt go and write about Chanel perfume on their shit, do they? They know its fucking stupid and people will laugh their ass off as much as I did when I saw this shit.
I am going to assume that they were sitting around a conference table, wondering where to go next. Here is how it went:
Beckett Lackey #1: Well, our Beckett Obama price guide is hitting shelves in a few weeks, so be sure to add that we are the number one authority on Presidential Collectibles to the website.
Beckett Lackey #2: Are we the number one authority? 
Beckett Lackey #1: Well, we are the only ones ever to put out a magazine about this stupid shit, so that automatically makes us number 1. How dare you question me!
Beckett Lackey #2: So, because we publish a magazine on it, we are supposed to be the best? 
Beckett Lackey #1: YES! YOURE FIRED, NOW LEAVE.
Beckett Lackey #3: Since we are already the number 1 authority on collectibles, presedential stuff, video games, yugi-oh! cards, pokemon, and now blogging with Chris Olds, where do we go next? We are still losing readers by the minute…
Beckett Lackey #1: Well, hmm, im not sure. Ha, I have an idea! ***giggles*** Since all the collectors are nerds and have no lives, lets give them relationship advice! ***giggles***
Hackler: You just became the number one authority on ideas, my friend. Congratulations! RUN IT.
Chris Olds: (shouting from down the hall) Did someone say they want a relationship? I want one!
Hackler: Holy shit, what a creepy piece of shit he is. The number one authority on being sexually inexperienced.
Beckett Lackey #1: I know a gal we can drug to bring in here to do this for us. She is like, so hot. I think she would be great.
Chris Olds: (shouting) Did someone say that there are girls coming? ***runs in naked*** ME FIRST!
Beckett Lackey #1: ***barfs***
Beckett Lackey #2: ***barfs***
Hackler: ***Licks his lips***
Beckett Lackey #1: Dude, run that shit, its going to blow the other blogs out of the water, we are fucking geniuses!
Beckett Lackey #2: its going to blow alright.
Hackler: I thought you were fired.
Beckett Lackey #2: Im the #1 authority on being a douche. 
Hackler: Sorry man, already mine.