I think we have finally found a way that an exclusive license can be good. 2010 Bowman is the most hyped set since 2009 Ultimate Collection Baseball, and prices have been above ridiculous – getting ridiculous(er). One of the main reasons is because 2010 Bowman will be one of the only baseball sets released between now and September, and because the set has always been so widely collected. Because of the exclusive license, secondary market card prices have been higher than expected, as there is no hype building around any other product release. There just arent any other products out there to look at, so people are buying into this one full steam.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a great prospect class, as well as great rookies to drive the product, but that is only a slice of the pie. Really, Topps has shown that the cards they put out on the low end of things are going to be as good as they have ever been, despite not having anyone to compete with. At the same time, we are still getting a pretty good idea of why the exclusive continues to suck absolute donkey balls, as Triple Threads looks as boring and uninspired as ever. However, with Topps Chrome and Bowman Chrome on the horizon, both looking to contain on card autographs from Stephen Strasburg and Jason Heyward, low end Topps may be the reason why collectors will forget that an exclusive even exists.
Personally, I hate exclusives all around, and I definitely believe that 2010 Bowman would have been as good as it is regardless of whether there were competing products. However, I feel a little better knowing that Topps did not take their foot off the gas for their staple sets. They easily could have avoided putting Strasburg in this set, or giving Heyward his third chrome card, but they still went after the jugular in trying to give fans what they want.
I also hope their gusto transfers into their football sets this year, as we are going to be getting a healthy dose of everything baseball. Topps Chrome, one of my favorite sets of the year, is back, and I hope that they give it as good of a treatment as they look to be giving everything else in their low end portfolio. Yet, I cant help but feel cheated, as they have done nothing but prove that they can only build on the existing rather than create new stuff. Last year’s calendar from Topps was filled with low end greatness and shitty attempts at producting higher end popularity. I sincerely hope that they take some notes from past successes and transfer them to a better idea for a new set. Hell, Platinum could be the equivalent of Topps Chrome and SPA’s love child if they did it right, and I am crossing my fingers that it turns out that way. Last year it wasnt. Mayo could be the football version of Allen and Ginter, like it was designed to be, but for some reason they just cant get the same sort of awesomeness packed into the product. Maybe this year will be different.
In all seriousness, I am extremely happy that 2010 Bowman did as well as it did despite a baseball exclusive. It shows that maybe there is still some hope for the industry side of a hobby that is focused on what is coming next.