The Strasburg Superfractor Has Beckett Written All Over It

Because its so rare that I get worked up over something that happens in the hobby, I think its only natural that I comment on the recent sale of the Strasburg superfractor to Razor entertainment for a little over $21,000. This card sure has generated a lot of press, including national media outlets, and when I read about the sale on Blowout, I became awfully frustrated with the guy who paid the original ridiculous price for a ridiculous card. Of course, my frustration with Beckett followed suit, as well.

When Power, an accountant, purchased the Superfractor for 16,000 dollars, there was so much shock in the sale that a lot of us were questioning the motives of a guy who had just come back to the hobby. It didn’t look like he knew anything about the card, and really didn’t even look like he knew anything about cards in general. Then, after a high(er) profile interview on ESPN, he relisted the card, much to the dismay of all the collectors who originally supported him (and those who didn’t). The card sold again for much more than he originally paid for it, but much like everyone expected, the sale did not go through. The card was eventually sold to Brian Grey and Razor for around 21K to be used in an upcoming product as the holy grail.

Beckett, in all their infinite wisdom, decided it was worth their time to check in again with Power, this time to find out why he gave up on his investment so quickly. Personally, I could have told you the reason in one sentence, but they decided it was worth about 20 pages. Its pretty obvious to me that even Power understood that keeping a card like that was not going to be worth his time, thanks to the extreme popularity and potential surrounding Stras’ first few starts, and decided to get his money back plus some. However, Beckett thought that it needed more than a simple explanation, and showed just what the hobby can do to a new collector. The problem with that is not what Power experienced as a person who bought one of the most high profile cards on the planet, its what Beckett brought to his door, and that’s what I feel bears discussion.

First off, Power sites negativity as a main reason for his resale of the card. To that I want to call shenanigans, and offer this commentary. I mean, I just don’t understand what he expected to happen. Did he think that hundreds of people were going to praise him for choosing a baseball card over a new Honda Accord or something like that? With fame comes haters, and those haters have nothing better to do than try to make you feel like you are a douche. Haters are only successful if they get to you, which is why just about every person who has a hater posse just ignores them. I don’t even read comments from my hater posse anymore, I actually have a special spam folder set up for them. What is the point?

Secondly, why would you complain about how many messages you get when you are the one who gave that initial interview? Power easily could have remained in the dark, keeping the card he “had to have.” Instead he went on the main hobby news source, ESPN, and just about every other place to talk about his buy. If that isnt asking, scratch that, BEGGING for attention, I don’t know what is. My favorite part of this is that Beckett seems to take an omniscent narrator stance on this whole thing, like they had nothing to do with the negativity surrounding the card. If anything, I would say they are responsible for most of it. They presented Power like he was some sort of folk hero, and then did even more damage by giving the card the grade they did. In fact, I would say most of the negativity, at least now, surrounds Beckett’s biased grade of the card rather than Power himself. Maybe he needs to talk to them about the bad press rather than whining about how negativity spoiled his hobby rebirth.

All of that is just par for the course for Beckett, and I guess that Power really doesn’t have the hobby experience to know that. Five years ago, maybe this would have been a much different situation, but Beckett has done so much over that period of time to soil their reputation, that its become more commonplace to hate Beckett than side with them now. I remember when I first discovered online collecting and how many people loved each and every box break that Beckett did. These days, that’s not even close to the case, and I still laugh when people snark at a big pull with “those boxes were meant for Beckett.”

Hell, just writing this post has made it tough to avoid another huge rant on the grading business or Beckett in general, and I think that is just a testament to the polarization that Beckett propagates in this hobby. You either are or you arent, and its really too bad that Power didn’t have the forsight to realize that the Beckett “aren’ts” and fame stalkers wouldn’t let him have a pass. I guess that’s what you get with 15 minutes of fame, and for our friends in Texas to take a “hands washed” stance on it like they did is completely stupid. Nice job again Beckett. Even nicer job Mr. Power.

Allen & Ginter Adds High End To Its Impressive Resume

Allen and Ginter is a set collector’s dream, or nightmare depending on how you look at it. The cards are designed to have maximum collectability and most of the set isnt even baseball players. Its one of the most popular sets of the year, and Topps collectors wait all year for the opportunity to break it and put the set together.

Well, there is a new aspect to the set this year, and I am not sure how I feel about it. Booklet cards have infested the product for 2010, and my hatred for booklet cards in general make me want to completely bash every aspect of these ones. Ever since the satanic abominations that made their debut in 2007 Triple Threads, my all time favorite set, booklets have penetrated every thing. 2009 Exquisite football, Exquisite Basketball, almost every Topps product that they could fit them into, and even ridiculous TRI-fold cards in Triple Craps. Despite my hatred, for some reason, these look okay for once. It could be the white border, the lack of neon blue foil board, or the painted aspects of the cards, but I don’t hate these cards.

They are going for ridiculous money, and a few have started to show up on eBay. Obviously, the focus of the set is far from cards like this, but I have a feeling that with the inclusion of the Strasburg autos and minis, A&G is heading towards high end pulls for 2010. Cuts have always been an extremely rare part of the set, but rarely become the chase. These are surely to fall into that category, and I expect them to continue to be worth massive cheese for a long time.

Speaking of higher end pulls, the booklets arent the only part of the equation. I just saw that Ginter also has cards like this, and like this which take ridiculous to a whole new level. I cant even begin to imagine how much these will go for, but they are beyond words. I may have to keep an eye out to see if any Twins are on the checklist for these type of cabinet cards.

Who knows, maybe there are even parts we have yet to see.

First Strasburg Ginter Auto is Up

Let the bidding wars begin! The first Strasburg auto from 2010 Allen and Ginter is up on eBay and it is ALREADY at a ridiculous price. With the perceived rarity probably matching the actual rarity now, this card may top 3K or higher, depending on the willingness of bad bidders to let it run.

This card should be one of Strasburg’s rarest base autographs, if information from certain case breakers holds true for the whole print run. With the minis expected to top 1000 at first shot, it may mean that the prices of these redemptions may never drop to a reasonable level – even if Strasburg comes down to earth. With A&G being a set collector’s goal every single year, its not long before the set collectors file in behind the mentally challenged prospectors who still think they can make money on him.

I have never been a Ginter fan, mainly because I have never cared about set collecting, but I can see where people freaking go ape shit over it. We are in the midst of the biggest year of baseball cards in the last few decades, and its only going to get crazier once sets like Bowman Chrome hit shelves.

Prepare yourselves…

Strasburg Eerily Absent From Recent Ginter Box Breaks

Do you remember back a few weeks ago when Topps advised that every product will bring Strasmus tidings to all the good young collectors who bought the boxes and packs? I do, and I then remember when the people who usually buy a ton, bought that much more as a result. Well, as we are slowly finding out, promises of Strasburg in Allen and Ginter may have been quite highly exaggerated.

So far, there are a lot of early reports that cases have not only gone Strasburg-less – but also have been missing case hits themselves as well. This is even more evident when people who buy huge amounts of products are reporting box after box, case after case, filled with everything but a whiff of a Strasburg.

Considering that the price of this product has been driven very high by promises of the Nationals’ Fireballer, there are going to be a lot of unhappy set collectors who are now left with boxes worth a lot less than they paid for them.

Im sure Topps will release an explanation through the usual channels, Ill post updates as soon as I have them.

Steven Strasburg: WTF?!?!? Edition

Am I missing something? No, seriously, am I really seeing what I think I am seeing? A card, available in regular packs at no real lack of distribution, is going for how much? I would understand if it were autographed, or if it were ridiculously SPed, but this is what seems to be a normal mini that you can probably get in retail packs for fuck’s sake!

When you see that the autographed version of his 2010 Bowman card can be had for around $650, why in god’s name would anyone in their right mind pay THIS much for a normal and not rare card? Most of the Allen & Ginter minis are rar-ER pulls than a base card, and I get that Stras wont have a base card, but this much? Cmon, we have reached a level beyond insanity.
I can only imagine what the first auto is going to go for, even though its a redemption. I would guess the first one will easily top 2K, and settle in around 1,000 for the first month. After that, I would guess that the Bowman auto and the rest of the autos should equal out to be around the same price when all is said and done. Its still beyond stupid though.
I do continue to think people should be committed for buying at these prices, as its obvious that Washington isnt going to be the next Philadelphia in the National League. Not to mention that Tim Lincecum, a 2 time, 2 time, cy young winner has autos that can be had for close to nothing compared to the ridiculous prices that Strasburg is going for.
Its actually rare that I am befuddled by something that happens in this hobby, I mean truly and utterly befuddled. Even though I dont think that anyone should ever pay any attention to anything with a Triple Threads logo on it, I at least get why some people (who must have vision problems, I guess) like to collect the cards. People who pay what they are paying for boxes of Bowman and anything with Stras’ picture on the front is literally something I cannot understand.
UPDATE: Ebay has pulled these auctions.