Getting Aboard The Strasburg Hype Train Will Needlessly Drain Your Bank Account

If you missed Stephen Strasburg’s debut, you may have been one of the only people in the sports world to do so. The hype behind yesterday’s game was so ridiculous that it spilled over into almost every aspect of sports coverage. Not only was MLB network broadcasting the game, but ESPN was giving live updates, and websites were doing trackers. In the hobby, it was similar, as Topps declared it Stephen Strasburg day, offering contests and giveaways related to his debut.

Aside from the massive amounts of coverage, many collectors were waiting on pins and needles to see if their investments were going to pay off, at least temporarily. Even though Strasburg was pitching against the worst team in baseball, he did have a pretty amazing performance with 14 Ks. Pittsburgh has won at least a few games, and the Nationals are almost as terrible. There was actually a good chance that he could pitch one run baseball and end up with the loss (not that record should have anything to do with it). I think people were just hoping that he wouldn’t screw the pooch too badly and get roughed up. I don’t believe anyone was expecting what actually happened though.

Over the last week, his values have gone from ridiculous to insane. I mean, for pitching in a collecting black hole, his cards were already AS expensive as Lincecum, a pitcher who has already done it all for a better team. Then, post-call up, his values went so high that I am continually surprised how much people are willing to pay for cards that have already hit their ceiling. Then when you consider that Strasburg will have his first Chrome auto coming later this year, and people are still paying what they are for the base bowman cards, I start to question the general intelligence of the hobby more so than I already do.

Check out some of these recent sales, and then tell me that the people who are buying these cards are looking at this the right way.

Base Bowman Chrome (NO AUTO) – This is a BASE card. A. BASE. CARD. I cant even explain this. I got mine for 17 dollars only because I had 13 ebay bucks. Now I may have to sell.

Bowman Orange Auto /25 – Cmon. Really? Wow. This is a nice card, sure, but for THAT much? Good lord.

Bowman Orange Auto /25 See previous explanation, then add some shock.

Bowman Base Auto – When was the last time you saw a prospect auto go for this much – even some of the higher number parallels? There cant be THAT many Nationals fans out there that would pay that much for a card with no upside.

Bowman Blue Auto /250 – Paying this much money for a card numbered THAT high is terrible. I really don’t get it, even more so when you see that he will be in EVERY product this year.

Bowman Base Auto BGS 9.5 – Double the price for a 9.5? Since when? It would be one thing if these cards were like the Chrome versions that had a lot of condition problems, I don’t think these had that kind of issue. Seriously though, there is never a reason to pay a 100% premium on a graded card, let alone one that is only a 9.5 and not a 10. What a scam.

Bowman Base Auto – This one broke five hundred? Im going to laugh at this one in a year or two I believe. Some Pujols first year autos don’t go for this much. PUJOLS. ALBERT EFFING PUJOLS.

Again, prospecting is prospecting, but buying at the extreme peak of a players values isnt even worth it for his biggest fans. Washington is a terrible team in a terrible sports city, and people are acting like he is a New York Yankee. His values CANNOT hold, so why waste your money and pay 40% more than you should. Its ridiculousness at its finest.

EDIT: The first Strasburg MCG giveaway card has 55 bids on it. I will laugh if the card from Topps U&H has no differences and is completely indistinguishable. (Thanks to dayf for letting me know that U&H is numbered differently. Everyone will need to spend a ton now to truly complete the base set. Nice job there.)

Can We Stop With The Less Products Equals More Argument?

I hate when news like the Topps axing comes around, not just because of the actual news itself, but of all the stupidity that starts flooding the internet like a biblical storm. Whether its people giving their good riddance to whatever went down, or people conjecturing about how the hobby sky is falling, its annoying all the way around. In fact, the net gets so polluted with ridiculous comments, that you cant escape it.

First, we need to stop with the whole “where are the children!?!” type of bullshit. Im sick of hearing that things are going south because kids arent around anymore. Fuck that. As I have said before, kids are not the primary focus of this hobby, nor should they be. Ever since the 90s, when investment crazed adults made this industry what it is now, kids have been out. That means the boom and the decline all rest on the shoulders of grown adults, not children. Ask any of the manufacturers who their biggest customers are, kids or adults. Ask them who they market to, kids or adults. Find out why a child hasnt been featured on any of those UD posters for SPX or whatever. Its because KIDS DONT FUCKING MATTER. From what I have gathered in talking with different people, kids who still remain in this hobby function like the adults that drive the market anyways, so dont shove that argument down my throat unless you want me to ignore you.
Secondly, less does not equal more. Yes, I get it. You want to go back to 4 products a year so you can get every card, but that isnt going to happen. Companies cannot survive on a few products, nor would having less products, in any understanding of the concept, be a good thing for anyone. Having variety in our lives is the reason why collecting is fun, as it gives you choice on how to mold your collection. It also gives you a chase element which keeps you coming back for more. If there were only 1 or 2 products per company, people would have what they needed so fast that it would be boring to wait for the next product. In addition, there wouldnt be any way to account for the massive amounts of mid year happenings in card form, an aspect most collectors love. Also, if one of those few products sucked, it would fucking blow to have to lose out on it because it was a badly conceptualized set.
Third, the hobby is fine, and the industry is not in any immediate danger, so shut the fuck up with your worrying. I dont need to be bombarded with people telling me that cards are done because Topps lost football. Cards are not done, the industry is adapting to lower sales, and people will collect until the apocalypse. The sooner that the idiots realize this fact, the better. In all honesty, there really is no solution to any of the problems affecting card sales until the economy fully rebounds. At that point, things will return to a different shade of normal, and we can all go back to our happy go lucky Beckett world without the fear of Armageddon.
Lastly, I dont think this part of the industry’s nose job was the fault of the companies themselves, despite the chatter. NFL Players Inc sure lives in a wierd bubble, and I dont think they really get what they just did. Plus, with Topps getting their exclusive baseball license, I dont think they really care about losing football the way we think they do. Baseball is the biggest yard on the street, and they are now the only real, whole dog in the yard. Everyone else is a cat or dog with three legs. That counts for more than anyone could imagine.
So, in other words, it sucks that Topps and their history is gone, but shut up with the stupid noise about everything else.

People Are Just Stupid

I was looking around on eBay when I saw a situation that just screamed EPIC FAIL.


I have been keeping tabs on these fake autographs, and I am actually convinced that the scam ones actually outnumber the real ones now. Either way, when you see one that is actually real posted in between the horrible fakes, with the fakes having more than 15 bids each, I laugh. There are actually that many people who think these cards are real. Considering that the autos on these cards look ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like any other auto any of the players have ever signed, I am curious as to how stupid you actually have to be to spend hundreds of dollars on one.

Maybe its the same people that buy these:

A Result Of Collective Stupidity

One of the more awesome trends in the industry is that regular cards can have amazing patches. What this means is that you dont need to face astronomical retail type odds to get a team logo or something amazing in terms of a patch. This also means that products like Triple Threads, and other products that rely on contrived scarcity to bolster value, no longer can justify the fact that 1/1s are special in any way from the rest of the product. Right now, more than a giant handful of Topps 1/1 cards are either printing plates or paralleled cards that share nothing more than a different finish on the stock.

Of course, this has led to a major devaluing of the 1/1s, because they arent worth the chase anymore. I can get a Topps Sterling 1/1 and have it look WORSE than the card out of ten. Shouldn’t we just let the cards showcase what makes them special instead of forcing me to stomach a whole product’s worth of cards numbered to 3, even though its really something like 103?

A while ago I said that they should get rid of inserting the print plates into packs, as they are worthless, fugly pieces of scrap metal that are marketed as a chase for people who dont know any better. Im saying now that we should abolish the non-special 1/1s for all non-chrome products. If they want to put a logo on a card and number it 1/1, be my guest, but if they are just going to say the card is arbitrarily a 1/1 because of a different color on the card, a different die cut swatch, or even if there is NOTHING different, I wont support it.

Parallels are ridiculous in this hobby and I think that Topps high end and Donini mid and low end are the worst possible offenders. Donini parallels each SUBSET card at least fifteen times, you have the regular, numbered parallel, jersey parallel, second lower numbered parallel, auto parallel, etc, etc. That sucks, there is no reason to do this at all, other than accounting for laziness in filling the needs of a product.

Im now a supporter of letting the card’s features speak for themselves. If you get a great looking card with a ridiculous patch, it should be worth more because of that, not because its numbered to 7 or whatever. If you get an auto’ed version of a card rather than a regular one, that should be the reason that its worth more, not because its red rather than green.

Its become apparent that this hobby has thrived on greed and ego for many, many years. Someone needs to feel good that they have the ONLY ONE of that one card, someone has to know EXACTLY how many of a said card there are, they need to be the biggest shit out there. No longer are we focused on buying the cards we like or the cards that make us happy, we have to have the most of the rare, the most of the special, and we need parallels to tell us that we do. That is crap.

This fact has allowed the manufacturers to exploit our need to feel special by numbering things lower and lower, yet in reality just letting design quality slip so that the number on the card is the only thing we care about. Look at Upper Deck SP Authentic Baseball, there is so much confusion over the numbering on the letters, that people have literally freaked out. Upper Deck makes it worse by numbering each letter rather than the total number of autos to make the cards seem rarer, and we eat it up. Is your signed G numbered to 5 different than my signed G numbered to 25? NO! Its the same fucking card with lower numbering.

Ill give you this, the collective stupidity of the normal people in this hobby will prevent any semblance of a different hobby from ever surfacing. Collectors are generally so fucking stupid, that companies are even forced use numbering as a way to deter fakes. How absurd is that? People cannot survive in this industry without it BLATANTLY spelled out for them, no one is capable of thinking for themselves. This is why jersey cards have become so overdone, and why parallels are everywhere, because the idiots shit themselves with anticipation over whatever is the latest marketing ploy. It would be one thing if they were clever, but really these ploys are always mind numbingly stale.

It may be a problem in every industry, mainly because Americans are intrinsically stupid, but I get the aura of simpletons more from sports cards than from any other consumer group I follow.

Beckett and Donini: As If There Was Any Question Anymore

Thank you to reader Greg for sending this in care of the Beckett idiots.

I am not going to plug anything for them, but I want to point out a few things that are very VERY important to collectors who question any relationship between Panini and Beckett. Its getting to the point now where they are sharing lollipops and walking around with their hands in each other’s back pockets. Im really hoping that people respond as wretchedly as I did.

For their upcoming “Screw The Hobby and The Collectors” event:

You can …
– Meet James Spence, the JSA staff, Beckett Media and Panini representatives.
SCU: So, now Beckett and Panini are doing events together? Sickening.

– Increase the value of your memorabilia by assuring its authenticity.
SCU: Third party authentication does not “assure authenticity,” especially when it is done on site.

– Have your items authenticated and appraised by the best in the industry.
SCU: PSA has better authentication than JSA if you HAVE to do it. I don’t even need to point that out, everyone knows. As for the appraisal, I have no idea why people would have confidence in any appraisal from someone that values cards the way Beckett does.

– Get on-site encapsulation and grading performed by Beckett Grading Services and receive your item back the same day submitted.
SCU: Another scam, perpetrated by people who only want your money. Fuck, they NEED your money.

– Attend free seminars and Q&A sessions from BGS, JSA, and Panini representatives.
SCU: I would pay someone to go and ask why Beckett thinks it’s not a conflict of interest to partner with a company whose value and sales are helped/hurt by the price guide.

– Win free stuff from Panini and Beckett Media.
SCU: Swag is good enough reason to go and perform the above request.

– Participate in a Card Grading Contest. How accurately can you grade
under BGS/BVG standards?
SCU: Im guessing since its all arbitrary and subjective, you can be AS GOOD as the “professionals!”

– Meet Beckett Select Auction staff for free evaluation of your high-end sports collectibles.
SCU: See above with the appraisals. “So, my Marty Cordova authenticated JSA jersey is worth 400 bucks according to you? Awesome, now find me a buyer at that price.”

Please, please, please, someone in texas please go to this event to fuck shit up. I would laugh hysterically and offer you plugs galore for whatever you want. I don’t think there could be a better event for SCU readers, especially with all the wonderful appraisals they will give you. Hell, go get your card graded by the “best in the business.” Hahahaha.