Today, the baseball season begins anew! All the teams are in first place, and all the players start again from scratch.
Last year was a good year for potential in Baseball Cards, and this year does not look like it is going to disappoint. There are a few storylines that I am going to be following, especially considering that there are a few opportunities for collectors to capitalize on.
Upper Deck’s MLBPA License
At the industry summit last month, Upper Deck announced that they would be putting together a grouping of products under their new license with the MLBPA. Like Panini, they will not have the ability to use MLB logos, but they can use the player’s likenesses. The first product has been announced as Fleer Retro Baseball, which we just learned will be all sorts of past inserts and cards to really complete the throwback. Upper Deck was responsible for some of my favorite baseball products of all time, and I think this should be a welcome addition for most collectors out there.
Topps’ MLBP Exclusive
The long term deal was both good and bad in the minds of a lot of people, and I know that there are a lot of collectors out there looking to see how Topps will respond. Topps Manager Mark Sapir put it best, when he said that a long term deal would allow them to invest more in the brand, without losing faith that the license wont be there if they do. I guess we will get to see that coming up. Hopefully Topps can continue to produce high quality products, as I know there are some people who lack faith in their ability to continue to the tradition of Baseball cards. Personally, I refuse to support any exclusives in anything (players, leagues, brands, etc), and I hope that the competition from UD and Panini will make Topps better in the end.
Bryce Harper and Mike Trout’s Sophomore Campaign
When it comes to young players, its Trout, Harper, then everyone else. These guys have a lot to prove, in that their initial campaigns were not a fluke, and collectors will be watching closely. Both are on contending teams, and both have a shot at making it all the way, especially now that both lineups have improved so dramatically. Harper has been a huge name since he was in high school, and Trout made us all go nuts when he made the historic run I talked about yesterday. This should be fun to watch the fireworks.
Cards are already on the rise in anticipation:
Stephen Strasburg and Pitching a FULL Season
Everyone was shocked when Stras was shut down for the post season, likely being a main contributing factor in Washington coming up short. He should be good to go for a full year this year, and I am eager to see what happens. As mentioned above, Strasburg is on a contending team as their ace, and is the odds on favorite for the Cy Young this year. Panini recently announced that he would be signing for their upcoming releases under their USA and MLBPA licenses, so that should be pretty interesting considering how much his cards are selling for.
Josh Hamilton on the Angels
There was no bigger free agent this year than Josh Hamilton, who ended up signing a ridiculous deal with the Angels. He has a lot to prove, not only in that he can stay on the wagon, but that his stupid injuries regarding his “sight” dont resurface. Over the years, collectors have been EXTREMELY conscious of this fact, which may be why Hamilton’s cards arent worth more. LA is a crazy place, and I am not sure how good it is for a guy like him to be immersed. That being said, having Trout, Pujols, Hamilton and Trumbo in the same lineup is as scary as the Yankees ever were.
This is going to be a wild ride, and I expect nothing less than excitement for the first time in a long time. Its going to be up to us to keep our heads on a swivel and not get caught up the way I think we are prone to. Remember, these first few weeks are a VERY small sample size in a LOOOOOONG season, so dont go nuts.