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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

My Turn: Things You Like, But I Don't

Okay, so yesterday I wrote about things I like but many people don't when it comes to collecting. I guess I should flip it and tell you about the original idea. And since yesterday's post was inspired by Fuji, here's his post on the original idea.

Here are some parts of collecting cards that most people like, but I don't.
Graded cards. The cases are bulky. I only have a few graded cards, so they don't file away nicely. Grading is expensive and there are several scandals related to the industry. I don't reject graded cards, but I won't pay a premium for a high grade, and I'll choose a non-graded card over a graded card at the same price in many circumstances.
Prospecting/investing. I've been around long enough to know that most rookies just don't pan out. That's just how it works; if every player was a superstar, nobody would be a superstar. But it takes a lot of study to successfully invest, not to mention money and the inherent risk. I have better things to do.
Busting packs and boxes. Okay, I like the thrill of the chase. But it rarely pays off in the end. When I was a kid, a 50-cent pack of Topps meant at least 50 cents in value. A $2 pack of Topps today doesn't have $2 in value; there are fewer cards that are still usually worth only a dime each. And then you have mid-tier sets like Gypsy Queen, which ups the cost per card with only a slightly-larger chance of getting a big hit. If I was making twice the money I am now, I might open some boxes, but for now, I'll stick with lower-priced methods.
Online products. Yesterday, I mentioned that I like online singles resources, like COMC and Sportlots. But Topps has been issuing a lot of online cards that cost a lot more than they should, if you ask me. A typical card with a print run of 500-1000 might sell for a dollar or two, but online exclusives tend to run double, triple, or more. In fact, online singles (Project 2020, for instance) cost $10 each, despite very high print runs. I love a lot of the designs, but they are extremely overpriced.
Building big sets. Like Fuji, I find it much easier to just go on eBay and pick up a full base set and some insert sets. There are other sets that require putting together one by one, but with so much else on my collecting plate, it's not like I'm not being challenged as it is.
Box breaks online. If I was getting cards out of the deal, that'd be great. And if I'm at a shop, I enjoy watching other customers open packs. But box break videos are boring. There's no amount of overacting you can do to make it more fun for me. Maybe if someone like Emma Watson was opening the packs? Maybe not even in that case.
Parallels. In the 1990s, there were sets with one or two parallels. Now, we talk about collecting rainbows. It has really gotten out of hand. Panini in general is very bad about this. Topps has their fair share, though; inserts have parallels, plus relic parallels, autograph parallels, and autograph relic parallels, and then all the variations. There are just way too many sets out there. Mike Trout had over 2500 cards issued last year according to Beckett's database. A little over 150 were from main sets, and over 1700 were parallels or parallel inserts (the remaining 650 are inserts). 
Attitude. These days, the field is full of bat-tossing, helmet slamming jerks. I see tons of clips of players arguing with umpires, fighting, and trash-talking. It's a product of today's society, I know. Baseball isn't hockey, though. Whatever happened to tact? (You know you're getting old when you start a sentence with "Whatever happened to...".)

Look, you probably like some of these things. Or all of them. I'm cool with that. But don't expect to convince me to change my mind.


  1. I'm pretty much with you on all of these although I like the Epoch One on-line cards and I appreciate a good bat flip.

    1. Epoch One isn't as bad, since they're only $5 with shipping each, and some of them have print runs in the teens! In fact, I'm guessing that Mint is the only one buying some of those cards.

      Bat flips... there are times they're appropriate. And then there are stupid ones. Too many stupid ones.

  2. I agree with you on everything. Rather than being a heretic I wonder if you're really preaching to the choir.

    1. The things is this: I've been reading posts on Reddit, and boy do those people love their big hits and PSA submissions. I think bloggers are generally a different breed, or at least the people who are interested in reading this blog.

      I didn't add to this post, though: binders and team collecting. Binders just take up so much space and cards can get warped (proper storage is easier in boxes), and I'm attached to too many teams to collect them and I have set collections anyway.

  3. I agree on everything except for building big sets, which I view as a fun challenge.

    If I ever did a post like this though, everything else you wrote would probably be on it (especially the parallels, graded cards and investing).

    1. Big sets are a fun challenge, when you're doing something like older Calbee sets, or building modern sets from appropriately priced card lots. I did 1993 BBM from lots, and 2001 from a couple boxes. I'm building a few more sets too (one card away from 2004 Calbee!). But I can't justify paying $80 for a box of 2020 Donruss only to get half the set - $160 will get me the base set with over $100 left over for other projects.

  4. a. graded cards = like

    b1. prospecting = don't like
    b2. investing = kinda like (even though i don't sell... i like finding a good deal)

    c. busting packs/boxes = mixed feelings. i agree 100% on the return value, but it can be entertaining

    d. online products - don't like (although i'm tempted to buy this stupid gwynn they have)

    e. building big sets - don't like (like you said... ebay is the way we roll)

    f. box breaks online - like (that's how i get my fix. it's also how i talk myself out of buying a box)

    g. parallels - depends (not a fan of the excessive parallels they have right now, but back in the day i liked refractors and framed parallels)

    h. attitude - like (i mean... as long as it's not disrespectful)

    1. Finding good deals is different. I never look at it as an investment. Definitely, opening a box is a lot of fun.

      I liked getting parallels in the past, and there are some cool ones. There are just so many! And I think emotion is different from attitude and emotion is good. In my mind, Carlton Fisk, Clayton Kershaw have emotion; Machado, Harper, Bautista and Puig have attitude.

      Do you have a favorite online breaker?