Friday, May 30, 2008

Gimmicking away Topps' credibility, one card at a time.

Alex Gordon.

Alay Soler.

Derek Jeter (and friends).

Jacoby Ellsbury.

Poley Walnuts.

Kazuo Uzuki.

"Jon" Smoltz.

The Rip Master.

You can now add the name of Kosuke Fukudome to the list of Topps' bullshit gimmick cards.

There is NO, repeat, NO Kosuke Fukudome rookie card in Topps series two. Instead there's this...

... a gimmicked short-print.


More info as it develops.


cdorso said...

Or perhaps you'd prefer the Arnold Schwarzenegger "2012?" SP? (Search 2008 topps arnold on eBay.)

A bunch of freaking morons. I'm done with you, Topps.

Anonymous said...

Lighten up guys. Its all in good fun and get people talking about cards. If you don't like the gimmick cards give them away to someone who might like them.

dayf said...

You can't give away what you can't pull. Some of us actually *like* building sets. Topps is supposed to be one of the few affordable completable sets out there. When you throw in super short prints like this it makes the set UNcompletable unless you're a high roller. See: 2006 Topps. There are maybe a hundred or so sets even POSSIBLE thanks to the Alex Gordon cock-up and one jerk hoarded about a quarter of those. Forget about the fact that disreputable dealers will now use this as an excuse to jack up pack prices 50 cents or more a pack. It's a cynical, calculated effort to artificially inflate the price of this stuff in the short term when everyone bloody well knows that in a years time, there will be discounted boxes everywhere that won't budge off the shelves. THAT'S why we're pissed about this.

Anonymous said...

It's an unnumbered card--you don't need it for the set. Why get so worked up about it?

Also, dayf, why is it considered hoarding for Keith Olberman to buy 1/4 of the Alex Gordon cards? (I bet at most he had 1%, by the way. 5 have sold on eBay in the last to weeks. There are thousands out there, not 100.) Anyway, what about the free market doesn't allow him to make a bad investment like that? (He paid over $1,000. They are now selling for about $600 ot $700.)

Chris Harris said...

Anonymous: Gimmicks may get "people talking about cards," but at what cost? What are you supposed to say to Joe Cub Fan who just bought a waxbox of Topps two hoping to sock away a Fukudome rookie card for his kids, only to discover that -- much to his dismay -- there are no Kosuke Fukudome rookie cards in Topps two.

But the real reason why we (collectors) are pissed -- and the Junkie alluded to this -- is that this is FUCKING BASE LEVEL TOPPS!

If Topps has to lower itself to gimmickry to sell FUCKING BASE LEVEL TOPPS, then what does that say about the product as a whole?

Topps had the chance to release the first ever true "Rookie Card" of the hottest player to hit The Hobby in seven years. But they blew it, and they only have themselves to blame.

Junkie: You're right. It is a cynical, calculated effort to sell a product that Topps has half-assed these last few years. No amount of gimmicks, no amount of one-per-box gamers, no amount of redemption "rookies" can change the fact that 2008 Topps blows.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for being anonymous--I'm also known as "Steve" on the BBC blog, but I haven't signed up for one of these Google/Blogger identities.

Anyway, Topps has had two very different ownership groups over the past several years, but the gimmickry is continuing--so presumably it's working. I'm not a fan of these endless gimmicks either, but the only one that annoyed me a lot was the Alex Gordon. (Probably psychiatrists would have a field day with the fact that I am annoyed when the sequentially numbered card is left out but can live with not having "SQ1," the Poley Walnuts card.)

This doesn't bother me even a fraction of the amount that the mind-numbing Mantle and Bonds HR mirror cards do, or the red back 2007 Topps, or the endless parallels that tend to show up in multiple companies' offerings.

That said, I am not collecting Topps this year. I'll buy a set for $49.95 at Target. If the price of this Fuk U Do Me (as someone in my Roto league called out when he was drafted) card drops, I will try to add it to my set--like I did with the 1997-2006 or whatever reissued Mantle card #7s, or the 2006 Topps Lloyd McClendon and John Koronka variations. But I personally don't consider it a part of the base set. YMMV.

dayf said...

I don't card HOW many Alex Gordon cards Keith Olbermann has, the fact is the 2006 Topps Base set is impossible to complete because card 297 was pulled from the set, but some cards were missed or leaked or planted or whatever. The card isn't a mystery like the 6 missing cards in '53 Topps, it's not a variation like the '54 Bowman Peirsall/Williams card, Topps didn't even replace the damn thing with someone else. The card is Alex Gordon, everybody knows it, and you can't have it to complete your set unless you're going to pay the kind of money that will get you a high quality vintage card that is actually legitimately scarce.

I'll give Topps the benefit of the doubt and say it was an honest mistake due to a misunderstanding of the new rules. However, they saw how sales went through the roof and then started purposely planting the crap in every damn set. There's a big list up above of cards that were purposely put into sets (that except for finest are designed to appeal to set builders) simply to try to drive sales of a product that should sell itself.

It's no different from Goudey leaving out the Napoleon LaJoie card in 1933 until Jefferson Burdick called them on it. It's no different from other George C. Miller and American Caramel offering premiums for complete sets and then short printing the Ivy Andrews card and the William McKinley card so they don't have to give many premiums away. It's just shenanigans plain and simple.

And you know what? you're right. The Fukudome and Yabuta WBC cards aren't technically part of the set. So I can safely ignore them if I wish. How about the Schwartzeneggar card though? I now have an incomplete set of Presidential candidates now. (not to mention Topps' blatant ignorance of the Constitution) The hobby used to be about collecting cards and sets of your favorite sport. Now it's about conning middle aged men into spending a few hundred a week in the search for something they can flip on eBay and Topps is screwing up their base set with that strategy.

Anonymous said...

I also don't see any harm over gimmick cards. They add a little fun. If you don't consider your set complete without these gimmicks, then you probably shouldn't consider your set complete until you get every insert, because, at heart, that's what these are, just rare insert cards.

The Baseball Card Snob said...

You forgot Rudy Guliani.

like dayf, said, another reason to not run out and buy cards right away.

I usually wait at least a year, or more to pick up some boxes.

I only picked up a 2005 sp authentic earlier this year, I believe I spent about $55 on it, wasn't worth it.

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris, I hate to break your stones, but if you check and look at the checklist, you will see that Kosuke Fukudome is base card # 645, and there are also Gold, Black, and Platinum parallels, and Printing Plates just like every other base card. These are an SP insert. There is also an Alexei Ramirez that says CUBA across the top. These douchebags trying to sell them for Hundreds of $ on eBay will be weeded out once people start busting Topps 2 and pulling 1000's of these just like Giuliani, and Jeter, and Uzuki. The product has only been out for one day, and people are already getting worked up about it.

James B. Anama said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James B. Anama said...


I wouldn't trust Topps' checklist. They are never fully accurate. I have #645 as Andy Marte.


JayBee Anama

Anonymous said...

I wholly agree with chris and dayf. There is no place for gimmickry in base level sets, of any brand, ever. If companies want to sell more cards, they need to put more effort in aesthetics, photography, composition, etc...

I sent this e-mail to Upper Deck today. I'm hoping it will help. Here it is word-for-word:

Dear Upper Deck-

I've been a baseball card collector for the last twenty years and I've never had a reason to write you until now. First off, I want to thank you for making such nice cards. The design, the photography, the player selection, the creativity, the collation all have all been fantastic over the years. Compared to your competition, you seem to best at innovation and capturing a game that millions love. Due to these reasons I've always sought out Upper Deck products over those of other companies.

Recently, I've been disgusted by the acts of your biggest competitor. This company has resorted to all sorts of gimmicks to create interest in their products. From "error" cards, to "shouldn't have been printed" cards to April fool's jokes, to unethical photoshopping, to
duplicate 1 or 1 cards, to cards of animals, to putting players on
packaging who aren't in the set, etc.... I could go on and on.

I've made a tough decision recently to ban myself from buying any products from this company. It's going to hard, but I've had enough. Due to this decision, I'm asking you not to lower your standards. I understand that companies need to try new things in order to stay profitable in our sagging economy, but please don't resort to these tactics. I'll continue to respect and support your company in the future, two-fold now since my personal ban is in effect if you adhere to my plea. Please continue to produce the high-quality products that I've grown to love so much without the gimmicks.

Mr. Schwartz said...

Does Topps confirm they produced these cards or could they be forgeries?????

dayf said...

Topps doesn't confirm *anything* until a couple months after the fact. I don't think they've officially acknowledged that they produced any cards at all in 2005 yet.

Anonymous said...

You forgot Joba from Topps Updates and Highlights