I was already to write about my visit last night to the tenth circle of Hell (a.k.a. New York's Citi Field), when I get this e-mail from Upper Deck...
"Upper Deck pays tribute to ‘The Kid’ by producing 20 different versions of his base card to commemorate each year of his MLB career."
Now if I were a Griffey super collector (which I'm not), this headline might as well read:
Upper Deck screws over fans of ‘The Kid’ by producing 20 different versions of his base card to commemorate each year of his MLB career; yet is only bothering to announce this cruel gimmick now, almost a month after the release of 2009 Upper Deck Series Two.
What do you say we have a little more fun with this press release, huh?
"North Las Vegas, NV (June 10, 2009) – Collectors began noticing something different as they put together their 2009 Upper Deck Baseball sets: not every version of card No. 855 of Upper Deck spokesman Ken Griffey Jr. looked the same. Truth be told, Upper Deck produced 20 different versions of Griffey’s base card depicting Junior during every year of his MLB career. The images, stats and text on the back of the card correspond directly to the year that’s featured."
In other words, UD is doing EXACTLY what Topps did ten years ago when they made 70 and 66 different versions of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa's base cards -- only instead one for each home run, there's one for each of Junior's seasons. And we all remember what that led Topps to...
1) Repeating the gimmick with Barry Bonds and his 73 homers.
2) The Barry Bonds, Mickey Mantle, and A-Rod Bullshit Home Run Wastes of Space.
3) The debacle that was Generation Now and the travesty of Moments & Milestones.
The fact is, this whole let's-make-multiple-different-variations-of-the-same-card isn't really all that new. To see UD recycle a gimmick that collectors have already rejected is pretty sad, and speaks to the imagination (or lack thereof) of the current baseball product development team.
“`It’s important for us to continue to look at ways to make the regular base card interesting to collectors,' said Gabriel Garcia, Upper Deck’s associate baseball brand manager."
Because it's not like collector's don't want a well-designed, well-structured flagship card set anymore. Right?
Hey Gabe, you want to make things "interesting to collectors?" How about, instead of investing UD's time and resources into gimmicks, invest it into QUALITY CONTROL! Like, oh, I don't know, NOT PUTTING 47 MIS-CUT CARDS IN A WAXBOX. Or how about, PUTTING ALL EIGHT PACKS INTO THE BLASTER BOX! Maybe then you won't need to debase yourselves with gimmicks.
“`By creating different versions of Griffey’s card to commemorate his illustrious career, we hope to have people go back through their collections to see which versions they have and to hopefully put together the entire 20-card set'."
Does Upper Deck really, really, their customers are dumb enough to fall for something this? Does Upper Deck have any shred of respect for The Hobby at all? Do they have any shred of dignity for themselves?
"Since we did not announce this, it’s been interesting to see how quickly collectors picked up on it and how well some of these cards have been selling in the secondary market.”
Because, God forbid, you actually tell collector's what is actually in your product before you sell it to them!
Much virtual ink has been spilled on this blog, and others, on Topps' stealth gimmicks from last year. And although they've continued with the base card variations, Topps has at least given The Hobby the common courtesy of announcing what is in the product, before it goes live. (And no, do not interpret that last statement as an endorsement of the Legends base card SPs in 2009 Topps. They're still stupid and pointless.) Why can't UD do the same?
While no version is more limited than another, the cards are limited in nature and should be considered short prints.
Let's deconstruct this sentence, shall we? If "no version is more limited than another," than should they really "be considered short prints?"
Here's a novel solution: STOP MAKING BASE CARD VARIATIONS. Your target audience hates them. One card, per player, per card number, AND THAT'S IT.