If you're like most people, you don't run marathons because you know you'll never, ever, be able to finish it -- at least not in a reasonable time. What's the point in starting something you know you'll never complete?
This brings me to 2012 Topps Archives Baseball. By all outward appearances, this should be an awesome product, and the kind of set I'd be buying by the pallet-load -- if I had the money, that is. Under ordinary circumstances, this could be a legitimate "Product of the Decade" contender (and that's a "shoot.")
It could be, but it's not. And you can all put the blame on one card. This one...
It's not that Topps included a Harper RC -- personally, I think it's great that Topps was able to add him at the last minute. No, it's the way they went about it: a super short-printed base card.
Topps could have easily printed enough Harper's to make it both attainable and realistic to complete a full 241-card set. They made Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes regular ol' base cards, and that hasn't hurt their "value" (whatever that means), why didn't they do the same with Harper? Heck, they could have printed enough to equal the production of the other 40 All-Time Fan Favorties SPs (cards #201-#240).
But Topps chose NOT to. They could have made it a one-per-sixth box hit, but instead they made it a one-per-sixth case hit. In other words, they gimmicked the shit out of it.
(Keep in mind, we're not talking about an Autographed Bowman Chrome Prospect Lavender/Fuschia Die-Cut Nuke-Fractor serial-numbered to 99; the Harper in question is a base card in a base-level product.)
This is what the current regime at Topps fails to understand about collectors. We don't want to run marathons, we just want to collect baseball cards. Topps didn't need to make 2012 Topps Archives Baseball a marathon, but they chose to anyway.
We bother collecting a set you'll never be able to complete?