Monday, September 16, 2013

Fifteen Years of Stale Gum

The year was 1998. 

Crackheads roamed the streets.

Roided-up monsters were taking over baseball. 

And The Hobby Media, compared to where it is today, was in the toilet. 

That year a certain "Baseball Card Monthly" magazine crowned a company that would be out of business by the end of the summer, its inaugural (and only) "Company of the Year."  The news was met with a mixture of amusement and outrage on the nascent internet card collecting community.

In September, a card collector serving his country in the Armed Forces was fed up. He realized that in the traditional Hobby Media, an important voice was not being heard. 

The voice of the collector.

And so one day, he got drunk -- as he usually did -- and came up with the crazy idea to start a newsletter, written from the point of view of an actual baseball card collector, for his fellow baseball card collectors.

Over time, the newsletter (which thankfully has been lost to history) evolved into a webzine, blog, and now Twitter handle.

The Hobby has changed into something none of us would have recognized in 1998.  Certainly, the Stale Gum Media Empire has changed into something I wouldn't have recognized in 1998.  But there's one thing that will never change. 

I will continue to give you my unbiased, snarky, honest-to-God, takes on baseball cards, without fear or apology. 

I thank you for your continued support.

Friday, August 16, 2013

NSCC Pick-Ups: The Emergence of Cragislist Reseller.

It took me a while to hook-up my old scanner to my dying laptop (the old one, not the new one), but I'm finally ready to show off some of the goodies I got at the NSCC.

The anticipation must be killing you, I know.

EVERY SINGLE CARD you will see in this post was purchased for a dollar or less. Yes, I am a cheapskate. But for those of us who collect cards from the 1990s and early 2000s this is golden time and we have one website to thank for it.

Craigslist has become a dumping ground for ex-collectors looking to get something (anything) for those old cardboard boxes in the attic.  Sure, many Craigslist offerings are of Junk Wax Era cards, but every once and a while you'll come across a listing that might have some good stuff.

And we're not the only ones who have noticed.  There's a new class of dealer that begun to pop up at shows over the last few years, and until somebody else comes up with a better name I'm calling him "Craigslist Reseller."  Craigslist Reseller pours over card lots that potentially MIGHT have decent cards, buys them in bulk, then rents a table at a card show and has collectors (like me) have at it for a low fixed price (usually $1 a card).  Craigslist Reseller usually doesn't bother actually looking at all the cards before buying them, or at best, samples a handful to see what he has.

One Craigslist Reseller whom I overheard said that every once and a while, one of his dollar boxes will yield something like a 89 UD Griffey RC or a low-numbered 90s insert.  And if somebody happens to find such a card in a box full of Juan Gonzalez and Mike Mussina rookie cards?  All the better because he's made a customer for life.

So thank you Craigslist Reseller.  Because of your efforts, 1990s card collectors are happier than a pig in shit.

And on that note, take it away Bixby Snyder.


1991 Stadium Club Charter Member Membership Card (paid $0.25)

To Mr. Jeffrey Batt, wherever you are, thank you.  I thank you for having the foresight of signing up as a Charter Member of Topps' Stadium Club over 22 years ago.

You may remember that two years ago at the NSCC, I bought the 1991 Stadium Club Charter Member set for $10. It had the keychain, the Nolan Ryan ingot, and the 50-card box set, but it was missing one piece: The Charter Membership card.  Missing, until I found Mr. Batt's card two-years later in a quarter box.

What exactly did you get with this card anyway?  10% off NSCC admission?  Buy-one-get-one free at Papa John's?  Airline miles?  Was Karl Malden a closeted card collector and did he "Ever leave home without it?"  I wonder if any famous people were Charter Members, and how much their cards would be worth.

A pair of 2001 Donruss gimmicked "Rookies" (paid $0.25 each)

Another two to cross off the ol' checklist.  At this rate, my 2K1 D'Russ Master Set will be completed sometime in 2132.

A shitload of Frank Thomas and Manny Ramirez 90s inserts (A buck each).

To give you an idea of just how many Frank Thomas inserts I pulled out of ONE DOLLAR BOX, the above photo is a fistful of top-loaders, spread out on my scanner.


Let me repeat: I paid ONE UNITED STATES DOLLAR for each card.

And it wasn't just The Big Hurt, either. The same table had a dollar box of ManRam's.

The ManRam box had a dozen 1994 Leaf Limited Rookies Phenoms (serial-numbered to 5000) and a dozen more 1994 Sportflics 2000 Rookie/Traded "Rookie of the Year" SPs (case hits). There wasn't much variety, compared to the Thomas box, but I did manage to score some decent cards.

By far the best dollar box find I had at that table was this beauty.

That may LOOK like a 1995 Leaf Frank Thomas base card. But if you had a Sega Genesis, you know that this is the 1995 Leaf AKKLAIM Frank Thomas.  Each copy of Frank Thomas Big Hurt Baseball -- the third best Genesis baseball game released in 1995 -- came with one.
  Forty 2001 Upper Deck Pinstripe Exclusive cards (paid $0.25 each).

For the uninitiated, Pinstripe Exclusive is a pair of 56-card sets, one of Joe DiMaggio the other of Mickey Mantle, released in various 2001 Upper Deck baseball Hobby boxes -- the estates of both players were exclusive to Upper Deck that year, hence the name. Selected Hobby boxes had a three-card Pinstripe Exclusives pack inserted as a box loader -- and if I recall correctly, the DiMaggio's were in UD's "higher end" sets (SP Authentic, SPx, Sweet Spot, et al), while the Mantles were in the more mass-produced boxes (i.e. MVP, Series Two flagship, and the like). There were also game jersey, game bat, and cut signature cards also inserted into these packs.

This is a set I've gradually been piecing together over the last dozen years. I picked up over a third of the set for ten bucks. Not bad.

1996 Collector's Choice You Crash the Game Redemption Mickey Tettleton (paid $0.25)

Yeah, I know. It's Mickey Tettleton, big whoop.

Big whoop? Do you know how tough it is to find ANY of the 1996 You Crash the Game Redemption cards?

Oh, you do? Never mind then.

1997 Donruss Elite Turn of the Century Derek Jeter (serial-numbered to 3500 copies; paid $1)

About a couple of weeks before the NSCC, an eBay auction for a mid-90s Donruss Derek Jeter insert, (not unlike this 1997 Donruss Elite Turn of the Century insert) was brought to my attention.  It was the 1997 Donruss Preferred Staremaster and it was professionally graded a Mint "9" by PSA.  It was a nice card that I needed for my set, but had been bid-up to a point that was too expensive for my budget.  (Besides, I don't do graded cards.)

What was outrageous was what the seller threw-in a bonus: Five additional '97 D'Russ Preferred Jeter Staremaster's ALL RIPPED IN HALF.

The justification for ripping-up a card I would have easily paid $20 for (in tact) was to artificially decrease the supply -- the supply of a card that was serial-numbered to only 1500 copies.  What an asshole, I mean who RIPS UP A $20 CARD?

What does this story has to do with the Turn of the Century Jeter insert I found for a buck?  I don't know.  But someone on Twitter (I think it was Gellman of Sports Cards Uncensored) asked why Panini continues to use the "Turn of the Century" name as an insert in their handegg sets, when the Century "turned" 13 years ago.

Maybe it's the legacy of this 16-year old Derek Jeter insert?

1997 Flair Showcase "Row 0" Alex Rodriguez (paid $1)

My, my, how the mighty have fallen. If you know anything about 1997 Flair Showcase, then you know just how TOUGH this card was to pull. Even after a decade-and-a-half, and even after the PED allegations, this SHOULD still be a $25-$30 card.

The day after the NSCC closed, A-Fraud was given his 211-game suspension. I don't know if the dealer was preemptively dumping his A-Fraud's, or if this one just slipped through the cracks, but I was more than happy to take it off his hand for 100 pennies.

A pair of 1999 Upper Deck Ovation Tier 3 ReMarkAble Moments inserts (paid $1 each)

Speaking of 1990s Hobby superstars whose inserts have been devalued by PEDs ...

These may look like a pair of (pardon the pun) unremarkable Mark McGwire inserts from 1999 Upper Deck Ovation, and on the surface they are.  But these are cards M13 and M15 in the set.  Why is that important?

The first five cards in the 15-card ReMarkAble set were seeded into packs at the rate of 1:9.  The next five at 1:25.  For the last five cards (M11-M15), the ratio was 1:99, or, one in every five boxes.

Yeah, it's Mark McGwire; but it's also a pretty damn tough late-90s insert, and I got two of them for only $2.

1998 Donruss Crusade (green) Abraham Nunez (given to me for free by Chris Thomas)

Don't you just love it when someone buys a rare insert on eBay only to discover that he already has it? And then they just give it to you for nothing?

... and finally.

2012 Upper Deck MLS Quad Materials Sebastien Le Toux and three other stiffs.

Is that not an AWESOME card of Sebastien Le Toux or what?

I heard the other guy on the left ain't too shabby either. The two on the right? Pure shite.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

NSCC Box Break: 2012 Upper Deck MLS Soccer

Call me old fashioned, but when I evaluate the pros and cons of a product, and whether or not I want to spend any hard currency in acquiring it, the number of BIG MOJO HITZ!!!1! in a box is (usually) ninth or tenth on my priorities list. In most cases, my criteria involves (in descending order): Card design; collectability; size of the base set; and the number and design of the inserts. (BTW, That second point, the ability of a product to be reasonably collected, is why I've stopped collecting the current monopoly licensee's baseball insert-bloated and gimcrack-laden products.) I purchased this Hobby box of 2012 Upper Deck MLS Soccer from Dave & Adam's NSCC table for $50 and am only now, a week-and-a-half later, getting around to ripping it. In terms of my criteria, it's a well designed product that's both collectible and collectable. The base set is a bit small at 200 cards and other than the hits, there are no other inserts in the set. This is both GOOD (no parallels!) and BAD (nothing else to chase after). Yes, this box DOES come with four jersey cards and an autograph in every box. But, like I said, I didn't buy it for the hits. With that said, that doesn't mean I can't appreciate a decent hit now and then, right?
So yeah, I only pulled one of the top five cards in my life out of this box. No big deal.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Box Break: 2003 Donruss Elite

Yeah, yeah. I know, I know.  It's been a while since I've done one of these things.  Sue me.

Anyway, I picked up a box of 2003 Donruss Elite at the NSCC for $55.  Here's what I got.

SPOILER ALERT: This would have been an awesome box, had I ripped it in 2003.  In 2013, not so much.

Well, yeah.  That box sucked.  But for $55, this was exponentially better that the two Hobby boxes of 2012 Topps Series One I could have bought for the same money.

20 packs per box, five cards per pack.

Base Set: 96 of 200 short set: 95 of 180 Gimmicked Rookies (serial-numbered to 1750): 1 of 20 (J. Gobble) 1 Gold Status (serial-numbered to 24): V. Guerrero. 2 All-Time Career Best (1:9): D. Murphy, R. Clemens 1 Career Bests (varies): V. Guerrero (/417) 1 Career Bests Materials (serial-numbered to 500): A-Fraud 1 Throwback Threads (serial-numbered to 250): A-Fraud

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

2013 NSCC: Y U NO HAPPIE? And An Observation on "Added Value"

Last week the 34th National Sports Collectors Convention convened in the "Village" of Rosemont, Illinois, and I spent three days checking out the scene.  Over the next few weeks I'll be posting some of my best pick-ups, but I want to start with something I noticed at the NSCC.

There are a whole lot of unhappy people in The Hobby.  While walking the convention floor, I could not believe the number stone faces.  They weren't angry or anything like that (well, most of the time), but they sure as heck didn't look like they were having any fun.

Isn't that what having a hobby (any hobby, not just The Hobby) is all about?  Having a good time?  The great Jefferson Burdick called card collecting, "A magic carpet that takes you away from work-a-day cares to havens of relaxing quietude where you can relive the pleasures and adventures of a past day -- brought to life in vivid picture and prose.”  I'm sure if ol' Jeff were around to see this year's NSCC, he'd probably revise that statement.

I think I know the reason why.  Now, I don't want to go off on a rant, but it seems to me that the cause of this Hobby Melancholy is the systemic belief of many that The Hobby is immune to the laws of basic economics.  I see it all the time.

You see it on eBay with sellers posting cards with ridiculous minimum and/or BIN prices.

You see it in the collector who tries to nickel-and-dime dealers into selling their cards for well below fair market value.

You see it in the mega case-breakers who feel as if they have a Constitutional right to a 33% ROI on EVERY. SINGLE. PRODUCT. they rip -- even on dogshit products like Tribute WBC and Gypsy Queen -- then bitch and complain when they don't.

And you see it in the manufacturers who constantly feel the need to "add value" to their products; to hell with the consequences.

"Added value," the two most over-used and misunderstood words in The Hobby today.  Two little words used by manufacturers to justify anything and everything.  (If you don't believe me, listen the next time a card company flunky makes an appearance on Cardboard Connection Radio.)  But do these "added value" additions really add value?

Let's take a product like Topps flagship baseball as an example.  (You can also use some of Topps' other low-end brands like Heritage, TANG, and Bowman, as well.) Look at how Topps Baseball was structured, say, ten years ago and compare it to this year's edition.  Over the years, (and perhaps not coincidentally, accelerating around the time Michael Eisner and Madison Dearborn bought the company) the Topps Flagship has been steadily adding new "value added" features: More inserts.  Larger insert sets.  More Parallels.  A guaranteed "hit" in every box.  Manu-Relics.  And of course, my favorite, gimmicks.  About the only things I can think of off the top of my head that Topps has actually subtracted from flagship have been Ticket to Toppstown and Topps Attax. (BUT THOSE WERE FOR "THE CHILDREN," DAMMIT!!!)  All of these additions have made Topps Baseball into what is today: A bloated, uncollectible mess of a product that's no longer fun.

I guess that's the reason for all the glum faces in Rosemont.

But what about the "value?"  Surely, all those gimmicks, all those low-numbered parallels, and all those high-end "hits" must be valuable cards.  And yes, individually, if you're lucky enough to pull one from a pack, you have received a genuinely valuable card.  But is the "value" of that card "added?"


Gimmicks, hits, low-numbered parallels, et al, DO NOT add value to the product as a whole.  They get their value by cannibalizing it from the rest of the product.

Don't believe me?  Well, you should have seen all the current and recent-year inserts that were clogging up the quarter boxes at the NSCC.  The standard Big Mojo Hit has been relegated to the $1 and $2 bins.  Complete sets?  Have you checked eBay lately?

The lesson is, you can not do what Topps has done to flagship (and Heritage, TANG, Bowman, et al) over the last few years.  You CAN NOT guarantee a minimum of $3 worth of cards in EVERY $2 pack.  Try as they might, but it's just not possible.

Either A) the market price of those packs has to rise, or B) the cards inside become devalued.  And in the case of 2012 and 2013 Topps Baseball, an option C) is happening.  The cards are devalued and the price of wax has dropped to Junk Wax status because the products are so awful.

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Aw, fuck it. Who wants pie?

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Most Fun You Can Have With Your Pants On: The 2013 National Sports Collectors Convention

The National Sports Collectors Convention (NSCC) is like a Wesley Willis album. You've heard one song, you've (literally) heard them all. But that doesn't mean they all don't rock.

The NSCC is the same way. Year in and year out, you buy your NSCC ticket and know exactly what you're going to get: The World's Greatest Card Show. The NSCC is card collecting's Hajj. In fact, it was written by The Prophet Jefferson Burdick (peace be upon him) that all sports card collectors are required to visit the NSCC at least once in their life. It was further written in The Scriptures that one must circle a T-206 Honus Wagner seven times in a counter-clockwise fashion, drink a pint of Old Style at a Wrigleyville douche-bar, stay a minimum of three days at an overpriced airport hotel, spend twice as much money as you've budgeted, and ritually stone to death a Topps employee. Animal sacrifices are optional, but encouraged.

With that said, the upcoming NSCC (July 30th-August 4th in Rosemont, IL) will be my seventh and if it's anything like the previous couple of National's, should offer few surprises. Like I did the last time the NSCC was in Chicagoland, I'm carpooling to the show with Chris Thomas -- whom you may know as the co-owner of my side project We'll probably arrive sometime Wednesday, and right now don't know if we'll be attending the "preview session."

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I can say, for sure, that I'll be on the convention floor. So if you see me, don't be afraid to say hello or punch me in the face or whatever. I'll also be live Tweeting the festivities for your fun and amusement.

Chris Thomas has to be back home in Ohio by Sunday, so we'll have to leave Saturday Night; but three days of The National should be plenty. Besides, Sunday is the worst day to go since half the dealers pack up early.

With that said, The NSCC is the most fun you can have with your pants on -- legally, anyway -- and I look forward to seeing some of you there.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Fisking the MLBP/Topps Renewal Announcement.

Yeah, I know.  Long time, no blog.  I guess I owe you an explanation for that.  See, I’ve been blogging less and Tweeting more.  I figure, if I can get my point across in a series of 140-character Tweets, why wait to post a 500-word blog post.  Efficiency. 

Want more of my takes?  Go give me a follow on Twitter @stalegum.  DO IT NOW.

So what brings me back to this decreasingly relevant corner of the Stalegum Media Empire?  There are some things that can not be refuted in 140 characters such as the news emanating out of the Las Vegas Industry Ass Slap. 

(That’s what I call it anyway.  The Las Vegas Industry Summit is an excuse for bunch of dealers, distributors, and other industry types to go to Vegas, party like it’s 1999 for four days, and slap each other on the ass for such a job well done over the last year.) 

The big news was that MLB Properties (MLBP) sentenced collectors to an additional seven years of boring, characterless, gimmick-laden, baseball card products.  FEEL THE EXCITEMENT!

To their credit, the PA did give Upper Deck their license back and Panini locked-up Stephen Strasburg to an exclusive autograph deal.  But if it’s “real” baseball cards you want, you’re stuck with Topps until 2020 – like it or not.

But what really bothered me about the extension was MLBP’s justifications for granting it. 

They are laughable. 

So laughable, I’m going to do something I haven’t done on this blog in a while – well, other than actually post something – and “Fisk” it.

OBTW, I tried to find the “official” MLBP news release, but could not.  I also attempted to find such release on the website; which now, apparently, has evolved into an e-commerce site selling t-shirts.  The closest thing I could find was Beckett’s article which I have reprinted (in italics) below.

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps and MLB Properties are extending their exclusive licensing agreement for baseball cards.

Their deal is extended through the year 2020, according to an announcement made by the company today.

First of all, seven years?  Isn’t that a little, oh I don’t know, long?  Considering that the current agreement that expires at the end of this calendar year was only for four years, seven seems a bit excessive.  Maybe (hopefully?) there’s an out clause.  I don’t know.

This brings me to something Brian Gray from Leaf said this week in Vegas.  Official league licenses will soon not matter.  Maybe with this news, collectors who previously turned their nose at unlicensed and partially-licensed cards may take a second look.  I for one was impressed with the previews for 2012 (ahem) Panini Prizm Baseball.  It completely blows away 2013 Finest Baseball.  Who knows, maybe they might make their own cards? (Foreshadowing?)

If collectors are willing to take partially-licensed cards as seriously as fully-licensed ones, then Topps may have just over-paid for seven years’ worth of fool’s gold.

“Since making Topps our exclusive baseball card licensee, they have continually validated that decision by bringing clarity to the marketplace

“Clarity to the marketplace?”  I’m curious as to how MLBP defines “clarity.” 

Does purposefully concealing ALL elements to a card product until AFTER its release “bring clarity?”

Does having 12 different levels of parallels in nearly every product “bring clarity?”

Are they aware that there are THREE different Bryce Harper rookie cards in 2012 Topps Baseball?  If so, what’s so clear about that?

 and reinvigorating the hobby,

“Reinvigorating the hobby?” By what metric?    

especially among young people,” said Howard Smith, the MLB Senior Vice President, Licensing, in a prepared statement.

“Especially among young people.”  There’s a theme here; we’ll be getting back to it soon.

“Generations of baseball fans have grown more attached to the game through collecting baseball cards, and Topps is continually coming up with new and creative ways to reach the next generation.”

Reaching “the next generation,” how?  Oh yeah, that’s right, I forgot. Topps Attax!  Match Attax was so big with kids in England, so naturally, it HAS to work over here.

Wait, what?  You’re telling me they don’t make Attax anymore?  BUT THAT WAS FOR “THE CHILDREN!”

Oh yeah,, how on earth could I have forgotten that? 

Huh?  They shut that website down a year-and-a-half ago?  BUT THAT WAS ALSO FOR “THE CHILDREN!”

So what are they doing now for “The Children?”

The longest-running manufacturer of baseball cards, Topps has made baseball cards since the 1950s and first signed its licensing deal with MLB Properties in 1969. Its current run as an exclusive licensee began in 2010. It will keep exclusivity on “MLB, Jewel Event and Club trademarks, logos and other intellectual property, for use on baseball cards, stickers and certain other product categories.”

Got that?

Topps said it will aims to “improve the retail and collecting experience and make cards increasingly relevant to children” in its statement.
“The Children.” 

I don’t know if anyone at MLBP or Topps knows this, or for that matter cares, but this is not a Hobby for “The Children” anymore.  It has been this way for decades.  It ceased to be a Hobby for “The Children” back when I was a child, and that was 30 years ago. 

This romanticized notion of Wally, Lumpy, Eddie Haskell and The Beaver, all trading and flipping Topps cards in a 1950s-era schoolyard is exactly that; a fictional representation of an era that no longer exists – and probably never did in the first place.  Yet by continuing to make appeals to “The Children,” this is the notion of collecting MLBP seemingly believes is ideal.  (Yes, I realize this is a “straw man” argument; but since no one at MLBP is returning my e-mails, this is all I can assume.)

If you really, really, want to bring “The Children” back into The Hobby, (a tenuous proposition, at best, but I’ll play along with the premise for shits and giggles) here’s a free bit of advice: Stop pandering to them.  Speaking as a former child, if there’s one thing children hate, it’s being treated like children.  That’s why Topps Attax failed to translate on this side of the Atlantic and Toppstown was discontinued. 

Here’s another free bit of advice to get “The Children” collecting again.  It may be too late now, but I’m going to give it to you anyway.  Give Panini and/or Upper Deck an MLBP license. 

Again, citing my previous experience as a former child, I came of age in the 80s, during the great boom in at-home video gaming.  When I was in grade school, we seriously debated the qualities and shortcomings of the respective video game systems we owned.  Every afternoon at recess it was on: Atari 2600 versus Intellivision.  In high school, the debates continued only the systems changed (Super Nintendo vs. Sega Genesis).  Even in my 20s, it continued with PlayStation versus Sega Saturn versus Nintendo 64.  
The competition created cliques that were fiercely loyal to their brand.  Despite the brand loyalty, we were still intrigued by the other systems.  (I mean, what NES kid didn’t want to play Sonic?)  They got “The Children” talking about video games, which in turn led to sales for all involved. 

The same was true in baseball cards.  When I was a kid, you were either a “Topps, a “Fleer,” or a “Donruss” kid. Having three different card sets to collect got us to talk and debate about cards.  More importantly, it got us to COLLECT cards, even those from the brand we weren’t loyal to.

If you want “The Children” to collect baseball cards again, you have to engage them on their terms.  In other words, don’t play down to their level and build brand loyalty.

“Topps has been making baseball cards for over 50 years,

First of all, don’t sell yourself short.  Topps has been making baseball cards for over SIXTY years.  Then again, if you think about it, they really haven’t.

The Topps of the Shorin family, Sy Berger and Woody Gelman no longer exists.  It ceased to exist in 2007 when the Shorin’s sold out to Madison Dearborn and Michael Eisner.  Oh sure, MDP and Eisner now own the Topps name and assets, but there is one thing they didn’t buy.  The soul of Topps.

A couple of months ago someone asked me what one word could best describe 2012 Topps Baseball.  I gave it some thought, and the word I replied with was “Soulless.”  There is no soul left in Topps anymore.  The product development teams are stocked with M.B.A.s and marketers instead of collectors and the results have been predictable: bland base sets, useless parallels, meaningless inserts, worthless hits, and dumb gimmicks. 

If I could, I’d take half a dozen M.B.A. students and another half a dozen marketing students, lock them in a room and tell them to make a baseball card product.  I’m sure the result would be something resembling 2013 Topps Baseball.

and with the ongoing support of MLB, we will continue to produce the most innovative and exciting collectibles in the marketplace,” said Doug Kruep, Topps’ Vice President and General Manager, U.S. Sports & Entertainment.

Like a Bryce Harper RC that you can’t reasonably find in a pack?

Like a gimmick card of a squirrel?

You call that “innovation” and “exciting?”  I’ll call it what it is: bullshit.  And unless Topps makes major changes in their product development, that’s exactly what The Hobby is in for the next seven years.

“We value our relationship with MLB and look forward to being in business with them for many years to come.”

Ummm, gee thanks.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Yeah, yeah, we know Chris.  You don't have to put the same footer into every blog post.