Monday, July 10, 2023

NSCC Tips, Tricks, and Hacks.

 My latest Hobby News Daily column is up, and it has to do with all things NSCC.  I'll be there, will you?

Thursday, June 15, 2023

June's HND Column.

Over on Hobby News Daily, my column for the month of June is out.  In this month's issue I ask the question, "What exactly does 'Vintage' and 'Modern' mean?"  I also call out the card companies for the constant back-dating new products.

Check it out.

Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Stale Gum on the Sports Card Nation Podcast.

I recently sat down with my friend and Hobby Hotline and Hobby News Daily colleague John Newman for an episode of his Sports Card Nation podcast.

In this episode, I discuss my Hobby upbringing, how I became a collector, and how unlike many in my generation, remained a collector into adulthood. I also discuss the BaseballCardPedia project, my role in it, how it was created, and what we hope for in the future. Listen to "Ep.234 w/ Chris Harris "Call it like we see it"" on Spreaker.

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Hobby News Daily May Column.

My monthly column for Hobby News Daily is out.  (And if you haven't checked out Hobby News Daily yet, what's keeping you?)

In it, I have my thoughts on 2023 Bowman and why I may be the only collector left in The Hobby that could care less about this product.  I also have a few words on the upcoming 2023 Topps Heritage.

Hobby News Daily: It's the most fun you can have with your pants on.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Hobby News Daily: April, 2023

My article for April was (finally) posted on Hobby News Daily.

(It was supposed to be up last week, but that's neither here nor there.)

I have some comments on Topps' "big announcement" that was a but of a dud.  In addition, there's my thoughts on the recently concluded Mint Collective, the unforced errors BGS keeps committing, and my thoughts on the reworked Topps Big League.

Go check it out, there's a lot of neat stuff on there, and we're only getting started.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Stale Gum on Hobby News Daily

A couple of months ago, I ran into my friend and fellow Hobby Hotline co-host Danny Black, who was starting a new Hobby news website.  I asked him if he was interested in a bitter and cantankerous former baseball card blogger who could contribute one or two 800-1000 word screeds a month.

Surprisingly, he said yes.   

Anyway, my first article for Hobby News Daily is up, (I didn't come up with the headline.)  and if you were familiar with what Stale Gum was in the pre-blog years (all six of you), you'll recognize the "Chris' Notes" style format immediately.  Believe it or not, I actually praise Topps, before shitting all over them for the steaming pile that is 2022 Topps Chrome Sonic.

And after you're finished reading my first article, check out the rest of what's up on HND.  Technically, we're in "soft launch" mode for the rest of March, but there's some good stuff up there already from voices you may or may not be familiar with.

Monday, August 23, 2021

A Few Thoughts on Fanatics Acquiring the MLB/MLBPA LIcense.

By now, unless you've been living under a rock, the biggest news story in the century plus history of sports cards broke last week.  Major League Baseball and its Players Association have granted their exclusive trading card licenses to a new company to be formed by the sports licensing and e-commerce juggernaut Fanatics, Inc.  The MLBPA will have equity in this new scheme, along with MLB, which previously (along with the NFL) invested in Fanatics years ago.  As I write this, Fanatics has just acquired the exclusive NBA and NBPA licenses, and as with the baseball deal, also includes equity for the league and PA.  It is expected, sometime shortly, that the NFL and the NFLPA will follow suit.

The MLBPA's current Group Licensing Agreement with Panini America expires at the end of 2023, while MLB's with Topps is through 2025.  Meaning, for the next few years anyway, Panini will continue to produce partially-licensed baseball cards, as they have since 2011, while Topps will continue to print fully licensed baseball cards until at least December 31st, 2023.  

As for 2024 and 2025, Topps has always operated differently when it comes to player acquisition.  Because they predated that establishment of the MLBPA, they've always been exempt from their Group Licensing Agreement -- a blanket agreement that gives access to all players currently on a 40-man Major League roster, who are also PA members.  By signing players to individual contracts (so-called "steak dinner checks"), this gave Topps a competitive advantage over their competition by allowing them to produce the first MLB-licensed trading cards (and therefore Beckett Definition "Rookie Cards") of dozens of Minor League prospects -- a loophole they exploited to great effect with their Bowman brand in the mid-90s and early-2000s, until the establishment of the current Rookie Card rules in 2006.  They have missed a few players. (Alex Rodriguez did not appear on a Topps card until 1998.  And in recent years Matt Wieters, Ichiro, and Madison Bumgarner have let their Topps contracts expire.)  It is currently unclear if Topps will still be allowed to sign MLBPA members to Steak Dinner Checks, and include big leaguers in what will still be MLB-licensed products for 2024 and 2025.

I'll get to what this means later, but as of now, Panini America will be out of the licensed baseball card business on December 31st, 2023.  The next day, Fanatics will assume Panini's MLBPA license and produce their first partially-licensed baseball cards in 2024.  Topps will continue to make fully licensed baseball cards for 2022 and 2023.  For 2024 and 2025, Topps may or may not be allowed to continue printing fully-licensed baseball cards, but they'll still have the MLB license.  On January 1st, 2026, Fanatics will acquire Topps' MLB license and will be the exclusive licensor from then on.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Recent Appearances on Hobby Hotline.

Over the past few months I've made a few more appearances on the Hobby Hotline. (I usually make an appearance every three or four weeks) We're on every Saturday morning at 11:00am Eastern, 10:00am Central (11:30 in Newfoundland).  Just search for Hobby Hotline on YouTube or Facebook Watch -- or if you're on the go, the audio version is usually available a day or two later on most podcasting platforms.

From December 5th ...

The January 9th edition ...

From Jan. 23rd, here I am with Rich Klein!

And from the Feb 6th edition, Dr. Jim Beckett!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Stale Gum on The Hobby Hotline Episode #41.

Once again, this past Saturday I co-hosted The Hobby Hotline. Check it out.