Odds & Ends + A Bonus Rant!

I’m still here I guess.  Been busy with the sketch cards & was sick all day yesterday.  Looks like we’ve run out of time on the group break, to get it done on opening day at least.  If the six or seven who’ve shown interest still want to do it sometime though, I’ll keep the option to do one open until we do get enough people who want in, however long that may take.

And I haven’t forgotten about any trades or people I still have to send cards too.  I’ll get on that sooner or later, I swear.  Baseball Dad and part 1 (because I forgot to put the McGriff sketch card in it, so there will be a second package with that & translucents & the Rich Hill joisey etc) of the Great Sports Name Hall of Fame‘s stuff is as good as on it’s way and maybe I can just devote an entire day to trying to all the others together whenever I take a day off from card drawing and am not otherwise distracted.

To reference the maybe still vaguely relevant to things Yu-Gi-Oh!, my heart just hasn’t been in the cards lately.

«~•°•°•°•≈Warning, I feel a rant coming on…≈•°•°•°•~»

I’ve almost sworn off ripping new stuff (with two possible minor exceptions later in the year) due to that now infamous patronizing bullshit press release by MLB, and distaste for a topps exclusive (if not topps itself, jury’s out) in general.  topps has never done it for me.  I think I’ve preferred pretty much every other brand that came and went in the past thirty years over topps.  Maybe even Pacific!  And frankly I don’t give a rats ass about topps’ history and tradition, that they so enjoy shoving down our throats.

Look, I loves me some real vintage cards of all kinds.  I love that I get them in trades once-in-a-while and would pick more of them up on my own if I had access to decent (or any) card shows or shops around here.  I happen to have a sweet tooth for history in general, it truly fascinates me.  But something rings hollow about topps’ hanging their hat pretty much entirely on their history, and the history of others whom they’ve acquired the rights to (206, Allen & Ginter, and Bowman going wabac).  It’s like topps has nothing but history (and shitty gimmicks, though I don’t personally mind those) to offer.  And I, like probably most that grew up and started collecting in the 1990s or later, have no real connection to that.  My very first cards weren’t even made by topps (seven packs of 1991 Upper Deck on my 7th birthday)!

Maybe topps really doesn’t have anything else to offer.  Aside from the surprisingly decent flagship, the only good stuff they did in 2009 were the usual suspects Chrome and Allen & Ginter, the latter decidedly retro and the former has been around for about 15 years (their A&G brand is no rookie either, starting in 2006).  Heritage was only notable because it pulled a good year design-wise in 1960 (and because I pulled a Gordon Beckham auto from retail).  topps206 was an uninspired ripoff of the A&G formula (though I guess the A&G formula got it’s start in the original 206 sets from topps from 2002-2003, but A&G perfected it, so the point stands).

And despite Upper Deck’s releases never really rising above mediocre in 2009 and usually falling well short of even that, topps still managed to put out probably the two worst reviewed sets of the entire year in Ticket to Stardom (with it’s wonderfully nonsensical tickets and little overall bang for the buck) and Unique (I can think of about ten reasons it sucks just off the top of my head).  And it’s pretty well known that topps’ high end is… wait, let me put this in a way that topps will understand: utt erc rap.

So yeah, maybe they’ve got nothing more to offer, though I’m starting to think topps was never anything special to begin with.  Sorta the McDonald’s to all the exciting and interesting companies that came and went from 1981 until 2009.  Just a tepid, mediocre product with name recognition and the “tradition” and “heritage” that comes with being around the longest.

I’m sorry, but I don’t have the connection to look back at topps’ history with the rose colored glasses of nostalgia.  And I can’t look at topps offerings with anything other than disdain if they insist on shoving history down my throat and every attempt at something new is riddled with crippling flaws or just plain uninspired.

I’m not even going to delve into topps’ laughable cluelessness when it comes to the marketing towards kids & whatnot.  Another rant for another time, perhaps.

But I will close by saying this: If we’re going by current companies that make the best quality cards, then neither topps OR Upper Deck really deserve an MLB license, let alone an exclusive.  Upper Deck’s baseball had been on the decline for at least a couple years before losing their license and I think I miiiight have mentioned above that topps could use a good kick in the pants to shake the perpetual creative mediocrity and stupid nostalgia kick they’re on.

Honestly MLB, since the decision to even let an exclusive happen in the first place is ultimately on your shortsighted and archaic-thinking head, I’d take Tristar, In The Game, and good lord even Panini over topps (and Upper Deck for that matter) right now.  Even their average stuff is better and more importantly, more FUN, than all but very best of what topps has to offer (well, Panini is still a work in progress, but showing improvement).  You should be begging them to make cards for you.  So fuck the confusion noise, because I don’t give a damn.  It’s not a good time to be a baseball card collector.  Period.

Rant mode off.

8 thoughts on “Odds & Ends + A Bonus Rant!

  1. Tim says:

    Haha this is turning into the most epic trade ever. I’m excited to see part 1!

    Also, I like the burger joint comparison. I think I’d extend it to:
    Topps is McDonald’s
    Upper Deck is Steak and Shake
    Fleer is Wendy’s
    Donruss is Burger King
    Pacific is Arby’s

    I go to McDonald’s quite often, but it’s not the best. I also go to Steak and Shake a lot, and everyone knows that the Frisco Melt is way better than anything on McDonald’s menu. But then some people aren’t a fan of fries or sides, and maybe this is why Steak and Shake isn’t everywhere.

    Fleer was my favorite, and so it gets the best place, Wendy’s. I hardly ever go to Burger King but am generally happy/surprised when I do, hence Donruss. And Pacific gets Arby’s for two reasons: 1) I used to work at Arby’s as a summer job, so it carries that same nostalgia that Pacific does from my childhood. 2) People often forget that Arby’s/Pacific is even an option in its given competition, but if you try it you enjoy it generally.

    • Tim says:

      *fries or sides meaning Steak and Shake’s fries or sides. McDonald’s are better, but dammit I want a Frisco and a Side by Side!

    • lonestarr says:

      I like all those places much more than McDonald’s, so the comparison works! 😀

      I loooove Burger King’s double cheeseburgers, but some of their bigger sandwiches can be hit or miss, and tend to make me ill even when they taste great.

      The Upper Deck/Steak n Shake comparison is excellent because Steak n Shake tends to skew a little more upscale as far as fast food goes, much like UD with cards. Overall I think I like their food the best, but I don’t like their fries much, though cheeze helps (but then again cheeze helps almost everything). Their other sides are usually fine though. I think their burgers tend to be slightly less horribly unhealthy than others while still being above average in size too, so that’s nice.

      Wendy’s is like Bizarro burger king. Their big sandwiches (especially the chicken ones) are very good, but the value menu burgers are pretty brutal, at least here. Really small, slapped together looking, and rarely hot, and waaay too much with the condiments. The spicy chicken nuggets absolutely pwn all and the commercial for them was 31 flavors of ironic. 🙂

      Ah, Arby’s. It’s true that they kind of get lost in the shuffle, but the food is good. They’re like the point where sub joint and burger joint meet. No actual burgers, but only like a half dozen of their sandwiches are actually subs, and they’ve only had those in recent years. Pretty much all of the main sandwiches are on regular buns. I’m miss the roasted chicken club or whatever it was called. That was about the best sandwich I’ve ever eaten.

      Dairy Queen’s sandwiches are also pretty good and rarely ever less than piping hot.

      This is all well and good, but I fear the food analogy has overshadowed the point of the rant now though…

  2. Sharpe says:

    I love Wendy’s and the old fleer stuff. Even their horrible designs are pretty classic.

    I’ve sworn off the new stuff this year too. I don’t see the point. Topps is fun, but buying retail packs doesn’t provide a lot of excitment, and stepping it up for the hobby boxes doesn’t really get you anything either. Might as well just buy the sealed sets when those come out if you really want it . . . all this coming from a set builder.

    Anywho, keep up the good ranting!

  3. John Bateman says:

    Topps is Barney Fife going to Mcdonalds and Upper Deck is Bernie Madoff going to Tavern on the Greem

  4. wickedortega says:

    huh?? lost me…. oh well good stuff!!

  5. FieldofCards says:

    I hope I’m still on your list for that Markakis you drew for me! I plan on giving you that Fukodome Rookie Masterpieces numbered to 25 amongst other cards!

    • Lonestarr says:

      You are on the list. I believe I even have a bubble mailer filled out for you. Just a matter of finding all the cards and sending them now.

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