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.