Monday, August 8, 2016

A Quick Complaint

I just got back from Minneapolis (it went great!), and I quickly logged in to update some grades for the class I am teaching. In doing so, I decided to give Twitter a brief look.

Big mistake.

I noticed a tweet chain that Tony, the mind behind the awesome Brewer's cardboard blog Off Hiatus Baseball Cards, was participating in. The participants were discussing the new Topps Now relic card from Ichiro's 3,000 hit game, many of which are selling for $180 - $999, depending on which parallel you are interested in.

The conversation moved from this card specifically to parallels in general, and the common agreement was that parallels are a way for Topps to make an extra dime.

In general, I agree with this. That being said, I am one of those who chases parallels. I do this for multiple reasons: first, I have major OCD and feel the need to collect them all (like they are Pokemon, which I have ZERO desire to collect); and second, I get bored of seeing plain, white-bordered cards. Parallels can "spice up" a collection up an inject some color in what is otherwise a boring set.

Being the a**hole that I am, I decided to play devil's advocate. I interjected and asked what everyone would say to collector's who enjoy parallel chasing or rainbow building. After a few quick exchanges, the person said that parallel chasing is a "stupid mentality that is ruining the hobby."

Now, I often see collector's doing things and paying amounts that I think are just insane. However, I've always felt that if you have the funds, you should do whatever you want to do when it comes to your own collection. Your actions in no way affect me or other collectors, regardless of what people may say. If everyone thinks whatever Topps is doing is a joke or gimmick, then they will stop buying the product (look at Bowman Platinum). However, as long as there are people who want to buy the product, Topps will continue to produce it.

My point is this: just because you don't enjoy or appreciate something Topps is doing doesn't mean that there isn't someone out there that does. Labeling that collector as stupid or saying they are ruining the hobby is silly. We're talking about cardboard here - we all are a bit goofy. 

None of this is to say that Topps doesn't deserve criticism - let's talk about the repetitive use of the same photo, their poor customer service or their extremely slow redemption fulfillment - I'm just saying let's not turn on each other.

I hope everyone is well!


  1. Hallelujah! I'm not going to say that I've never passed judgement before... because I have. I'm sure if you dig deep enough on my blog, you can find examples. However... I totally agree with you. Collectors should collect what they want to collect. Some guys like buying dime cards, others like building rainbows, and some collectors do both or neither. It's a hobby (and I guess it could also be a source of income)... but since it's a hobby for me, the goal is for it to be a positive thing in my life. The last thing I need is someone telling me that I'm dumb because I enjoy collecting Kurt Suzuki or athletes who grew up in San Jose.

  2. Well said! I've been on this sort of thought line as I hear people out in public openly criticizing Pokemon Go players for their hobby of choice. Who cares how someone else chooses to enjoy their hobby? And that goes (probably doubly so) for factions within a single hobby, like the parallel/no parallel debate you are referencing.

  3. '...the person said that parallel chasing is a "stupid mentality that is ruining the hobby."'

    Whomever that was is an ass. A total ass. You collect the way YOU want. It's your collection. If you say that you collect this and that and those other things, then dammit - that is you collection.

    Have you ever seen some of the collections in the world? Vacuum cleaners, potato chips, those plastic ties on the end of a loaf of bread - all thing you can collect.

    If you like parallels, then you collect parallels. And if you see that person again, tell him I think he is a dipshit, and if he has an issue with that, go jump off a cliff.

  4. Very much agree with you. While I'm not a parallel or rainbow chaser, I'm always happy to see them in packs, and happily accept them in trade. They will always have a place in my binders so long as they fit one of my PC's (or are a Cub, of course). I'm starting to clean out base cards if I have the parallel, since I think they are a lot nicer to look at. I actually pulled a very weird teal parallel today from a Donruss Optics blaster, a Max Scherzer that fits my "Games I've Attended" collection, and was absolutely ecstatic about it. Just gotta figure out what to do with the heritage card that clearly highlights his different colored eyes.

    wow, that took a weird turn.