Topps & MLB Sitting In A Tree, Until 2020

Seven more years. Seven. 7. Siete. Sette. Clicking noises.

Why has the MLB continued the exclusive license with Topps to produce baseball cards, again? Most people are guessing that Topps just threw a boatload of cash at the MLB and said, “Here! Take as much money as you need so we don’t have any competition. Panini has been catching up a little too quickly to our liking.”

The press article on Sports Collector Daily has these remarks from the senior licensing man in charge with MLB. “Since making Topps our exclusive baseball card licensee, they have continually validated that decision by bringing clarity to the marketplace and reinvigorating the hobby, especially among young people,” said Howard Smith, senior vice president, Licensing, Major League Baseball. “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.”

My Buddha almighty in Enlightenment! (That sounds about right.) What a load of garbage spewed by the MLB on this matter. Let’s see, Topps has held the MLB license since 2010? What have they changed in bringing clarity to the marketplace? Prospect cards and rookie cards with a fancy logo that still confuses collectors? Reinvigorating the hobby? The only invigorating I see is by collectors with pitchforks. Oh, and with young people you say? With what products? Stickers? Topps has come out with more high-end products since then than anything else.

It isn’t like I haven’t made it known before, but as a collector I hate exclusive licenses. I hate that the MLB and Topps are exclusive. I hate that Panini and the NBA are best buds, despite what you may think about me being a Panini fan-boy. And I hate that the NHL isn’t giving ITG a full license.

Folks around the community are up in arms about the signing. Small sample size on vocal boards, I know, but the issue has been causing a ruckus on Twitter since its announcement as well.

I wonder if there will be a new edition of Topps Monopoly baseball coming to stores soon?

Obviously, collectors voices haven’t been heard in this matter, nor do I think the MLB really cares. But for shits and giggles, MLB.com has information here on how to contact their licensing department:

For licensing information, please send an e-mail to the following addresses:

Wait a minute, that’s not Howard Smith’s email. Maybe try Howard.Smith? Somebody, somewhere has to listen to the collectors. This is an issue with Topps looking out for their own business, which is fine, but listening to collectors over this isn’t in their best interest. The best place to go would be with the MLB, where they ultimately decide they want an exclusive.

Anyway, I’m not writing this to ream Topps. It’s really not even their fault. They are a business and their job to make money. If offering a ton of money to do so makes them more money, then by all means, go ahead and do it. Your shareholders will love you. A recent article by Sports Card Radio details that part nicely. If you want to blame anybody, blame Major League Baseball. They took the offer as it was all about money.

I understand, it’s just business. And I do like to collect some Topps baseball products. But I have a new motto: “Try and have fun until 2021!”

 

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