Achieving Goals, Changing and the Blog

Let me preface this by saying that I plan on getting back to blogging. As I stated back in September I had been working on many larger goals that took preference over working on this blog. Those included education, family, career, all of those important things that are more important to me than blogging. Heck, I can’t even remember the last time I checked my SCB email! I  just wanted to give a status update.

So first and foremost, I completed my Master’s degree in December. That was probably number one on my list as it was the shortest term goal and one that would probably be the easiest to achieve. Next, I wanted to learn or prepare on being a father and actually begin the process of becoming one. That goal was met as well as my wife is due with our first child in July. I don’t know the gender yet, but I am definitely going to be picking up a complete set of 2014 Topps baseball at the end of the year as a memento for the child one day. Finally, career is the most recent goal and is the one I achieved as of two weeks ago. I just got a new job in a field I love, investigation, at a company where my input truly matters, Airbnb.

With all of that, I will have some additional time to blog, at least until the baby is born. I will not, however, return to the one post a day thing. I am going to change the format of this blog just a bit to be more personal and analytical. Originally it was a source of information that had just come out with some opinions thrown in there. Analytics and opinion is a more challenging method for me and I would like to provide some additional substance to the posts. Surprisingly, I was getting stressed with one post a day over a year and a half while working, school, etc. I realized it when I went on my honeymoon and didn’t have to worry about it. It became a job when it was never meant for that purpose. I actually have thought about closing shop too, but I’ve put in a lot of work that I want to continue as a hobby.

So now begins a welcome change as things continue to flesh out. Maybe tonight I will write a little something about exclusive contracts with the news of Upper Deck again receiving an exclusive license for NHL products…

Card of the Day: 2013-14 Upper Deck Trilogy Charlie Coyle RC Auto

Who is Charlie Coyle? Just a guy drafted 28th overall in the 2010 NHL Draft. A decent Center prospect who was traded to the Minnesota Wild and scored his first NHL goal last season. He isn’t one of the stars of the rookie class, but he is making a name for himself in other ways.

Behold.

charlie-coyle-boner-auto1

Sorry for the terrible grab there. But the scan sucked.

Well now I’m not sure who Charlie Coyle is even more. Do his teammates call him “Dick”? Is this an homage to recently deceased Richard McWilliam? That can’t be you real autograph, can it be Charlie?

Charlie is obviously a jokester or a collector himself knowing that this would go into collector’s hands and could be worth a bit more than his usual autographs.

How Upper Deck Quality Assurance missed this? We will never know.

Update: Upper Deck states that the autograph is fake after contacting the athlete in question. Should you believe them? If you were the athlete, would you confess to doing that? Another thing we will never know.

Leon Sandcastle Rookie Card and Autographs Are Coming

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Panini America announced last week that despite Leon Sandcastle not getting drafted in this year’s NFL Draft, they will be producing cards of the future star cornerback.

Want to know where you can pick up the first 2013 Leon Sandcastle rookie cards? 2013 Score football. This $1.99 per pack product features all of your favorite veterans, the top rookies from the NFL Draft and of course, Leon Sandcastle.

His first autograph cards won’t appear until June though. The release of 2013 Panini Prestige football will feature some ink from the Sandcastle himself, amongst other top rookie from this year’s draft.

While he may not be playing in the NFL this season, Panini will still be bringing you closer to De…Leon Sandcastle.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good gimmick that the collectors would like to see. This is a great example. But would this be needed if the draft class was as good as last season? Would companies actually be considering this to drive hype with a weak rookie class? I’m not so sure. However, it really does add to the “fun” aspect of collecting. If Deion Sanders is really signing for these cards, it could add a pretty penny to some collector’s wallets as well.

Read more from Panini’s official blog about their plans for “the Sandcastle”.

Upper Deck Returning to Baseball

There was some big news at the Industry Summit. Panini announced an exclusive autograph deal with Stephen Strasberg. Topps is changing the way they work with customer service and distributors. And Upper Deck will be returning with a MLBPA license for 2013.

Upper Deck no longer had a MLB license soon after the 2009 season before Topps became the sole heir of MLB trading cards. But with Panini returning to baseball recently with a MLBPA license, Upper Deck has now also acquired that license and will be producing baseball cards once again, back to the foundation of their company.

Upper Deck regaining a license to produce baseball cards is a big deal. While Topps is continuing their exclusive license until 2020, Panini has slowly been making a name for themselves despite not having the ability to use logos. Another competitor in that MLBPA licensed genre is good for the industry. In fact, it will probably help improve those types of products until the MLB finally decides it can’t live with an exclusive license. Upper Deck has always been an innovator and with that new challenge of the MLBPA license, they will do what they do best, innovate. How many ways can a piece of cardboard be created without logos? What else can be done? Panini has done some great things with changes in photography and cropping, but with fresh minds working on it, can we see great things from this realm?

I think Upper Deck may be just what unlicensed sports cards needs to push the envelope even farther.

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!”