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!”

 

Preview: 2013 Topps Tribute Baseball

Topps is back with one of their highest-end products of the year and that product is 2013 Topps Tribute Baseball.

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The first thing collectors should look for are the autograph cards. These base autographs will be numbered to 50 or lower. You will also be able to find Tribute to the Stars autographs. This set features the top veterans and retired players and these cards are numbered to 24. There is also a purple parallel which is a 1 of 1.

A new set to Tribute Baseball will be the framed mini-tribute autographs that feature veterans and retired players, and will be numbered to 25. Don’t forget to look for cut autographs which will be 1 of 1′s!

Some great relic sets will also be in 2013 Topps Tribute Baseball such as relics of game-worn batting gloves, which will be numbered to 2. Retired Remnants, Famous Four-Baggers, and Superstar Swatches are also a few of the interesting sets that will be featured.

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Each box contains 6 packs with 5 cards. In each box, it will contain 3 autographs and 3 memorabilia cards.

You can find the product at DA Card World for around $360 when it releases on April 10, 2013.

You can also find the checklist on Cardboard Connection.

Big Deals at MojoBreak During Industry Summit

See, my original goal of getting to the Industry Summit this year was thwarted by my boss at work. I just couldn’t get the time off of work. I had the cash, the plans, everything. I was going to show off my blog during Q&As, I was going to chat with the connections I’ve made with the industry to learn more, and I was going to showcase my 206 average at the Topps bowling extravaganza. Fail.

But I was also going to interview and work with my fine friends over at MojoBreak to spread the word. But that didn’t happen either. But instead, I’m still going to help them out by spreading the word of the great group break deals you can get with the best group breakers on the net.

They will be doing 15-18 breaks of product, great deals, and will be giving away the prized Panini Black Boxes. They will be having 7 breaks on Sunday, 7 breaks on Monday, and a few on Tuesday. It will be a huge end of the weekend party with them. Anyone who enters a break on that Sunday or Monday gets a chance at the Black Boxes. Also, Brian Gray from Leaf will be giving away items as well for those participating.

The best way is obviously to get involved and join their breaks. Make sure you check their official Industry Summit schedule to see what’s going on.

MojoBreak is one of our fantastic affiliate partners and we support them 100% as a trustworthy group break company. We’re even customers as well.

Review: 2012-13 Panini Limited Hockey

A Panini tradition for several years now, the Limited brand continues in the hockey arena with its usual one pack per box and multiple hits per pack formula. It’s that quick hit that many collectors enjoy breaking into every season to see what they can pull. In this shortened hockey season without new rookies, it is one of those products that may be your only hockey break of the season. So let’s get down to it and see what we pulled in our box of Panini Limited hockey for 2012-13.

Design: 4 stars blue

I actually REALLY like the design aspects in this product, except for one thing, the manufactured patch autographs. I was going to give this 4 1/2, but I had to knock it down because of two manu-patch autographed cards. One of them, the autograph already has some pen bleed on it which is disappointing and one of the main reasons I don’t care for that style of card creation. Other than that, the base designs look great with the color photo of the player and the sepia background. The inserts are solid as well and the other hit look good too. Great design work, but I just hate manu-patches.

Checklist: 4 stars blue

To me, there is a benefit of not having many rookies in the sets this year and that is you can find more veteran content. That has resulted in a pretty decent box we received of this product. Tyson Barrie is a solid defenseman prospect, so that isn’t too shabby. But the highlights are a Hall of Famer game used piece and a future Hall of Famer autograph. One rookie hit, one current veteran hit, and one legend hit. Panini does well mixing in all of these into their product run and it was cool seeing it all come together in one box of a product that usually has quite a few rookie hits. Then again, no new rookies either like Yak, and it’s kinda disappointing. But blame the NHLPA!

Value: 4 stars blue

I believe the box originally retailed at $100 like the typical Limited products, but right now this one is currently sitting at $82 over at DA Card World. Not bad price at all for this product and what I would love to see the product hit the streets at. Panini has eliminated its MAPP policy, so maybe we’ll start seeing better opening value the first few weeks. But as I stated in the checklist area, we received some pretty decent cards in our box with Iginla, Fuhr, and a solid prospect. Overall, I think this box held up its end of the bargain. Others have been worse, but I’ve seen better too. Limited is risky like that.

Overall:4 stars blue

 Overall. A solid four stars. This isn’t your typical four star review as Limited has shown many positives this year. Next year will be interesting though with the double rookie class, but I’m enjoying the product this year for what it is. The design is well done, but I still don’t like those manu-patch autographs. At least Panini has limited their use across the board and you only really see them in two products (Dominion). The checklist is good for this season and really is a testament to what I believe rookies have done to the hobby. Watering down boxes with rookies has been a problem, but this box shows the good of a variety of players. Which not only improves the breaking experience, but adds some better immediate value. We all aren’t prospectors or care for waiting out rookies, so this is a nice change of pace.

Once again, a thank you goes out to Panini America for providing this product to review. You can find them online on their official site, blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.

You can find the full checklist of this product over at Cardboard Connection.

Subscribe to us on YouTube to see the live break of this product. And look below to see the cards we pulled from the break!