A Word About the State of the Hobby

Getting my first 2010 cards has made me think some more about why I haven’t bothered with any of the 2010 issues to this point, and I think I need to share some about it, even if no one cares.

Now, I’m generally a pretty positive person, and so posting something that might be perceived as negative feels…uncomfortable to me, but if I don’t get it off my chest here, I don’t know where else I really could. The Voice of the Collector posted recently and covered some of the thoughts that I’ve been having.

Let me try to organize my thoughts, though. Let’s start with the Nationals and why there’s been such a dearth of coverage on this site lately. As a Nationals fan, I couldn’t be more thrilled with the state of the team. We have some legit superstar prospects, more people are interested in the team, and I think the team has a shot to be great and maybe even get to the world series in the next five years.

As a Nationals collector…

Look, I like Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper as much as the next guy. Maybe even more, given that it’s “my” team. I’m over the moon that “my” team has these players. But damn has it made collecting this team discouraging. Strasburg may well be a Clemens of his generation, but even in his prime Clemens’ cards didn’t go for this much. I’m tired and still getting over an illness, so I’m not going to be as eloquent as I might usually be: it’s stupid. Just plain stupid. You can buy good cards of Hall of Famers, multiple cards, in fact, for the price of some of these Strasburg cards. Hell, even the regular Bowman.

And let’s not even get into the fact that Topps was all about making the sets affordable for kids this year and now they’re shoving Strasburg into every set they can possibly stuff him into, making it out of the price range of collectors who don’t want a second mortgage to buy wax or even team sets, let alone kids.

It’s the same old crap that I’ve noticed ever since I got back into the hobby. They’re turning collectors into gambling addicts, forever chasing after the next big score. Remember when game-used was exciting? How about autographs? Then it became 1/1s. Now it’s these ultra-expensive 1/1s that often feature all three.

Look, I get it that some people do this as a business. Hell, I do the same thing with video games, and it doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for them (though it has made me a lot more discerning), but at the same time I deal in old video games. If new video games came with the kind of price premium that cards are now dealing with, I’d give up the hobby – it just wouldn’t be fun or worth it anymore.  I bet a lot of people are considering doing just that, even as the Strasburgs bring in more fans with a gold rush mentality (early 90s all over again, hello?). I know I have very little interest in this new generation, and wonder where that will leave me in a few years.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say. Yes, I know there’s vintage to collect (and that’s what I’m doing), but it just makes me sad about the state of the hobby moving forward. Hopefully it’ll work itself out, but who knows, really.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “A Word About the State of the Hobby

  1. Well said. The pricing thing is a very good point. Thank God for retail or any kid even remotely interested would be calling an ambulance for their mother after she sees the current price for Bowman Hobby Boxes and Packs

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