I appreciate the commentary of Tracy Hackler on my earlier post. His comments got me thinking about what are truly the positives in the hobby and what are the negatives. Also, when I view something negatively what I would do to improve or change it.
Topps has done a great job with Baseball overall. A and G is exactly what Topps has made it and wants it to be. Its a hodgepodge set with quirky hits and such.
Bowman, Bowchro, Draft picks and prospects, debut? Cut those down a bit. Tribute, T-206, Sterling all need to go.
I don't buy Topps Finest, but they have made that product what people want and it serves a niche for sure. Finest is not repetative of a current product, i.e. overlap
Base - Topps has made their base set buyable again. The Jumbo boxes are fantastic and make it possible to complete a lot of the insert sets buy buying 3-4 boxes and doing some trading.
Heritage - This product could go either way for me, I certainly like the idea of it.
Upper Deck - Upper Deck Baseball has been junk the last few years but their football products were fantastic same with Basketball, I do have one issue with their products that I will discuss under cons. The upcoming SPX and other football products look really good and I am looking forward to seeing them. I like their Hockey too.
Beckett: Beckett serves a very important function and they are THE resource for checklists and information about past and current cards. I don't subscribe to their online magazine or price guide, but their checklists can't be beat.
Grading: I'm a fan of grading, especially with older cards. Grading protects the collector from unscrupulous hacks that overgrade or that alter cards.
Panini: Panini is doing a great job of turning cards into an international product. Additionally, Panini has the resources to produce some excellent products. Timeless treasure seems ok and crowne Royal has some potential.
Retail Channel - Its back. With Bowman out there, people are again hunting retail. Previously, blasters and retail loose packs were a good way to spend $3 for 8 basecards. The companies have started making retail worth our while.
Ebay: I like being able to get any card I want anytime. Although I am building the masterpieces parallel sets and let me tell you some of those cards are not available and haven't been for a while.
Your high end product is crap. Yes people buy it for its super sick nasty mojo, but sticker autos and mess of david wright and BJ Upton autos is a bit much. Hits for the sake of hits is a terrible idea and becomes a product that will not hold any type of value. You can fix this by doing on card with some true greats. For example, you had a great checklist of on card autos in prior products and then you just quit. Go back to what you were doing.
Heritage: Man your auto checklist sucks. To fix this you need to find more semi stars of the 70's and 80's to round it out. Can't be any more expensive to do this and on card should be a snap. Plus this set is repetative right now and costs way too much. Either cut it or drop the price
SSP's and variations: You need to stop with the SSP's. Yeah, some people like them, but it pisses a lot of people off. 1 per case or less is not good for the hobby. Maybe 1:1 box and no more than 10 per set.
Upper Deck: Not a whole lot of negative to say about you right now. One suggestion. SP Authentic retail need improvement. I realize that putting RPA's and the big hobby hits in retail is a silly idea, but this product should only be sold in blasters with the hobby hits seeded 1:2 or 1:3 boxes. IF not retail has no value.
Panini: Ok guys, you know what the complaints are. No creativity, all of your products overlap. Sticker autos that look like shit. Such a freakin cop out. Basically you have 10 products in each sport, 8 are the same as the other, your sticker autos look cheap, and your price points are questionable given the sticker auto content. Maybe you get a sales bumpsout of having more products. What I mean is, a person might buy 3 boxes of Certified if that was the only product you had, but this same person will buy 2 boxes of certified and 2 boxes of limited even though the hits and cards all look the same. The foil board is horrific and results in way too many damaged cards. The only cards you make that have any value are hits. Your base cards have no value. I am not aware of anyone that builds any of your base sets. Cut the number of products and look at what topps does.
The industry as a whole: Exclusives suck as they are now. Panini should not be exclusive in the NBA. They still put out too many products. There should be as many licenses as viable companies, however, the number of products should be contained. Panini is doing few things positive and Topps and Upper Deck could do better in a lot of respects. Especially in Basketball. If each licensee was limited to 4-6 products a year, quality would be of the utmost importance. DOes anyone like what Panini is doing with Basketball? Topps base, Chrome, Finest are all better than Panini at this point.
Beckett: Your price guide is all out of whack and its too expensive. Building a program that yanks prices from ebay would be most helpful including a wax price guide. You would have to audit the sales to make sure they are legit and that the correct cards are being included.
One thing I would also like to see is review of products from more outlets. I know that some products are reviewed by bloggers but it is a box at a time and lets just say that some reviewers are um not so good. A year and a half ago I did a 3 box average review style. I found it worked well and gave a better sense fo what was in a product. Maybe the manufacturers should offer discounted cases to reviewers.