Results from the Blog Bat Around!

January 21, 2009 at 9:04 pm | Posted in Blogs | 3 Comments

bataround

It was great to see so much participation in the third Blog Bat Around, which was the first one that wasn’t hosted by Sports Cards Uncensored.  In all, we had 28 different contributions, which is just a tick below the number of participants in the first two.  It was a great experience to read the opinions of so many different collectors.  The group that participated includes set builders, player collectors, team collectors, and high-end box breakers – a great cross-section of the general collecting populace.  We are some of the card companies’ best customers, and we all care enough about the hobby to have our own blogs about it, and write about the direction that we’d like to see the card companies take.

Now, the card companies obviously can’t give us everything that we want.  After all, they are first and foremost trying to make the biggest profit possible.  But it would serve them well to read the entries from this Blog Bat Around to understand what some of their most passionate customers are looking for.  If they give collectors what they want, they’re going to sell more cards, and turn bigger profits.

In addition to my Blog Bat Around entry, here are the others:

Card Junkie – Jeff would like to see Topps go back to basics with a 792-card set of cards made out of cardboard and no gimmicks.  And he’d like to see Upper Deck bring back Fleer.  I definitely agree!

The Easy Life – Steve has a lot of good ideas, including getting rid of pointless sets, improving Stadium Club, and only inserting hits that people might actually want.

The Nennth Inning – Bailey has many ideas for reducing the number of sets that are produced, and he identifies four types of sets that each company should make: Base set, Rookies, Retro/artistic, and High end.

Card Buzz – Laurens provides a list of 10 great suggestions for the card companies along with opinions on some 2008 sets.  I loved the line “Topps and Upper Deck need to put out more product that isn’t going to insult the collector”.

Dinged Corners – Patricia and Lucy loved 2008 Allen & Ginter, Topps Opening Day, and Upper Deck USA Baseball.  But they could live without game-used relic cards and sticker autographs.

1972 Topps Baseball – This is a new blog from a guy who started collecting back in 1972.  He’d like to see the Topps flagship set go back to how it was in the 1970s and 1980s.  I have a feeling that Topps could bring a lot of former collectors back to the hobby if they did that.

Sports Cards Uncensored – The innovator of the Blog Bat Around, Gellman, discusses his thoughts on both baseball and football card products, with comments about many different products that he would like to see killed off in 2009.

Paul’s Random Stuff – Paul was disappointed by most of the 2008 sets, but he did enjoy a few of them.  The card companies could make him happier by improving their lower end sets.

Sports.Cards.Life – psad21’s blog is relatively new, but it’s very informative.  He collects mostly football cards, with some baseball too.  He had some rough experiences with some box breaks that really demonstrate what the card companies can do better!

bdj610’s Topps Baseball Card Blog – JayBee collects only Topps cards.  He’d like to see the number of products decrease, with more attention paid to the quality of the base brands for set builders.

Crackin Wax – Topher makes his case for the card companies reducing the number of sets that they produce, simplify the sets that they keep around, with fewer gimmicks, inserts, subsets, and short prints.

Need Mo Morneau – dkwilson makes some great points about the lack of value in today’s high-end products, particularly due to the single-color jersey pieces in the cards.

Nachos Grande – Chris proposes having Topps and Upper Deck each release one set per month, and he writes about his choices.  That’s a good idea, and we can all debate his choices of what products stick around and which ones are axed.

Free Andy LaRoche – After successfully lobbying for the Dodgers to free Andy LaRoche (he’s now a Pirate), this blogger turns his attention to reducing short prints to make it easier to build sets in this tough economy.

Night Owl Cards – Night Owl uses the example of the classic 1976 Kurt Bevacqua bubble gum card as an example of the fun that is missing from many card sets today.  He’d like to see more well-designed and well thought-out base sets with fewer short prints.

Voice Of The Collector – Rob (a.k.a. “Guido”) makes some excellent points about how the current rules that the MLB and MLBPA imposed on the card companies are having a negative effect on the products that are produced.  He argues that the “middle class” of collectors (between the low-end and high-end) are being left behind.

White Sox Cards – Steve writes an open letter to the card companies and stresses “quality over quantity” which is a great summation of what I think we all want to see.  He goes into detail about the quality that he’d like to see, and he closes with the suggestion that the card companies read the blogs to see what their customers want.  I couldn’t agree more with that!

1988 Score – Ben is just starting to get reacquainted with today’s hobby after many years away.  He’s a set builder who isn’t looking for hits, and he’d like to see more sets that are geared towards set builders.

Blue Heaven – Ernest has an interesting perspective as someone who has not collected new cards in recent years.  He’d be more likely to buy new cards if there were fewer sets, less parallels, and more vintage brands.

Padrographs – Rod is hoping to see a greater variety of players featured on cards, with fewer sets being produced.  He also likes non-glossy cards that are easier for players to sign.

Chuck’s Used Cards – Chuck uses some vintage Star Wars cards to introduce his post, and proposes that the number of sets per year be drastically reduced, to return the hobby to the way it was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Grand Cards – This new blogger has one of my favorite lines in all of the posts: “the sets that buyers don’t think twice about are the same sets that the manufacturers didn’t think twice about during the design process.”  He discusses how the card companies should make sets that specifically appeal to certain types of collectors, along with some other great suggestions, including having starter packs and booster packs for baseball cards.

Garvey Cey Russell Lopes – GCRL is a big fan of retro sets, and he’d like to see cards made of players the year after they retire, and a set of cards featuring the card design from the year they were born.  A “1985 Topps” Evan Longoria would be sweet!

Mark’s Ephemera – Mark just recently got back into the hobby and started a blog.  He has many ideas including good looking, simple base sets with fewer variations.  And he has a very interesting idea about bringing back small box sets (like Fleer had in the late 1980s) to commemorate events and groups of players.

Goose Joak – Dave took a lot of the common suggestions from other Blog Bat Around entries and took it to the next level by designing his own card set!  Check out his post to see it for yourself.

Dropped Third Strike – Pete enjoys the collectibility of Allen & Ginter and Masterpieces, and appreciates good photography on cards.  He doesn’t need autographs and relics, especially of less desirable players, in every product.

And the last entry is from The Sports Card File.  Steve Judd emailed me to submit his five-part “Where is the Baseball Card Market going?” series of posts for the Blog Bat Around.  As you likely already know, Steve is an industry insider, who has worked for both Topps and Upper Deck in the past.  His posts give collectors an extremely informative look inside some of the decisions that the card companies are making.  His insight is a perfect addition to this Blog Bat Around topic.  So if you haven’t already, check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5 of Steve’s series of posts!

Thanks to everyone who contributed!  I’ll pass the torch to someone else for the 4th Blog Bat Around.  There have been a few volunteers, and I’m consulting with Gellman about who will host the next one.

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3 Comments »

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  1. Thanks so much for hosting this. It was fun to see what everyone said.

  2. Great synopses! I’m only partway through these but already am enjoying them a lot. There really do seem to be a lot of common themes, which is fantastic, especially if any industry types happen to see this as a valuable tool. Free market research? All manufacturers and retailers should be so lucky.

    Also this was a great introduction to the The Sports Card File. Lots of good things going on there that I wasn’t aware of at all.

  3. Ok, it’s a week late, and it is really more of a suggestion. desperate plea to MLB Properites, but here it is. It was very difficult getting this out of my head.

    http://cardjunk.blogspot.com/2009/01/sometimes-comment-just-needs-to-be-post.html


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