Sunday, February 9, 2014

Five Reasons the Hobby is Alive

 I came across the self-aggrandizing statement shown above as I was checking my Twitter feed this morning.  
As you can tell by my reply, I disagree with the twit tweet. What isn't shown is a second reply I sent their way, stating that they're confusing the hobby with the industry. You can make an argument that group breaks are keeping the card industry alive, but please don't try to convince us that what you're doing is keeping the Hobby alive. Please.
It's bad enough that we have to read of the demise of the Hobby from uninformed journalists, but to have someone who is supposedly in our corner send out something like that? I could get mad at the whole thing, but really all I can do is laugh and 'SMH'.
Five Reasons the Hobby is Alive
1) Set Collectors
         Whether it be the collector who is putting together complete sets or the team set collector, this aspect of collecting is what keeps myself and others like me in the Hobby. We do not need Group Breaks for this. We were around long before you came along, and we will still be here when this fad is long gone.
2) Player Collectors
         This pretty much echoes what I had to say about the set collectors.
3) Marketplace
         Long before group breakers, there were card shows, card shops, retail stores, eBay and Check Out My Cards- among others- where the collector could go to get their fix. Are there more shops and shows that there was twenty years ago? No, but the marketplace has shifted to include online outlets- one of which is you. I would be willing to bet more money is spent annually at each of the aforementioned  parts of the marketplace than what you people do.
4) Blogs
        Check out the blog roll on bdj610's website. Now, I don't read every blog out in the blogosphere, but the ones I do read, very little refer to group breaks. Those who take part in your breaks represent a small percentage of collectors.
5)  History
        When was the first tobacco card issued? Things have changed, but as long as there are sports fans, there will be a need for said fan to connect to their favorite teams and players. As long as there is one person who collects sports cards, you really can't say that the hobby is dead.


  1. That tweet is stupid. Yes - group breaks are not for us all, and that is way I never buy into those high ends. But they are not keeping the hobby alive. They are supporting the manufactures in the industry to continue to produce high end garbage, which takes the lower end that we enjoy, and either squeeze it out, or raise the price of it. Trust me "hobby", I don't need to chase 400 damn versions of cards. But they do that because it drives us that the set isn't complete until you have all 7000 variations. And that comes from those high end d-bags that just want the big hit, to turn around and flip it into money.

  2. Fantastic post. As a fellow set collector, I have no use for group breaks. I also agree with JediJeff, joining a group break to try to land the big hit so they can sell it on eBay does nothing to keep the hobby alive.

  3. Welllllll... Look, I've been collecting a long time. Bought my first pack in 1964. And I lived through the junk wax period (and bought more than my share). Primarily, I'm a Mets collector. And I just love opening packs. But, last year, I decided I just wasn't all that interested in Bowman anymore. Still wanted my Mets, of course. Now I could have bought a team set for whatever--4 or 5 bucks, I guess. Or, I could get in on a group break for about $10 or $12 (right now, nobody much likes the Mets--especially Mets fans). So I did the latter. Did the same for A&G. I got the base Mets (dupes, trips, etc.) and some Mets inserts and parallels that I likely would never have gotten opening packs or certainly by buying a base team set. Not to sell on eBay, but to add to my collection. I found it an economical alternative to achieve my ends--Mets--and I still got my pack opening fix with the flagship and Heritage and Archives. I'm never going to give a rat's patootie about the high end stuff, but I wouldn't write off group breaks as being only about that. Sure, for some. That's not why I did it.

    What keeps the hobby alive is hobbyists. And there are all kinds of hobbyists who collect all kinds of things in all kinds of ways for all kinds of reasons. The "industry" needs hobbyists, too. It also needs the speculators. The number of hobbyists is down from the peak years. Lots of reasons for that. The number of speculators is way down, from what I can tell (though they see it differently). Lots of reasons for that, too. And so Topps (more than anyone) tries hard to keep what's left of its two shrinking markets. I suspect they actually alienate both segments more than please them by trying to be all things to all people. But that's business. I may hate that there are 87 different parallels of each card and super short prints. But then there are rainbow collectors and short print chasers and, in the end, that's on them. Nobody says I have to have a yellow, blue, red, green, purple, grey, black, sparkly, pink, camo, clear Matt Harvey. I just want a regular old base card Matt Harvey and I can get that easily enough.

    I know both the hobbyists and the speculators look at each other with some measure of disdain. But, if either group goes away entirely, a lot of the "industry" will, too. The hobbyists will turn to vintage (many already have) and the speculators will turn to, I dunno, day trading stocks or something. Point is, if you're a hobbyist, ignore the speculators. If you're a speculator, ignore the hobbyists. But don't turn on each other because we each in our own way help the industry to survive and that does help the hobby to survive. I will say that, IMHO, the best thing to happen to the hobby in the last decade are the card blogs...spreading the appreciation of the common card far and wide. But even many of those bloggers can't wait to show you the high end hit they just pulled or bought or traded for. So there is a glass house aspect, too. And, really, has it changed in all these years? Wasn't there always the two segments--one that demanded perfectly mint copies of the cards and the other that appreciated an affordable "well loved" copy of the same card?

    Collect what you love and love what you collect and don't worry about any of the rest of it. My two cents.