Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Response to Gellman over at SCU

I started to write this as a comment to his post, but it got a little long and I thought that it was worthy of it's own post on my blog.  Concerning Gellman's comment about the negativity, or perceived negativity on his blog as well as others, including this one. I think that's because most of us who blog, at least regularly, remember when the hobby was "pure" or however we choose to view it, using your term of choice. And a lot of us left the hobby for some amount of time or didn't do any more than pick up a retail pack or blaster every now and then at Wal-Mart or Target. And when we came back with an enthusiasm to collect for whatever reason and go to a hobby shop, if we can find one, for the first time in 5-8 years and are inundated with product that costs hundreds of dollars per pack, gimmick cards, terms like "mojo" and how quickly cards are flipped for cash or other cards and the arrogance, sense of entitlement and flippant attitude of a lot of younger collectors (as well as older ones) it can be kind of a shock. 

Now to use SCU terms, I understand there's a First World and a Second World and get the purpose behind both. I'm mostly a First World collector, but I dabble a bit in the Second World. But there's so much that's wrong with both Worlds, that there's enough negativity to go around. We've gone from having enough cases of cards in the early 90's to have a case for every person in China to now trying to make the most limited, most expensive product ever available. And I think we're heading towards a happy medium right now. Like Gellman said, I think there is a conscious effort on the part of the manufacturers, or at least Upper Deck, to make their product better and make the collectors happy. And I think what most collectors are looking for are being able to get their money out of the product they buy. Of course this applies a lot more to Second World Collectors than First World, but both are looking to get value, be it financial, emotional, sentimental, whatever, from their cards. And I think we're heading towards that. Some of that credit has to go to the Bloggers, both big and small. While we as a blogging community may not be able to sit and dictate where product should go, we have seen that the higher ups in the industry do take notice, read the blogs (maybe even this one!) and even comment on them or do an interview or two. Where the blogs make the biggest difference is in transparency. If there were no blogs and all we saw were Beckett's video breaks, the Beckett message board, Topps Rip Parties and all the other propaganda being spewed by the conglomerates then I think all you would have is a bunch of disappointed sheep. But the community allows us to agree, differ and discuss all of the aspects of the hobby and if need be, take someone to task for it. If the major players in the hobby are all in collusion, then there needs to be a neutral voice out there, speaking what everyone is thinking and until the invention of the Internet, this wasn't possible or if it was, it was available to a very limited group of people. Now with mass media, everyone can have a voice. Even if some are less prolific than others, it still allows collectors of all types to be heard by another collector at least which will hopefully will lead to discussion of the hobby in whatever aspect is being touched upon. Unfortunately, that does often lend itself to more discussion about the negative than the positive.

There is a lot of negativity in and about collecting on the blogs these days, but there is some good as well. The problem is that the negativity is more fun to talk about, it's more newsworthy and gets more people riled up. When there's a good story about one of the blogger's kids getting a pack of cards and being completely content with that David Eckstein base card or bloggers helping out other bloggers unsolicited, it goes unnoticed. Yes, there's a lot wrong with the hobby, but there's a lot of good being done and it often gets overshadowed because it's a lot more fun to berate Topps for a gimmick base card that no one will ever pull than to find the positive in the simplicity that a pack of cards can bring.


night owl said...

People will always notice and talk about the negative more than the positive. That happens regardless of what topic you're discussing. I think in some ways that makes people think things are bleaker than they really are. But I certainly don't think we should stop talking about the negative either.

Russ said...

Oh I agree. If we stop talking about the negative then we don't allow for our part in all this nonsense which is to discuss the powers that be and allow them to be judged as unbiasedly as possible and allow consumers to make informed decisions.

Gellman said...

Long? That was an encyclopedia!

Just messing with you man.

Interesting take on things though.

tastelikedirt said...

Well said.

jv said...

Very, Very, Well Said... Right On!!

Rob- AKA "Guido" said...

Well said. Cheers