Thursday, July 1, 2010

Maybe I'm Late to the A & G Party, or Why I'm not Crying About the Strasburg Mini

Before I begin, let me first congratulate friend of the blog, eBay rival, but all around good guy Craig Parker for finding the first Autograph Redemption card of Stephen Strasburg in this year's highly publicized, highly scrutinized, what should be set of the year, if not for the discussion, controversy, and market value, 2010 Topps Allen & Ginter set.

Now, on to the meat of the post. I've read tons of posts on message boards, blogs, and the like about the Stephen Strasburg mini. I read that my favorite case buster on the bay, brentandbecca, opened 25 cases and didn't find one. I also read that he talked to others who opened massive quantities of product and didn't find one either. So the pitchforks and torches were at the ready because so many of these guys believed that the card of the moment would be in their cases.

But one problem.

Didn't Strasburg only make his debut in June? Couldn't it have been possible that many cases were already packaged BEFORE he made his debut? I'm pretty sure they couldn't just throw his cards in (unless you wanted the backlash from five years ago with a certain KC Royals "Rookie Card") already sealed cases...that would be too expensive to do. But by the time he did make his debut, and Topps was allowed not only to make these mini cards, but insert them into packs, boxes, and cases, it could be wholly possible that many cases that were already sealed, wrapped and ready to go were already on their way out the doors to the distributors and case breakers. Unfortunately, it's already too late to do something about it. The product has been opened, and I'll be looking for a master set on eBay as soon as prices drop.

So everyone started to assume that the mini Stras card is a super short print. After all, if the case breakers couldn't find one, it has to be. Not so. The press release Topps put out today said that not only is card #401 NOT A SHORT PRINTED CARD, but it will be found in packs sold at both Hobby Shops and your local big box store. And sure enough, the day after the case breaking panic, mini Strasburg cards are finally showing up on the Bay. So that should end the confusion right?


Guys on certain message boards are furious that all this has happened. One guy even had the audacity to think that Topps is liable and collectors (the case breakers who thought they'd find at least one Strasburg in their cases) should sue the pants off the Company because of the sudden spike in price when Topps first announced that the phenom would be included in A & G. Yeah right. First of all, Topps did not jack the prices to their customers (the distributors and your local card shop). The distributors and your local card shops were the ones who raised the prices as soon as the news first came out. It's not Topps responsibility. They have an SRP (and I think packs would probably be anywhere from $2.99 to $4.99) they give to their buyers. And it's just that...A SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE. Meaning Topps could suggest that packs should go for no more than $5.00, but because of all the hype, distributors and shops started raising the prices of packs, boxes, and cases to ridiculous amounts. Not Topps responsibility...not Topps problem.

Next, people started screaming that Strasburg was supposed to be card #351 in the mini set, now, he's #401? What??! Did the words "Checklist subject to change" ring a bell? It's certainly a phrase I use here a lot when including links to checklists for products that I actually care about. Who's to say that while SS would be #351 (thus being included as a rip card mini exclusive) but because nobody knew when he'd debut that they had to nix that idea and possibly add him later. And who's to say that including his mini card in packs instead of these exclusive, one per case, rip cards is a bad idea huh?

All this hype over one card...and it's not even a standard sized card. It's a mini card people. An INSERT!!! By the definition put out by MLB Properties, this doesn't count as a Rookie card. It's just a small picture of the hottest pitcher since Mark Prior, and the guy is 2-2, and lost to the ROYALS!!! This isn't even the right set to scream to the heavens about insane prices.

Topps Allen & Ginter is a set builder's (or in my case, a set collector's) product. It is fully catered to those that collect SETS!!! There are so many fantastic looking insert sets and subjects that this product has that it's mind boggling. Sailors, dinosaurs, national animals, Mythological Gods,'s a great mix of subjects that you wouldn't find in a traditional baseball card set.

And everybody is all up-in-arms about a pitcher from the Nationals!!! This set is not marketed for prospectors, so don't treat it as such!!! And yes, there have been rookie cards in past A & G sets, contrary to what some guy from a message board said

All I want from this year's A & G set is the base set (350 cards), plus the 75-card "This Day in History" set and the 15-card "Highlight Sketch" set. I'm not really after the mini cards this year.

Okay, maybe I am. Just one mini card...and it's not Strasburg!!!

I want a Carabao card. It's #NA42 in the National Animals set. That's would be the only mini insert card I want. The only mini card I need to continue my "Topps loves the Philippines" set that includes the Philippines Flag (from 2007), Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (leaders from 2008), and José Rizal (heroes from 2009). If somebody has one and doesn't know what to do with it, send me an e-mail at and I'd be happy to take it off your hands.

At this point, I'm going to wait until prices go down for a master set. With all the insanity over this product because of one card, it's only natural that I wait. That, and I'm trying to save some money. I'll buy packs at the store when I see them, maybe even pull the coveted mini Strasburg card. But I'm just going to take my time, relax, and watch as collectors everywhere go A & G crazy.

Just like they have done every year since 2006.


JayBee Anama

1 comment:

Play at the Plate said...

Prices are dropping already. Blowout went from over a $100 to $99.99 on Thursday morning. By Thursday night it was at $94.99. I'm waiting a few more days to order my box for Gintacuffs.