Then something like the story CBS Sunday Morning comes on.
Boom goes the dynamite.
The story can be summarized in four very simple words:
Thanks to video of Mr. Mint, stock video of 1990's baseball card productions, and a comparison of the National in the mid-90's to a recent Tuesday night in Parsippany, NJ, Armen Keteyian showed the world that our Hobby is dying. Quoting the transcript, "The card business struck out." And it is the Internet, video games, and "soaring prices for glossy gimmicks" that is bringing the Hobby to a likely death.
Since this story aired, many of your favorite Hobby bloggers and sources in the Hobby have weighed their opinions on Twitter and their respective sites. The consensus is this:
- The story was poorly researched
- No balance to disprove otherwise
- The use of stock footage from a mid 90's National was a joke
- Mr. Mint is not the definitive Voice of the Hobby that he once was
- That if the idea was mentioning that the Hobby we know is dead, they did an excellent job of selling their case
- @armenketeyian ya think??!?!??? Countless new cards regularly sell for $1,000 and up ...> not the sale, the demo. It's dying.
- @armenketeyian guess u don't fact chk like used 2. Like saying shoe sales are down & not interviewing Nike, Reebok & Adidas>Topps declined (my note: smart move on Topps' part...last thing they need is to have been party to this)
- @sportsmktgguy: Look any biz that worked in 80s & everyone will tell you way they do biz has changed>no debate, biz down 75%, few kids
- We @PaniniAmerica personally inviting @darrenrovell & @ArmenKeteyian 2 join us & 30k collectors @National in Baltimore-Aug #sportsbiz”>kids?
- @sportsmktgguy: Going to hotel for show & saying category is inaccurate: look at mass retail, hobby & internet>>disputing Rosen, book?
- @sportsmktgguy: @ArmenKeteyian down 75% from what? its evolved. Males 18-55 drive category.”> from $1.2B in 1991. And 18-50 shell of past
- @cmc918 agree on hobby. Just nowhere near the 1B industry it was. Without fresh blood - kids- you're on a respirator.
- @SCUncensored obvious to you. Not SM audience or me either, who did a lot of card/autograph stories in 80s and 90s.
I will be one of many to say that the Hobby as we knew it in the 80's and early 90's will never be back. And to that I say, "Good Riddance." Thanks to the speculators who thought that their 1987 Topps cards would hold the same value as a 1952 Mantle (not his rookie card by the way) in time only to realize that this would not become the case nearly crippled the Hobby, sending it to life support. The same could be said with comic books. In fact, take out the words baseball cards from the piece and replace them with with comic books, and you get the same news story.
But what Mr. Keteyian failed to mention was that while the Hobby we knew then is gone, the Hobby has evolved to what it has become now. Thanks to the Internet (the same driving force that supposedly is killing the Hobby), many collectors have become a bit more selective in what we collect. We are able to pick the players we collect by doing a bit of research. Information about sets from days gone by and cards coming soon to the market are at our fingertips. And yes, kids are coming. Not in droves as once before. But if CBS had taken a bit more time to record the Sun-Times show last weekend (and they did for a bit...they should have done more), the average viewer at home would have seen a good sized crowd with LOTS OF YOUNG PEOPLE in attendance. Yes, the target market is the adult collector. They have the money to spend on mid-to-high end products. But there are still products (like the eponymous Topps brand) that are catered to and priced for kids (see Opening Day, Attax, et. al).
Sales may be down 75 percent, but that's comparing today's total to the mid 1990's, when there were tons of companies making tons of cards to meet the demands of tons of people. I think (no, I don't have the numbers in front of me) that if you figure in today's factors (less companies, less cards, less people) that the sales in today's world are about the same if not more than they were twenty-plus-years ago.
The Hobby as we know it is not dead. The sky is not falling. I wish Armen Keteyian or someone else could do a counter-point story, featuring all the good things that are happening in today's Hobby. Because there are a lot of good things going on in our Hobby.
I leave tonight with one final pair of tweets. It certainly shows how united we are as collectors in this crazy world of Sports Card Collecting:
- Cardboard Connection @CardboardRadio If there is anything positive to take from @CBS piece, it's that in 24 hours we've seen #thehobby unite to prove them WRONG! #collect
- SportsCardBlog.net @SportsCardBlog @CardboardRadio Some of us may differ on opinions of #thehobby, but when push comes to shove we're all in it together. #collect