Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Let's Get One Thing Straight: TOPPS IS NOT TO BLAME!!!

Yes, I'm late to the party (as usual).  Yes, other people have written better articles about this topic than me (I'm not a good writer...I acknowledge this).  But it's articles like this that make me question the sanity of Chicagoans...and I'm one.


The big hullabaloo today in the Hobby involved this article written by "a collector" who noticed that on the back of this year's Topps baseball cards, that in the career chase line that compares a present player's hits total to the career leader, the career hit leader's name is missing.  On all other cards with different statistics, the career leader in that stat category is mentioned.  Just not on the one mentioning hits.  


The problem with the article is that it was poorly researched.  He did interview Topps, who did say that it was a "simple decision" to exclude Pete Rose's name from the back of their trading cards.  But at the end, he decided that it was Topps' who was purposely trying to wipe out Rose from the record books by not including his name on the stat line.  For comparison's sake, he compares Rose's case to the likes of Barry Bonds, who by the way...has not been banned by MLB and can still be put in cards (as long as card companies are willing to pay a hefty price to do so).

What's sad about this whole mess is that the original story has been picked up by major media outlets like USA Today, CBS Sports, and even (gack) Fox News

What's worse?  People have been commenting on these articles, and actually believe this.

Now, I understand that not everybody follows Hobby news as religiously as us (and by us, I assume that if you're reading this, you actually follow Hobby news). But some of the comments written by "outsiders" just bordered on ignorance. 

"I'm boycotting Topps because of this?"  Sure.  

"I thought baseball cards are dead."  Hardly.

"I tore all of my cards." Sorry to hear that.

"Someone's going to create a website denouncing this atrocity." I guess these people don't read the Hobby blogs.

"Wait...if MLB still recognizes Rose on their website, how can they tell Topps not to recognize him?" Because they can.

The fact is this.  Topps is the sole licensee of MLB Properties. As indicated by the Number One Source in the Hobby, it is not Topps' call to exclude Rose's name from the stat line.  If the writer of that article actually talked to somebody from MLB Properties as Chris Olds had, he would have found out that,

“Since Pete Rose is banned from baseball,” said Matt Bourne, the MLB Vice President of Business Public Relations, on Wednesday, “he is not included in MLB-licensed products.”

Now that is not to say that Topps has made every effort to take Rose's name off cards before.  In fact, thanks to Night Owl, he has found cards from 1995 and 2006 that mention his name in the blurbs on the back or in a cartoon caption.  But in 2010, when Topps included a Franchise History card for all 30 teams, the back of the cards feature statistics that conveniently Rose was not the team's all-time leader. Coincidentally, all 30 team cards use the same stats.  

But the fact remains that Topps is not to "blame" for not putting Pete Rose's name on the back.  If MLB (and for that matter MLB Properties) tells Topps that they aren't allowed to insert Rose's name, even on a little stat line, then Topps is going to take every effort to exclude the guy's name on their cards.  

Understand that this is the last year of Topps' four year exclusive license with MLB Properties.  If Topps wants their friendship with MLB to continue, then they are going to comply.

So for everything good and holy.  It is not Topps' fault.  Let's make that crystal clear.  If you have a beef, then take it up with MLB and MLB Properties.

If there is any positive to be taken out of all of this...it's that at least people are looking at the back of the cards.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

PS:  Oh, yeah, to the guy that said that Topps made an insert card of Rose in 2011. That's a good one.  jba


PS2:  Buyback cards that Topps had to stamp as such in their Topps Heritage product last year do not count as a new cards.  Besides, the card considered Pete Rose's rookie card also includes Pedro Gonzalez, Ken McMullen, and Al Weis. Last I checked, none of those guys were banned by MLB, so why should they not have their rookie card included in the product.  jba

5 comments:

lifetimetopps said...

Yeah, that article was poorly researched. A couple of thoughts:

1) Clearly it's MLB's decision not Topps. People who disagree
2) That said - Topps should have taken a similar approach to this that they did with the team sets you mentioned. No need to include hits as one of your chase numbers. Include runs or RBI or some other stat. It avoids this issue.

lifetimetopps said...

A couple other things - first, I do find it hypocritical that MLB puts his name on their website. The website is most certainly an MLB-licensed product. They sell everything from advertising space to gear to game tickets on the website. The point is - it's MLB's decision, not that of Topps.

Also, I did find it interesting about the Heritage buyback card (full disclosure - the guy who commented referenced a post on my website).

The quote in the Beckett article:

“Since Pete Rose is banned from baseball,” said Matt Bourne, the MLB Vice President of Business Public Relations, on Wednesday, “he is not included in MLB-licensed products.”

Yes it isn't a new card - but Pete Rose was technically included in the product. There's no way around that - you could get a card of Pete Rose from packs of an MLB licensed product last year. Whether there were 3 other players or not isn't really relevant.

I was surprised they did a stamped buy back of the card. Maybe MLB was OK with it because it wasn't a new printed card, or maybe it was an oversight on Topps part, who knows.

AdamE said...

So Topps can't put him on a card because he isn't part of MLB properties. I don't buy that. Allen & Ginger is a MLB licensed product and here are plenty of people on cards in the set that are not part of MLB properties. I think it is because of the exclusive deal that Rose signed with Leaf which I don't see anyone mentioning.

Jim from Downingtown said...

" If MLB (and for that matter MLB Properties) tells Topps that they aren't allowed to insert Rose's name, even on a little stat line, then Topps is going to take every effort to exclude the guy's name on their cards. "

Jay, I saw your comment similar to the above on a Chicago news website. My question is: If Topps is the one PAYING all that dough, why aren't they the ones telling MLB what they want to buy (instead of the other way around)?

Seems like the TV networks are always telling MLB how the games will be broadcast.

lifetimetopps said...

I don't really understand why people are questioning this? Both sides are saying the same thing.

Topps says he's not on there because MLB doesn't want them using his name. (See their twitter feed)

MLB says he's not on there - because MLB says they don't want Topps using his name. (See links to the Beckett article)

What more do you need?