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.
Funny, but I think I mentioned that before somewhere on this blog.
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.
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