Thursday, February 14, 2013

Responding to Comments from Yesterday's Pete Rose Article (Again, It's Not Topps' Fault!!!)

I have to thank friend of the blog and all around good guy Craig Parker for the kind words about the article that I wrote yesterday regarding the Pete Rose mess caused by a misinformed writer who happens to have links to a major newspaper here in Chicago. Even though I know my article was not well written, he thought enough of it to pass on to his followers on Twitter. I also have to thank Chris Olds of the Number One Source in the Hobby for retweeting my story to his millions of followers.

Anyway, the point of this post is to respond to some of the comments that showed up after my article. It goes to show that people are still reading this humble, little blog, and I appreciate the input. So here goes.

lifetimetopps wrote:

"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).

"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."

I find this similar to when Mickey Mantle was an exclusive with that other card company (thus the reason Topps "retired" the #7 for ten years). If you remember, Topps had this incredible buyback program where they were inserting cards from all 50 years of their existence (or redemptions for cards from 1952-1957) into packs of their 2001 product. They did this again with cards of Hall of Famers in 2002. The sell sheets (at least from 2002 that I recall) included an image of the Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps card. And the caption below the card said "Buyback card." Now, of course Topps could not create a new card of the guy (which is why they went nuts when they finally signed the estate in 2005), but there was apparently nothing wrong in the eyes of MLB, or of Upper Deck, to include an image of the iconic Topps card in sell sheets, and for that matter, including the card in packs of 2001 Topps. Of course, the difference is that they didn't stamp the card to signify that it was a buyback, but still. And I'm sure that Rose's cards were included in the program as well...although ironically, Topps never seemed to mention it.

I need to make a note though that for the 2005 Topps Rookie Cup product, cards of EVERY All-Star Rookie Team member had a one of one card that was actually a buyback card that was altered to include an actual gold cup on the card. They did this for EVERY player...except Pete Rose.

AdamE wrote:

"So Topps can't put him on a card because he isn't part of MLB properties. I don't buy that. Allen & Ginger (sic) 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."

Funny how Leaf card has been quiet the entire time. I was surprised that Brian Grey didn't go onto EVERY article and leave a comment about how he created and a Pete Rose set. I'm sure there is a very good reason behind it though. But back to the point. Remember, Topps may have the exclusive licenses, but they sign players to individual contracts. There is no blanket contract that the other card companies had the luxury of using when they were around. When it comes to A & G, and signing the non-baseball players who are not affected by MLB Properties, they just sign them to a regular contract like everybody else.

Finally, Jim from Downington commented:

"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."

Topps may be the one having to pay all the dough, but they're not going to tick off the organization who can determine the Company's ultimate fate. The baseball card business is so important to Topps, and the Hobby as a whole, that one bad move can kill the Company and thus kill the Hobby. I don't care what anyone says, but the day Topps is no longer licensed by MLB and MLB Properties to produce Major League Baseball cards, the Hobby will die a slow and painful death. Topps is the name everybody knows, even by those who are not directly involved in the Hobby. All the Paninis, Upper Decks, and heck, let's even throw in Leafs in the world will not make up for the loss of the Topps Company in the Hobby.

Even if Topps does not have the money that the TV networks have, it's easy to think that the TV networks would have a bit more of a pull with MLB than the Topps company would. Heck, more people watch the games than collect the cards. But if Topps, or even a TV Network, says something that MLB doesn't approve of or totally disagrees with, what makes you think that MLB will not just say, "thank you for your time, support, and cooperation over the years, but we're going to go elsewhere going forward."

Now keep in mind, I'm not privy to the dealings with MLB and their corporate partners, so obviously I really have no idea how all of this works. But I know one thing, the firestorm that was caused yesterday made for a really fun day in the Hobby.


JayBee Anama


Anonymous said...

Good write up (again).

The analogy drawn for A&G isn't appropriate - MLB hasn't said to Topps "don't include" Kate Upton or John McEnroe. They have specifically said "thou must exclude" Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe.

Also, for the question "why does Topps cater to MLB more than TV stations do". That's about power. If Topps loses their license, the company would be a shell of itself at best. Topps needs MLB far more than MLB needs Topps.

But TV stations have far more power in that relationship. If MLB decided to pull Sunday Night Baseball, ESPN would be just fine. I believe a move like that would hurt MLB more than anything; to a certain extent, MLB needs ESPN and Fox.

Anonymous said...

To your question about whether Pete Rose was inserted in the 2001 Topps buyback product. He was....I pulled the redemption for his rookie card in 2011. Here's the picture of the card in the sad post I did about it.

I just thought that Rose was a Leaf exclusive now, and that was the other reason he couldn't be shown or mentioned (though I'm not sure about Ichiro also a Leaf exclusive?)