Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Does Razor Entertainment Really Think Topps is Going to Lose Sleep Over This???

Not that I care about the Razor Entertainment Company, because other than that one Razor card that I got for free at the National, their products will never appear in my home. But I have to do a WHAT??! (as in What are You Thinking??!) on them.

On a message board that he promises never to post in again unless it is for announcements and what not, Brian Gray, the head guy at Razor, says that the speculated subject of card #154 in their first product will be none other than Matt Wieters, the Baltimore Orioles first round draft pick in 2007. Other than that he is another in the line of potential up-and-coming future stars, what does it matter to me if they locked him up to an exclusive deal. I don't deal with prospects. I don't care.

Wait, that's not the clincher.

On the same post, let me quote what the gentleman has to say:

"Razor has signed Matt Wieters to a contract that extends from now until 365 days after he makes the 25-man roster of an MLB team. This is an EXCLUSIVE for images and autographs of Matt.

What this means:

1> For Razor: we get to use his image/autographs in all products for this term.
(My comment: Might as well, you paid the money for him.)

2> For all draft pick companies: Any contracts in effect now are still valid until expiration, at which point they are not renewable. (Huh? I thought that TriStar was the only company allowed to do Minor League cards...oh I guess they're talking about Donruss!!!)

3> For upper deck: when Matt makes the 25-man, they can use his picture on a card per their deal with mlbpa. If they want his autograph, they have to come to Razor to get it.... we all know companies will need autographed rookie cards!!!!!!!
(Yawn! Of course I'm yawning. It's Upper Deck.)

4> For topps: Topps will have NO RIGHTS AT ALL to make Matt Wieter's rookie cards (as they dont (sic) have the licensing for such). THE ONLY way they will have a rookie card of Matt is by coming to Razor to get the rights. The same goes for autographs. TO CLARIFY, NO BOWMAN ROOKIES of ANY kind unless Topps licenses from us."

WHAT??! Is he serious? You mean Topps can't get this guy unless they talk to Razor first???

Does this guy think that this is the first time that the Topps Company is going to miss out on getting a potential major leaguer into their products? Does this guy think that the Topps Company is shaking in their boots because they now can't get this one guy??? Does he think that Topps will be so impatient that they won't be willing to wait another year or two before they can get him into their products and would want to even talk to Razor??? Apparently Brian Gray does.

I don't think the people at Topps will be losing sleep over not getting Wieters onto their products (their Topps branded products anyway). Because even if they have to wait a full year AFTER he earns a spot on the Baltimore Orioles, it would not be the first time that they've "missed out" on getting star players onto their sets until much later. Case in point, here are some players and they years they did not appear on Topps cards:
  • Alex Rodriguez 1994-1997,
  • Hideki Matsui 2003-2005,
  • Maury Wills 1960-1966,
  • Kevin McReynolds 1983-1987,
  • Jason Varitek 1997-2006

Okay, small, yet recent group of players, but you get the idea. And as much as I would have liked to include players from the "We're saving them for the Traded set" of the mid-80's, the list would have been longer. You get the point though.

If I was a prospector (and there is nothing wrong with that kind of collecting), this news is huge, and considering the amount of responses on the board where this information was found, it's pretty much the focus of about 80% of the "active" posters on this board. No Bowman Wieters??? How could they??? This is awesome!!!

I've never heard of many of the guys these prospectors are drooling over. And it's funny how people say they collect this player, and he doesn't have that many cards out to begin with. And what cards he does have, I could care less about. But I have to admit, since hanging out with this crowd of collectors, the names become more and more familiar. Does it mean that I'll be joining them? Of course not. I'm a set collector, and it would be really hard for me to have cards of one guy, knowing that there are other cards from that same set (darn card numbers).

But back to the point. Topps has been in the game long enough. They may have gambled many times on players who may never make it to the majors. They may have missed out on getting the first cards of eventual superstars and Hall of Famers. But that doesn't mean that they are completely inept at this or that they're going to lose sleep because they can't get Wieters into their products, Topps or Bowman, right away. After the 365 day period ends, it's anything goes. Razor does not have a MLBPA license (nor do I think they deserve one) and after that year ends, Topps can negotiate at their leisure.

And when Wieter's 2011, 2012, or whatever year Topps is able to put him on a set, I won't be actively searching for his cards unless I need any of his cards to complete my sets.

I will give the company credit, they are certainly feeding the right kind of market with this information. The question is...will the rest of the Hobby buy into this??? Somehow, I doubt it.


JayBee Anama

UPDATE: Wednesday, October 15, 2008.

The Beckett Blog (nice to see Chris Olds back on his feet), has a post out regarding this. One thing struck me as peculiar:

"The move means that Baseball America’s 2008 Minor League Player of the Year will not have cards in future Bowman products as Topps signs players to individual contracts to appear on its cards.

And after Wieters makes his big-league debut, Topps and Upper Deck will be able to produce standard cards, but no autographed or memorabilia cards — unless they negotiate for his rights, which would be lucrative, through Razor." the above message board post, Brian Gray proudly states:

"Topps will have NO RIGHTS AT ALL to make Matt Wieter's rookie cards (as they dont (sic) have the licensing for such). THE ONLY way they will have a rookie card of Matt is by coming to Razor to get the rights. The same goes for autographs. TO CLARIFY, NO BOWMAN ROOKIES of ANY kind unless Topps licenses from us."


Who do we believe? What should we believe? If this is true, I don't think Topps is really going to be concerned about this. jba


Ryan Cracknell said...

What I'm liking about Razor making all these deals is that it'll simply make rookie card collecting that much easier. Topps can no longer put these guys out there as "insert cards" and I'll be collecting real, no confusion about it rookie cards of rookie players. Although Razor's agressive foray into baseball is impressive, it's still a minor league set. How many of those have become "must haves" or hobby classics? I can't think of any. They might be nice, but not at the price.

Dave said...

Very interesting analysis, JayBee. I want to pick your brain - why didn't Topps have cards of A-Rod, Matsui, Varitek, and McReynolds during the years that you mentioned? Did those guys have exclusive deals with other companies? I already know about Maury Wills from reading Card Sharks. Thanks!