Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Filed Under "A Bloody Mess": Missing Cards From My 2008 Topps Baseball Factory Set

Sometimes I hate myself with being obsessed with continuity. Although I'm not a fan of this year's Topps base baseball set, I still felt obliged to add it to my collection seeing as I'm working on a run from 1978 onward. Although I'm missing cards from several sets and am missing several altogether, that's my ultimate goal - the timeline of my life through baseball cards. Having a hole in 2008 would eat away at me later in life.

So I made a compromise. Rather than busting boxes of each series like I usually do, I'd settle on a factory set. It's not nearly as fun or exciting, but it'd get the job done. Or so I thought.

My set arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago but I hadn't had a chance to go through it until last night. If you haven't bought a factory set from Topps before, they come with the numbers mixed up - I assume something to do with the printing process - so some sorting is required. Well, after sorting through my hobby set, I ended up with the expected ten "rookie card" variations, the Fukudome UH1 card that isn't advertised on the box but I knew it existed and 21 duplicates. I was also short 21 cards for my set. And yes, it was factory sealed so there were no shennanigans ahead of time. Apparently you don't get a complete set with a factory set anymore.

Although judging by my dealings with Topps' customer service in the past, they'll make good by sending me the cards I need or a new set or something. I'm more ticked that I have to go through the effort to get my set. The theme I got from 2008 Topps Baseball was no effort. By buying a factory set, I was reflecting the company policy. I just come gimmick free. Now I have to write a letter, ship off the cards on my own dime and get what I already paid for and expected. It's in some ways a small thing, but it's still an inconvenience. Plus I can't add 2008 Topps Baseball to my list of completed sets until those 21 cards are received. Instead the box sits on my shelf of incomplete sets. And rather than plain 800- and 400-count boxes staring at me from said shelf, I've got Mickey Mantle because every current product from Topps has to have Mickey Mantle as the centerpiece. And you wonder why today's game and cards are having a hard time connecting with the youth market? But that's another post possibility.

For the moment, I'm more than a little ticked. Sure, it's over something small in the big scheme of things. But I really didn't want to have to do any extra leg work for such a bland set just to appease my strange obsessions. I do know that if 2009 Topps Baseball is this lame (boring design, questionable photography, gimmicks galore) I'll seriously consider making the switch over to the base Upper Deck set permanently and start a new continuity beginning with this year as I spent a lot more on the UD set busting packs than I did on one factory set.

Screw "tradition" and the crazy things it does to my brain and card-buying.


Dinged Corners said...

Hard to believe that card companies don't understand that collectors -- who tend to sort, collate, organize, and ponder completism -- are the kind of people this oversight might bother JUST A TAD.

gcrl said...

i remember having this problem with a couple of mid-90s sets. topps sent replacement sets, and i have not bothered to open them to confirm they are actually complete.

just curious - which sets are you missing? i have almost completed my run from 78 on and may be able to help...